[Illustration: "An Avalanche!" declared Fogg. "Dodge--something's coming!"
Page 254. Ralph on the Overland Express.]
RALPH ON THE OVERLAND EXPRESS
THE TRIALS AND TRIUMPHS OF A YOUNG ENGINEER
AUTHOR OF "RALPH OF THE ROUNDHOUSE,"
"RALPH IN THE SWITCH TOWER,"
"RALPH ON THE ENGINE,"
"DAREWELL CHUMS SERIES," ETC.
GROSSET & DUNLAP
Made in the United States of America
THE RAILROAD SERIES
By Allen Chapman
12mo. Illustrated. Cloth
RALPH OF THE ROUNDHOUSE
Or, Bound to Become a Railroad Man
RALPH IN THE SWITCH TOWER
Or, Clearing the Track
RALPH ON THE ENGINE
Or, The Young Fireman of the Limited Mail
RALPH ON THE OVERLAND EXPRESS
Or, The Trials and Triumphs of a Young Engineer
(Other Volumes in Preparation.)
GROSSET & DUNLAP, Publishers, New York
Copyright, 1910, by
GROSSET & DUNLAP
Ralph on the Overland Express
I. No. 999 1
II. A Special Passenger 12
III. One of the Rules 22
IV. A Warning 35
V. At Bay 43
VI. Four Medals 51
VII. Dave Bissell, Train Boy 60
VIII. An Astonishing Discovery 68
IX. The Light of Home 76
X. Fire! 88
XI. The Master Mechanic 95
XII. A Good Friend 104
XIII. The "Black Hand" 114
XIV. A Serious Plot 123
XV. "The Silvandos" 129
XVI. Zeph Dallas and His "Mystery" 138
XVII. In Widener's Gap 145
XVIII. At the Semaphore 153
XIX. The Boy Who Was Hazed 160
XX. "Lord Lionel Montague" 171
XXI. Archie Graham's Invention 179
XXII. Ike Slump Again 188
XXIII. A Critical Moment 195
XXIV. The New Run 203
XXV. The Mountain Division 209
XXVI. Mystery 217
XXVII. The Railroad President 225
XXVIII. A Race Against Time 233
XXIX. Zeph Dallas Again 244
XXX. Snowbound 254
XXXI. Conclusion 264
RALPH ON THE OVERLAND EXPRESS
Ralph Fairbanks swung into the cab of No. 999 with the lever hooked
for forward motion, and placed a firm hand on the throttle.
It looked as though half the working
force of the railroad, and every
juvenile friend he had ever known in Stanley Junction, had come down
to the little old depot that beautiful summer afternoon to especially
celebrate the greatest event in his active railroad career.
Ralph was the youngest engineer in the service of the Great Northern,
and there was full reason why he should center attention and interest
on this the proudest moment of his life. No. 999 was the crack
locomotive of the system, brand new and resplendent. Its headlight was
a great glow of crystal, its metal bands and trimmings shone like
burnished gold, and its cab was as spick and span and neat as the
private office of the division superintendent
No. 999 was out for a trial run--a record run, Ralph hoped to make it.
One particular car attached to the rear of the long train was the main
object of interest. It was a new car to the road, and its blazoned
name suggested an importance out of the ordinary--"China & Japan
This car had just come in over a branch section by a short cut from
the north. If No. 999 could beat timetable routine
half an hour and
deliver the mail to the Overland Express at Bridgeport, two hundred
miles distant, on time, it would create a new schedule, and meant a
good contract for the Great Northern, besides a saving of three hours'
time over the former roundabout
trip of the China & Japan Mail.
Ralph had exchanged jolly greetings with his friends up to now. In an
instant, however, the sonorous, echoing "All aboard" from the
conductor way down the train was a signal for duty, prompt
imperative. The pleasant depot scene faded from the sight and mind of
young railroader. He turned his strict
attention now to
the cab interior, as though the locomotive
was a thing of life and
"Let 'er go, Ralph!"
John Griscom, the oldest engineer on the road, off duty, but a
on all occasions, stepped from the gossiping
crowd of loungers at a little distance. He swung up into the cab with
airiness of long usage. His bluff, hearty
admiration and satisfaction, as his rapid eye took in the cab layout.
"I'll hold up the tender rail till we get to crossing," announced
Griscom. "Lad, this is front rank service all right, and I'm happy to
say that you deserve
"Thank you, Mr. Griscom," answered Ralph, his face beaming
handsome compliment. "I don't forget, though, that you helped some."
"Oh, so, so," declared Griscom. "I say, Fogg, you're named right."
It was to Lemuel Fogg that Griscom spoke. Fogg was Ralph's fireman
the present trip. He presented a decidedcontrast
to the brisk, bright
engineer of No. 999. He shoveled in the coal with a grim mutter, and
slammed the fire door shut with a vicious
and unnecessary bang.
"What you getting at?" he growled, with a surly eye on Griscom.
"Fogg--fog, see? foggy, that's you--and groggy, eh? Sun's shining--why
don't you take it in? No slouch privilege
firing this magnificent
king of the road, I'm thinking, and you ought to think so, too."
"Huh!" snapped Fogg, "it'll be kid luck, if we get through."
"Oho! there's where the shoe pinches, is it?" bantered the old
railroad veteran. "Come, be fair, Fogg. You was glad to win your own
spurs when you were young."
"All right, mind the try-out, you hear me!" snorted Fogg ungraciously.
"You mind your own business."
"Say," shot out Griscom quickly, as he caught a whiff from Fogg's
lips, "you be sure you mind yours--and the rules," he added, quite
sternly, "I advise
you not to get too near the furnace."
"Eh, why not?"
might catch fire, that's why," announced Griscom bluntly,
and turned his back on the disgruntled fireman.
Ralph had not caught this sharp cross-fire of repartee. His mind had
fixed on his task. He had started up the locomotive
slowly, but now, clearing
the depot switches, he pulled the lever a
notch or two, watching carefully ahead. As the train rounded a curve
to an air line, a series
of brave hurrahs along the side of the track
sent a thrill
of pleasure through Ralph's frame.
The young engineer had only a fleeting
second or two to bestow
little group, standing
at the rear fence of a yard backing down to the
tracks. His mother was there, gaily waving a handkerchief. A neighbor
joined in the welcome, and half-a-dozen boys and small children with
whom Ralph was a rare favorite made the air ring with enthusiastic
"Friends everywhere, lad," spoke Griscom in a kindly tone, and then,
edging nearer to his prime young favorite, he half-whispered: "Keep
your eye on this grouch of a Fogg."
"Why, you don't mean anything serious, Mr. Griscom?" inquired Ralph,
with a quick glance at the fireman.
"Yes, I do," proclaimed the old railroader plainly. "He's got it in
for you--it's the talk of the yards, and he's in just the right frame
of mind to bite off his own nose to spite his face. So long."
had slowed up for crossing signals, and Griscom got to
the ground with a careless
sail through the air, waved his hand, and
Ralph buckled down to real work on No. 999.
He glanced at the schedule
sheet and the clock. The gauges were in
order. There was not a full head of steam on as yet and
the fire box was somewhat over full, but there was a strong draft and
a twenty-mile straight run before them, and Ralph felt they could make
"Don't choke her too full, Mr. Fogg," he remarked to the fireman.
"Teach me!" snorted Fogg, and threw another shovelful into the box
already crowded, and backed against the tender bar with a surly,
Ralph made no retort. Fogg did, indeed, know his business, if he was
to attend to it. He was somewhat set and old-fashioned
his ways, and he had grown up in the service from wiper.
Ralph recalled Griscom's warning. It was not pleasant to run two
hundred miles with a grumpy cab comrade. Ralph wished they had given
him some other helper. However, he reasoned that even a crack fireman
might be proud of a regular run on No. 999, and he did not believe
that Fogg would hurt his own chances by any tactics
that might delay
drifted by swiftly
and more swiftly, as Ralph gave the
locomotive full head. A rare enthusiasm
and buoyancy came into the
situation. There was something fascinating
in the breathless
superb power and steadiness of the crack machine, so easy of control
that she was a marvel
Like a panorama the scenery
flashed by, and in rapid mental
Ralph reviewed the glowing and stirring
events of his young life,
which in a few brief months had carried him from his menial task as an
engine wiper up to the present position which he cherished so
Ralph was a railroader by inheritance
as well as predilection. His
father had been a pioneer
in the beginning
of the Great Northern.
After he died, through the manipulations of an unworthy
magnate named Gasper Farrington, his widow and son found themselves at
the mercy of that heartless schemer, who held a mortgage
In the first volume
of the present series, entitled "Ralph of the
Roundhouse," it was told how Ralph left school to earn a living and
help his self-sacrificing mother in her poverty.
Ralph got a job in the roundhouse, and held it, too, despite
malicious efforts of Ike Slump, a ne'er-do-well who tried to undermine
him. Ralph became a favorite with the master mechanic
of the road
through some remarkable
railroad service in which he saved the
railroad shops from destruction
Step by step Ralph advanced, and the second volume
of this series,
called "Ralph in the Switch Tower," showed how manly resolve, and
being right and doing right, enabled him to overcome
his enemies and
compel old Farrington to release
the fraudulent mortgage.
Incidentally, Ralph made many friends. He assisted a poor waif named
Van Sherwin to reach a position of comfort and honor, and was
instrumental in aiding a former business partner
of his father, one
Farwell Gibson, to complete a short line railroad through the woods
In the third volume
of the present series, entitled "Ralph on the
Engine," was related
how our young railroad friend became an active
employee of the Great Northern as a fireman. He made some record runs
with old John Griscom, the veteran
of the road. In that volume
also depicted the ambitious
but blundering efforts of Zeph Dallas, a
farmer boy who was determined to break into railroading, and there was
told as well the grand success of little Limpy Joe, a railroad
cripple, who ran a restaurant
in an old, dismantled box car.
These and other staunch, loyal friends had rallied around Ralph with
all the influence they could exert, when after a creditable
examination Ralph was placed on the extra list as an engineer.
Van and Zeph had been among the first to congratulate
the friend to
whom they owed so much, when, after a few months' service on
accomodation runs, it was made known that Ralph had been appointed as
engineer of No. 999.
It was Limpy Joe, spending a happy vacation
week with motherly,
kind-hearted Mrs. Fairbanks, who led the cheering coterie whom Ralph
had passed near his home as he left the Junction on his present run.
Of his old-time
enemies, Ike Slump and Mort Bemis were in jail, the
last Ralph had heard of them. There was a gang in his home town,
however, whom Ralph had reason to fear. It was made up of men who had
tried to cripple
the Great Northern through an unjust
strike. A man
named Jim Evans had been one of the leaders. Fogg had sympathized with
the strikers. Griscom and Ralph had routed the malcontents in a fair,
open-handed battle of arguments and blows. Fogg had been reinstated by
the road, but he had to go back on the promotion
list, and his rancor
when he learned
that Ralph had been chosen to a position
superior to his own.
"They want young blood, the railroad nobs tell it," the disgruntled
fireman had been heard to remark in his favorite tippling place on
Railroad Street. "Humph! They'll have blood, and lots of it, if they
trust the lives of passengers and crew to a lot of kindergarten
Of all this Ralph was thinking as they covered a clear dash of twenty
miles over the best stretch of grading on the road, and with
satisfaction he noted that they had gained three minutes on the
schedule time. He whistled for a station at which they did not stop,
set full speed again as they left the little village behind them, and
The latter had not spoken
a word for over half-an-hour. He had gone
about his duties in a dogged, sullen
fashion that showed the
permanency of the grouch with which old John Griscom had charged him.
Ralph had made up his mind to leave his cab companionseverely
mechanic [mi´kænik] n.技工 a.手工的 (初中英语单词)invention [in´venʃən] n.创造；发明；虚构 (初中英语单词)mystery [´mistəri] n.神秘；秘密；故弄玄虚 (初中英语单词)conclusion [kən´klu:ʒən] n.结束；结论；推论 (初中英语单词)hooked [hukt] a.钩状的；上瘾的 (初中英语单词)working [´wə:kiŋ] a.工人的；劳动的 (初中英语单词)system [´sistəm] n.系统，体系，制度 (初中英语单词)crystal [´kristəl] n.水晶 a.水晶的 (初中英语单词)ambitious [æm´biʃəs] a.有雄心的；热望的 (初中英语单词)interior [in´tiəriə] n.&a.内部地(的) (初中英语单词)character [´kæriktə] n.特性；性质；人物；字 (初中英语单词)expert [´ekspə:t] n.&a.专家；内行 (初中英语单词)satisfaction [,sætis´fækʃən] n.满意；满足 (初中英语单词)deserve [di´zə:v] v.应受；值得 (初中英语单词)contrast [´kɔntrɑ:st] n.对比 v.使对比(照) (初中英语单词)mutter [´mʌtə] v.&n.咕哝；嘀咕 (初中英语单词)privilege [´privilidʒ] n.特权 vt.给….特权 (初中英语单词)advise [əd´vaiz] vt.忠告；建议；通知 (初中英语单词)breath [breθ] n.呼吸；气息 (初中英语单词)series [´siəri:z] n.连续；系列；丛书 (初中英语单词)thrill [θril] v.震惊；激动；刺激 (初中英语单词)bestow [bi´stəu] vt.(把…)赠给；使用 (初中英语单词)standing [´stændiŋ] n.持续 a.直立的 (初中英语单词)handkerchief [´hæŋkətʃif] n.手帕，手绢 (初中英语单词)welcome [´welkəm] a.受欢迎的；可喜的 (初中英语单词)plainly [´pleinli] ad.平坦地；简单地 (初中英语单词)careless [´keəlis] a.粗心的；草率的 (初中英语单词)old-fashioned [´əuld´feʃənd] a.老式的；过时的 (初中英语单词)swiftly [´swiftli] ad.迅速地，敏捷地 (初中英语单词)enthusiasm [in´θju:ziæzəm] n.热心；狂热；爱好 (初中英语单词)fascinating [´fæsineitiŋ] a.迷人，使神魂颠倒的 (初中英语单词)marvel [´mɑ:vəl] n.令人惊异的事；奇迹 (初中英语单词)mechanical [mi´kænikəl] a.机械的；力学的 (初中英语单词)genius [´dʒi:niəs] n.天才(人物)；天赋 (初中英语单词)mental [´mentl] a.精神的；心理的 (初中英语单词)pioneer [,paiə´niə] n.拓荒者 v.开辟；倡导 (初中英语单词)beginning [bi´giniŋ] n.开始，开端；起源 (初中英语单词)volume [´vɔlju:m, ´vɑljəm] n.卷；书籍；体积；容量 (初中英语单词)despite [di´spait] prep.尽管 (初中英语单词)remarkable [ri´mɑ:kəbl] a.值得注意的；显著的 (初中英语单词)destruction [di´strʌkʃən] n.破坏，毁灭 (初中英语单词)advanced [əd´vɑ:nst] a.先进的；高级的 (初中英语单词)resolve [ri´zɔlv] v.决心 n.决心；刚毅 (初中英语单词)overcome [,əuvə´kʌm] vt.战胜，克服 (初中英语单词)release [ri´li:s] vt&n.释放；放松；赦免 (初中英语单词)partner [´pɑ:tnə] n.伙伴 v.同….合作 (初中英语单词)restaurant [´restərɔnt] n.饭店，菜馆 (初中英语单词)vacation [və´keiʃən, vei´keiʃən] n.假期；休庭期；腾空 (初中英语单词)sharply [´ʃɑ:pli] ad.锋利地；剧烈地 (初中英语单词)spoken [´spəukən] speak的过去分词 (初中英语单词)companion [kəm´pæniən] n.同伴；同事；伴侣 (初中英语单词)switch [switʃ] n.开关 v.转换 (高中英语单词)limited [´limitid] a.有限(制)的 (高中英语单词)astonishing [əs´tɔniʃiŋ] a.令人惊讶的 (高中英语单词)critical [´kritikəl] a.批评的；关键性的 (高中英语单词)motion [´məuʃən] n.手势 vt.打手势 (高中英语单词)superintendent [,su:pərin´tendənt, ,sju:-] n.管理人，负责人 (高中英语单词)routine [ru:´ti:n] n.日常工作 a.日常的 (高中英语单词)schedule [´ʃedju:l] n.目录；清单；一览表 (高中英语单词)prompt [prɔmpt] a.敏捷的 vt.促使 (高中英语单词)strict [strikt] a.严厉的；精确的 (高中英语单词)locomotive [,ləukə´məutiv] n.机头 a.移动的 (高中英语单词)hearty [´hɑ:ti] a.热忱的；强健的 (高中英语单词)compliment [´kɔmplimənt] n.敬意 vt.赞美；祝贺 (高中英语单词)decided [di´saidid] a.明显的；决定的 (高中英语单词)veteran [´vetərən] n.老兵 a.老练的 (高中英语单词)crowded [´kraudid] a.充(拥)满了的 (高中英语单词)retort [ri´tɔ:t] n.&v.报复；反击；反驳 (高中英语单词)helper [´helpə] n.帮助者，助手 (高中英语单词)landscape [´lændskeip] n.风景；景色；风景画 (高中英语单词)breathless [´breθlis] a.屏息的 (高中英语单词)scenery [´si:nəri] n.舞台布景 (高中英语单词)inheritance [in´heritəns] n.继承(物)；遗传；遗产 (高中英语单词)mortgage [´mɔ:gidʒ] a.&vt.抵押 (高中英语单词)related [ri´leitid] a.叙述的；有联系的 (高中英语单词)congratulate [kən´grætjuleit] vt.祝贺 (高中英语单词)cripple [´kripəl] n.跛子 vt.使残疾 (高中英语单词)promotion [prə´məuʃən] n.促进；提升；倡仪 (高中英语单词)intense [in´tens] a.强烈的；紧张的 (高中英语单词)learned [´lə:nid] a.有学问的，博学的 (高中英语单词)sullen [´sʌlən] a.不高兴的 (高中英语单词)severely [si´viəli] ad.剧烈地；严格地 (高中英语单词)clearing [´kliəriŋ] n.(森林中的)空旷地 (英语四级单词)fireman [´faiəmən] n.消防队员；司炉工 (英语四级单词)warning [´wɔ:niŋ] n.警告；前兆 a.预告的 (英语四级单词)dallas [´dæləs] n.达拉斯 (英语四级单词)junction [´dʒʌŋkʃən] n.连接；交叉点 (英语四级单词)vicious [´viʃəs] a.不道德的；刻毒的 (英语四级单词)intently [in´tentli] ad.专心地 (英语四级单词)tactics [´tæktiks] n.策略；战术 (英语四级单词)stirring [´stə:riŋ] a.活跃的；热闹的 (英语四级单词)unworthy [ʌn´wə:ði] a.不值得的；不足道的 (英语四级单词)old-time [´əuld-´taim] a.老资格的；古时的 (英语四级单词)unjust [ʌn´dʒʌst] a.不公平(正)的 (英语四级单词)overland [´əuvə,lænd, ,əuvə´lænd] a.陆上的 ad.陆上 (英语六级单词)resplendent [ri´splendənt] a.灿烂的；辉煌的 (英语六级单词)roundabout [´raundəbaut] a.&n.间接的(方式) (英语六级单词)beaming [´bi:miŋ] a.笑吟吟的 (英语六级单词)fleeting [´fli:tiŋ] a.飞逝的，疾驰的 (英语六级单词)minded [´maindid] a.有…心的 (英语六级单词)