The Loose Caboose

The Puzzler

RAY: Ha. We're back. You're listening to Car Talk with us, Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers and we're here to discuss cars, car repair, and dah --

TOM: And dah --

RAY: The new puzzler.

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: Your recent... My brother took a trip recently.

TOM: Yes.

RAY: He took a trip on the rails.

TOM: I certainly did.

RAY: He told me he was spending a week in Florida. He really spent five days on the train.

TOM: And a day in Florida.

RAY: And a day... But it reminded me of a puzzler of yesteryear.

TOM: Yes.

RAY: Imagine, if you will, a long freight train. Like the kind you see out West. Now a couple of hundred cars.

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: It's pulled into the yard. The train yard and it's stopped and big... I don't know what they do. Gets out to go to the bathroom. All the train workers. They get back in and the engineer opens the throttle and the train starts to pull away from the yard. When they realize it, the caboose has a problem. The brake is frozen on one of the wheels of the caboose.

TOM: How would they know?

RAY: Because the wheel is being dragged and there's... There are sparks and smoke.

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: And someone standing there says, "Stop the train." So, they manage to signal to the engineer, to stop the train. Well, they can't fix it, so they just cut the caboose loose. They remove it and they give him the go ahead. They wave him. You know. Go ahead. He gives it the throttle. The train doesn't move.

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: He gives it more throttle, it doesn't move. He gives it more and what's happening is the train isn't moving, but his wheels are spinning.

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: The cars aren't moving. There's nothing wrong with any of the remaining cars and there's nothing wrong with the engine, but there is something wrong with the engineer.

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: The question is what's wrong with this picture?

TOM: Phew. This is good.

Think you know? Drop Ray a note!

[ Car Talk Puzzler ]

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