The Case of the Missing Train
Evan, Age 11, Higginsville, MO

It was a cold, damp morning. I was called at the police station at about 8:00 a.m. The conductor of the train yard said that one of his trains was missing.

“Do you think you can find it, Mr. McCharlie?” the conductor asked me.

“Of course! I’ll be there as soon as I can,” I told him. As a police officer trainee, I have yet to solve a case but I thought I would give it a shot. I arrived at the yard to be met by the camera worker. He works the security cameras for the train yard.

“Hello Mr. McCharlie,” the camera worker said.

“The camera was fine at 8:00 but the battery went out at 8:15,” the camera worker told me. He guided me out into the train yard. The endless roads of tracks and boxcars were spooky at first, and it felt as if I was being stalked like a mouse and a cat.

I walked toward where the train supposedly had gone missing to find a rusty, worn out hammer laying far away from the tracks. The hammer head looked as if it had struck something…something hard. As I wandered around, a crowbar came into my view in the middle of the tracks. It was broken in half.

A mysterious sound came from behind me. The thing that made the sound was trying to be as sneaky as possible. I turned around to find a worker standing there. “Hi, so you’re the detective to help find the train,” he said.

“Yes. So, how long have you been out here in the train yard?” I asked.

“A while. So…. the train you’re talking about. I know where it is,” the worker said.

I stared, amazed that he knew where the train was. Hearing the good news, the conductor raced outside, half-worried and half-relieved. I showed him the hammer and the crowbar I had found. We sat down and the worker spilled out the entire story.

“The train was due for maintenance and I went to look at it. It needed work on the connector, so I went to work. The train connector broke halfway through my work and the train started a slight roll. I tried to stop it by throwing the hammer at the connector to close it, but I was too late,” the worker said.

“So that’s the hammer you found,” the conductor said to me.

“Then I tried using the crow bar to stop the train, but I think you know what happened,” the worker continued, looking at the half of a crowbar.

“Where is the train?” I asked.

“Down the hill,” the worker said, pointing toward a little downward slope at the end of the train yard.

Thank the Lord the hill wasn’t too steep and far down. Otherwise, that train might have lifted backwards from the speed and we would never have found it.

We all huddled into my car and drove downtown. There it was -- the 10 ton hunk of steel sitting lifelessly on the track not too far from the park.

“There’s got to be some way to get it back,” the conductor said. And I was sure there was.

“Something,” I thought, “Something with lots of force, something that won’t let the train push back.”

Then a thought came to me: a bulldozer! It has enough force and is heavy enough to put up a good fight.

Fortunately, I have a friend with a bulldozer so I called him. Twenty minutes later, Ernie, my construction worker friend, drove up in a big yellow bulldozer, got on the tracks, and started to push. Very slowly, the train started to roll. Then it started to roll faster. We all worried if it would make it up the hill. But, yes! The train succeeded in making it up the hill. The worker connected the boxcars and the train was ready to run.

“Thank you, Mr. McCharlie!” the conductor said excitedly, giving a bounce of delight.
I said my good-byes and got in my police car and returned to the police station. I felt pride flow through me to remember that I just solved my first case successfully instead of ending in disaster. As the day flew on it seemed as if everyone acted like I was the head officer. When it ended, I was sad to know that my day to shine was over.

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