Chris Lainis has an eye for trains, such a good eye that he spotted a problem
CSX Transportation says could have derailed one of its freight trains.
Chris, 14, said he has been in love with trains since he was 10, reads all about them in books and magazines, watches them go by, waves to the crews and monitors their radio calls.Last month, as a 133-car coal train rumbled empty past his favorite viewing spot, he heard a screeching of metal and saw white smoke coming from under one of the cars. After it passed, Chris checked the rails and found a groove.
He called CSX, where yardmaster Bob Ford had heard reports on trains from Chris before. CSX took Chris' advice and checked the train and found a worn wheel that could not have gone more than a dozen miles without cracking.
"If it hadn't been for Chris' call, the wheel might not have been detected until it derailed and caused us a lot of damage and maybe some injuries," Mr. Ford said. "He saved the company a good bit of money and maybe some lives."
CSX awarded Chris a gold watch and a company cap.
Chris said he just wanted to help.
"Trains are like big, huge cars rolling past," Chris said. "They're more detailed. When the crews wave to me, it makes me feel good inside. I get chill bumps when they say 'Hi' from the train."