In any event, day after day, week after week, I've heard this particular detector announce the passing trains with its location (Milepost 332.8), the track number (one or two), and the words "No defects." It had become so monotonous that I barely paid attention to it anymore. Well about three weeks ago, it caught me off guard with the following announcement:
"CRITICAL ALARM, CRITICAL ALARM, CRITICAL ALARM"
"Norfolk Southern Milepost three three two point eight, Track 2"
"Dragging equipment near axle 203"
The monotone, synthesized electronic voice was as calm as ever, but the message, which was repeated a second time, left no doubt there was a problem. I assume the passing train came to a stop, and I was just able to make out some garbled radio traffic between the conductor and engineer as they walked the length of the train checking for problems. I don't know their findings, but hopefully it was nothing major. But after hearing that, Charlie and I set out to find and photograph the oft' heard but never seen detector, Here is what we found.