Forgotten Rail: The Story of an Abandoned Piece of Railway

Forgotten Rail: The Story of an Abandoned Piece of Railway

A Story by Charlotte Flores

This is the story of a piece of rail that was left behind during a railway project, and its daily struggle to remain hopeful of being useful again.


It was not meant to be. They were not going to let me go. I should have been installed in the field, but I was forgotten because they were in a hurry that day. The engineers kept reminding us that we don't have time and that the project is behind schedule. We have to deliver the work sooner. That's why they left me and left. One of the workers said to the engineer at the last moment: "There is a new piece of rail left here. All the old pieces have been replaced."

The engineer said: "Leave it there. We don't have time to open all the bolts again for one piece. After the work is finished, I will order them to come and take it to the warehouse. Maybe it will be needed for the next project."

I remember this last sentence "it will be needed for the next project". But they never came back. Twenty years have passed now and I am left here a few kilometers from the railway station. I am only a few meters away from my friends. They left me by the rail and left. I wake up every morning with hope. I say to myself: "Maybe that engineer will remember me. Maybe not! Maybe he'll come and take me today. Anyway, I'm a useful part. They spent a lot of money to fix me. The alloy engineer knows me. Even Once, he came to a few meters away from me and looked at me for a moment. At that time, they used to say, "An engineer never forgets anything". This is what I do every day. Until noon, I am happy and hopeful, but in the afternoon, I lose a little hope. And when the night falls, I will be sad! Again, I will wait for tomorrow with the hope of tomorrow. Does it mean that they will come after me one day?

Here, a few meters away from me, there are pieces of rails that were laid on the last day of work. The rails are not one piece. We are the pieces that fit together to function properly. The appearance of all parts is similar, but each part is made for a specific purpose during production. There has been supervision on the construction of each one of us. Even a special number is engraved on each of us. I also have one of these numbers. Therefore, it is not possible that any railway was built without a purpose.

The rails that are a few meters away from me were all in the same warehouse with me. We were all put in a truck and we all got here together. There was no difference between us. I don't know why the workers took my friends one by one in the last moments, but they didn't pay attention to me. Some of these rails have forgotten that we were together. They make fun of me and say "I am useless because I have never done anything useful in my life". No matter how much I shout, it is not my fault. I like to be useful, but they still say, "If I didn't have any problems, someone would have followed me by now."

Maybe they are right. Finally, you know that there was a special order and supervision over the entire railway project. From the time of production to registration in the warehouse, loading the trucks and even during installation, everyone performed their duties carefully. The rails were placed together at regular intervals. The engineer personally supervised the whole project closely. Can they leave me?

Amidst the rails, there is one that is kinder than the others and seems to have a liking towards me. He consoles, "None of this is your doing. It was all a matter of chance." Another rail retorts, "Why do you assume that you would be in a much better state had you been in our place? The engineer favored you because you sit comfortably and do not bear the burden of the train."

It is quite frightening when the train barrels over them at high speeds! A strong wind gusts by, its weight felt even by me. The noise of the rails and wheels grinding together is deafening and unsettling. Not a single rail has a means of escape. They each take turns making a sound as if someone is striking them with force. After the train passes, there is a collective groaning for several minutes, particularly when it is a freight train.

Yet, in spite of all this, I long to be in their position. I think they feel better, perhaps even happier. They have something to converse about. They keep count of the number of trains that pass every day. At day's end, they remind one another not to tire and to do something useful.

On the other side of the rails, pieces of concrete have been positioned underneath, rendering them completely silent. They converse very little, only attending to their work. It's as if they don't know each other at all. At times, I think to myself: "They are not alive, just a few words uttered robotically."

I know I will age much faster than these laid rails. Passing trains polish and eradicate the rust from them, while mine endures. There was an old, dilapidated rail that lay beside me. It had served for fifty years prior to our arrival. When they removed the old rails, it was left behind. It rusted and decayed far quicker than me. It would say, "I have no hope of experiencing the train passing over me again." It believed that no matter how old we got, we would remain until the train ran over us. On its final day, it imparted to me, "We die when we are certain we are no longer useful." After this statement, it was silent.

I also occasionally think that I may never be of use again. The engineer may never remember me for the remainder of his life, or he may have passed away. Nevertheless, I am still here, perhaps because I am still somewhat useful. Children come and sit on me when they play. It's likely that their home is close by. Of course, it's a risky business, and I don't know why no one is keeping an eye on these children! It saddens me when they depart. I am aware that these children will grow up someday and cease to visit this place. At that moment, I will lose my sole purpose and wither away like an old rail.

© 2023 Charlotte Flores

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I've never seen anyone add personification to a piece of railway, so this was actually an enjoyable piece to read. You gave emotions to an inanimate object in a way that makes the reader a little bit sad. I enjoyed and you get a 100 from me.

Posted 2 Weeks Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I'm shocked that I'm the first to leave a comment on such an excellent story. My only suggestion would be to add a background in your next story. Sprinkle in some of that marvelous landscape you enjoy hiking through.

Posted 2 Weeks Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Charlotte Flores

2 Weeks Ago

Thank you for your kind words about my story. I'm thrilled to hear that you enjoyed it!

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2 Reviews
Added on March 9, 2023
Last Updated on March 9, 2023
Tags: railway, forgotten, abandoned, hope, purpose, camaraderie, deterioration, struggle, usefulness, reflection


Charlotte Flores
Charlotte Flores


Hi there! My name is Charlotte Flores and I'm a 23-year-old aspiring writer living in West Virginia. Writing has always been my passion, and I've recently taken my first steps towards becoming a profe.. more..


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