Part 3 out of 4
Tom stepped to Ned's side and touched his arm. "Who is he?" the
The man who had attracted Ned's attention and now held Tom's
interest as well was a solid looking man with gray hair and a
dyed mustache. He was chewing on a long and black cigar, and he
spoke to the train hands with authority.
"Well, why can't you find him?" he wanted to know in a hoarse
and arrogant voice.
"Who is he?" asked Tom again in Ned's ear.
"I've seen him somewhere. Or else I've seen somebody that looks
like him. Maybe I've seen his picture. He's somebody of
"He thinks he is," rejoined the young inventor, with some
In answer to something one of the railroad men said the
important looking individual uttered an oath and added:
"There's nobody been killed then? He's just missing? He was
sitting in the coach ahead of me. I saw him just before the
wreck. You know O'Malley yourself. Do you mean to say you haven't
seen him, Conductor?"
"I assure you he disappeared like smoke, sir," said the
passenger conductor. "I haven't an idea what became of him."
"Humph! If you see him, send him to me, and the solid man
stepped heavily aboard the nearest coach and disappeared inside.
Tom and Ned stared at each other with wondering gaze. O'Malley!
The spy who had represented Montagne Lewis and the Hendrickton &
Western Railroad in the East.
"What do you know about that?" demanded Ned, wonderingly.
"Hold on!" exclaimed Tom. He sprang across the rails after the
conductor of the accommodation train that was just starting on.
"Let me ask you a question."
"Yes, sir?" replied the conductor
"Who was that man who just spoke to you?" "That man? Why, I
thought everybody out this way knew Montagne Lewis. That is his
name, sir--and a big man he is. Yes, sir," and the conductor,
giving the watching engineer of his train the "highball," caught
the hand-rail of the car and swung himself aboard as the train
On the Hendrickton & Pas Alos
The transcontinental was delayed three hours by the strewn
wreckage of the rear of Number Forty-eight. When she went on the
two young fellows from Shopton gazed anxiously at the Hercules
0001, which stood between two gondolas in the forward end of the
"Just by luck nothing happened to it," muttered Ned.
"Just luck," agreed Tom Swift. "It was a shock to me to learn
that Andy O'Malley was right there on the spot when the accident
"And his employer, too," added Ned. "For we must admit that Mr.
Montagne Lewis is the man who sicked O'Malley on to you." "True."
"And they were both in the accommodation that was sideswiped by
the derailed cars of Number Forty-eight."
"That, likewise is a fact," said Tom, nodding quickly.
"But what puzzles me, as it seemed to puzzle Lewis, more than
anything else, is what became of O'Malley?"
"I guess I can see through that knot-hole," Tom rejoined.
"I bet O'Malley got a squint at me--or perhaps at you--as we
walked up the track from this coach, and he lit out in a hurry.
There stood the Three-Oughts-One, and there were we. He knew we
would raise a hue and cry if we saw him in the vicinity of my
"I bet that's the truth, Tom."
"I know it. He didn't even have time to warn his employer. By
the way, Ned, what a brute that Montagne Lewis looks to be."
"I believe you! I remember having seen his photograph in a
magazine. Oh, he's some punkins, Tom."
"And just as wicked as they make 'em, I bet! Face just as
pleasant as a bulldog's!"
"You said it. I'm afraid of that man. I shall not have a
moment's peace until you have handed the Hercules Three-Oughts-
One over to Mr. Bartholomew and got his acceptance."
"If I do," murmured Tom.
"Of course you will, if that Lewis or his henchmen don't smash
things up. You are not afraid of the speed matter now, are you?"
demanded Ned confidently.
"I can be sure of nothing until after the tests," said Tom,
shaking his head. "Remember, Ned, that I have set out to
accomplish what was never done before--to drive a locomotive over
the rails at two miles a minute. It's a mighty big undertaking."
"Of course it will come out all right. If Koku is faithful
"That is the smallest 'if' in the category," Tom interposed,
with a laugh. "If I was as sure of all else as I am of Koku, we'd
have plain sailing before us."
Two days later Tom Swift and Ned Newton were ushered into the
private office of the president of the H. & P. A. at the
Hendrickton terminal. The two young fellows from the East had got
in the night before, had become established at the best hotel in
the rapidly growing Western municipality, and had seen something
of the town itself during the hours before midnight.
Now they were ready for business, and very important business,
Mr. Richard Bartholomew sat up in his desk chair and his keen
eyes suddenly sparkled when he saw his visitors and recognized
"I did not expect you so soon. Your locomotive arrived
yesterday, Mr. Swift. How are you, Mr. Newton?"
He motioned for them to take chairs. His secretary left the
room. The railroad magnate at once became confidential.
"Nothing happened on the way?" he asked, pointedly. "There was
a freight wreck, I understand?"
"And we chanced to be right at hand when that happened," said
"So was your friend, Mr. Lewis," remarked Ned Newton.
"You don't mean to say that Montagne Lewis--"
"Was there. And Andy O'Malley," put in Tom.
Then he detailed the incident, as far as he and Ned knew the
details, to Mr. Bartholomew, who listened with close attention.
"Well, it might merely have been a coincidence," murmured the
railroad president. "But, of course, we can't be sure. Anyhow, it
is just as well if your servant, Mr. Swift, keeps close watch
still upon that locomotive."
"He will," said Tom, nodding. "He is down there in the yard
with the Hercules Three-Oughts-One, and I mean to keep Koku right
on the job."
"Good! Let's go down and look at her," Mr. Bartholomew said,
But first Tom wanted to go into the theoretical particulars of
his invention. And he confessed that thus far his tests of the
locomotive had not been altogether satisfactory.
"I have got to have a clear track on a stretch of your own line
here, Mr. Bartholomew, and under certain conditions, before I can
be sure as to just how much speed I can get out of the machine."
"Speed is the essential point, Mr. Swift," said the railroad
"That is what I have been telling Ned," Tom rejoined. "I
believe my improvements over the Jandel patents are worthy. I
know I have a very powerful locomotive. But that is not enough."
"We have got to shoot our trains through the Pas Alos Range
faster than trains were ever shot over the grades before, or we
have failed," said Mr. Bartholomew, with decision.
"But--" began Ned; but Tom put up an arresting hand and his
financial manager ceased speaking.
"I have not forgotten the details of our contract, Mr.
Bartholomew," he said, quietly. "Two-miles-a-minute is the target
I have aimed for. Whether I have hit it or not, well, time will
show. I have got to try the locomotive out on the tracks of the
H. & P. A. in any case. The Hercules Three-Oughts-One has been
dragged a long distance, and has been through at least one wreck.
I want to see if she is all right before I test her officially."
"I'll arrange that for you," said Mr. Bartholomew, briskly,
putting away his papers. "I will go with you, too, and take a
look at the marvel."
"And a marvel it is," grumbled Ned. "Don't let him fool you,
Mr. Bartholomew. Tom never does consider what he's done as being
as great as it really is."
"Everything must be proved," Tom said, cautiously. "If it was a
financial problem, Mr. Bartholomew, believe me it would be Ned
who displayed caution. But I have seldom built anything that
could not--and has not--later been improved."
"You do not consider your electric locomotive, then, a
completed invention?" asked Mr. Bartholomew, as the three walked
down the yard.
"I have too much experience .to say it is perfect," returned
Tom. "I can scarcely believe, even, that it is going to suit you,
Mr. Bartholomew, even if the speed test is as promising as I hope
it may be."
"But before I shall be willing to throw up the sponge and say
that I have failed, I shall monkey with the Hercules Three-
Oughts-One quite a little on your tracks."
"Your six months isn't up yet," said Mr. Bartholomew, more
cheerfully. "And it doesn't matter if it is. If you see any
chance of making a success of your invention, you are welcome to
try it out on the tracks of the H. & P. A. for another six
"All right," Tom said, smiling. "Now, there is the Hercules
Three-Oughts-One, Mr. Bartholomew. And there is Koku looking
longingly through the window."
In fact, the giant, the moment he saw Tom, ran to unbar and
open the door of the cab on that side.
"Master! If no let Koku out, Koku go amuck -Äcrazy! No can
breathe in here! No can eat! No can sleep!"
"The poor fellow!" ejaculated Ned.
"What's the matter with him?" asked Mr. Bartholomew, curiously.
"Get out, if you want to, Koku. I'll stay by while you kick up
No sooner had the inventor spoken than the giant leaped from
the open door of the locomotive and dashed away along the cinder
path as though he actually had to run away. Tom burst into a
laugh, as he watched the giant disappear beyond the strings of
"What is the matter with him?" repeated the railroad president.
"He's got the cramp all right," laughed Tom Swift. "You don't
understand, Mr. Bartholomew, what it means to that big fellow to
be housed in for so many days, and unable to kick a free limb. I
bet he runs ten miles before he stops."
"The police will arrest him," said the railroad man.
It was then Ned's turn to chuckle. "I am sorry for your
railroad police if they tackle Koku right now," he said. "He'd
lay out about a dozen ordinary men without half trying. But,
ordinarily, he is the most mild-mannered fellow who ever lived."
"He will come back, if he is let alone, as harmless as a
kitten," Tom observed. "And when I am not with the Hercules
Three-Oughts-One, and while I continue making my tests, Koku will
be on guard. You might tell your police force, Mr. Bartholomew,
to let him alone. Now come aboard and let me show you what I have
been trying to do."
They spent two hours inside the cab of the great locomotive.
Mr. Richard Bartholomew was possessed of no small degree of
mechanical education. He might not be a genius in mechanics as
Tom Swift was, but he could follow the latter's explanations
regarding the improvements in the electrical equipment of this
new type of locomotive.
"I don't know what your speed tests will show, Mr. Swift," said
the railroad president, with added enthusiasm. "But if those
parts will do what you say they have already done, you've got the
Jandels beat a mile! I'm for you, strong. Yes, sir! like your
friend, Newton, here, I believe that you have hit the right
track. You are going to triumph."
But Tom's triumph did not come at once. He knew more about the
uncertainties of mechanical contrivances than did either Mr.
Bartholomew or Ned Newton.
The very next day the Hercules 0001 was got out upon a section
of the electrified system of the Hendrickton & Pas Alos Railway,
and the pantagraphs of the huge locomotive for the first time
came into connection with the twin conductor trolleys which
overhung the rails.
Ned accompanied Tom as assistant. Koku was allowed by the
inventor to roam about the hills as much as he pleased during the
hours in which his master was engaged with the Hercules 0001. Tom
did not think any harm would come to Koku, and he knew that the
giant would enjoy immensely a free foot in such a wild country.
The two young fellows, dressed in working suits of overall stuff,
spent long hours in the cab of the electric locomotive. Their
try-outs had to be made for the most part on sidetracks and
freight switches, some miles outside Hendrickton, where the
invention would not be in the way of regular traffic.
Speed on level tracks had been raised in one test to over
ninety-five miles an hour and Mr. Bartholomew cheered wildly from
the cab of a huge Mallet that paced Tom's locomotive on a
parallel track. No steam locomotive had ever made such fast time.
But Tom was after something bigger than this. He wanted to show
the president of the H. & P. A. that the Hercules 0001 could drag
a load over the Pas Alos Range at a pace never before gained by
Therefore he coaxed the electric locomotive out into the hills,
some hundred or more miles from headquarters. He had to keep in
touch with the train dispatcher's office, of course; the new
machine had often to take a sidetrack. Nor was much of this hilly
right-of-way electrified. The Jandels locomotive had been found
to be a failure on the sharp grades; so the extension of the
trolley system had been abandoned.
But there was one steep grade between Hammon and Cliff City
that had been completed. The current could be fed to the cables
over this stretch of track, and for a week Tom used this long and
steep grade just as much as he could, considering of course the
demands of the regular traffic.
The telegraph operator at Half Way (merely a name for a
station, for there was not a habitation in sight) thrust his long
upper-length out of the telegraph office window one afternoon and
waved a "highball" to the waiting electric locomotive on the
"Dispatcher says you can have Track Number
Two West till the four-thirteen, westbound, is due. I'll slip the
operator at Cliff City the news and he'll be on the lookout for
you as well as me, Mr. Swift. Go to it."
Every man on the system was interested, and most of them
enthusiastic, about Tom's invention. The latter knew that he
could depend upon this operator and his mate to watch out for the
western-bound flyer that would begin its climb of the grade at
Hammon less than half an hour hence.
The electric locomotive was coaxed out across the switch. Tom
was earnestly inspecting the more delicate parts of the mechanism
while Ned (and proud he was to do it) handled the levers. Once on
the main line he moved the controller forward. The machine began
to pick up speed.
The drumming of the wheels over the rail joints became a single
note--an increasing roar of sound. The electric locomotive shot
up the grade. The arrow on the speedometer crept around the dial
and Ned's eye was more often fastened on that than it was on the
glistening twin rails which mounted the grade.
Black-green hemlock and spruce bordered the right of way on
either hand. Their shadows made the tunnel through the forest
almost dark. But Tom had not seen fit to turn on the headlight.
"How is she making out?" asked the inventor, coming to look
over his chum's shoulder.
"It's great, Tom!" breathed Ned Newton, his eyes glistening.
"She eats this grade up."
And it's within a narrow fraction of a two per cent.," said the
inventor proudly. "She takes it without a jar--Hold on! What's
The locomotive had traveled ten miles or more from Half Way.
The summit of the grade was not far ahead. But the forest shut
out all view of the station at Cliff City and the structures that
stood near it.
Right across the steel ribbons on which the hercules 0001 ran,
Tom had seen something which brought the question to his lips.
Ned Newton saw it too, and he shouted aloud:
"Tree down! A log fallen, Tom!"
He did not lose completely his self-control. But he grabbed the
levers with less care than he should. He tried to yank two of
them at once, and, in doing so, he fouled the brakes!
He had shut off connection with the current. But the brake
control was jammed. The locomotive quickly came to a halt. Then,
before Tom could get to the open door, the wheels began spinning
in reverse and the great Hercules 0001 began the descent of the
steep grade, utterly unmanageable!
Peril, The Mother of Invention
Tom Swift's first thought was one of thankfulness. Thankfulness
that he did not have a drag of fifty or sixty steel gondolas or
the like to add their weight to the down-pull. The locomotive's
own weight of approximately two hundred and seventy tons was
For when the inventor pushed Ned aside and tried to handle the
controllers properly, he found them unmanageable. There was not a
chance of freeing them and getting power on the brakes. The
Hercules 0001 was hacking down the mountain side with a speed
that was momentarily increasing, and without a chance of
The young inventor at that moment of peril, knew no more what
to do to avert disaster than Ned Newton himself.
It flashed across his mind, however, that others beside
themselves were in peril because of this accident. The fast
express from the East that should pass Half Way at four-thirteen,
might already be climbing the hill from Hammon. Hammon, at the
foot of the grade, was twenty-five miles away. Nor was the track
If the operator at Half Way did not see the runaway locomotive
and telephone the danger to the foot of the grade, when the
Hercules 0001 came tearing down the track it might ram something
in the Hammon yard, if it did not actually collide with the
approaching westbound express.
Such an emergency as this is likely either to numb the brains
of those entangled in the peril or excite them to increased
activity. Ned Newton was apparently stunned by the catastrophe.
Tom's brain never worked more clearly.
He seized the siren lever and set it at full, so that the blast
called up continuous echoes in the forest as the locomotive
plunged down the incline. He ran to the door again, on the side
where Half Way station lay, and hung out to signal the operator
who had so recently given him right of way on this stretch of
"We're going to smash! We're going to smash!" groaned Ned
Tom read these words on his chum's lips, rather than heard
them, for the roar of the descending locomotive drowned every
other sound. Tom waved an encouraging hand, but did not reply
Meanwhile his brain was working as fast as ever it had. He had
instantly comprehended all the danger of the situation. But in
addition he appreciated the fact that such an accident as this
might happen at any time to this or any other locomotive he might
Automatic brakes were all right. If there had been a good drag
of cars behind the Hercules 0001, on which the compressed air
brakes might have been set, the present manifest peril might have
been obliterated. The brakes on the cars would have stopped the
But to halt this huge monster when alone, on the grade, was
another matter. Once the locomotive brake lever was jammed, as in
this case, there was no help for the huge machine. It had to ride
to the foot of the grade--if it did not chance to hit something
on the way!
And with this realization of both the imminent peril and the
need of averting it, to Tom's active brain came the germ of an
idea that he determined to put into force, if he lived through
this accident, on each and every electric locomotive that he
might in the future build.
This monster, flying faster and faster down the mountain side,
was a menace to everything in its track. There might be almost
anything in the way of rolling stock on the section between Half
Way and Hammon at the foot of the grade. If this thunderbolt of
wood and steel collided with any other train, with the force and
weight gathered by its plunge down the mountain, it would drive
through such obstruction like a projectile from Tom's own big
Tom realized this fact. He knew that whatever object the
Hercules 0001 might strike, that object would be shattered and
scattered all about the right of way. What might happen to the
runaway was another matter. But the inventor believed that the
electric locomotive would be less injured than anything with
which it came into collision.
At any rate, thought of the peril to himself and his invention
had secondary consideration in Tom Swift's mind. It was what the
monster which he could not control might do to other rolling
stock of the H. & P. A. that rasped the young fellow's mind.
The grade above Half Way had few curves. Tom soon caught the
first glimpse of the station. Would the operator hear the roar of
the descending runaway and understand what had happened?
He leaned far out from the open doorway and waved his cap
madly. He began to shout a warning, although he saw not a soul
about the station and knew very well that his voice was
completely drowned by the voice of the siren and the drumming of
the great wheels.
Suddenly the tousled head of the operator popped out of his
window. He saw the coming locomotive, the drivers smoking!
To be a good railroad man one has to have his wits about him.
To be a good operator at a backwoods station one has to have two
sets of wits--one set to tell what to do in an emergency, the
other to listen and apprehend the voice of the sounder.
This Half Way man was good. He knew better than to try the
telegraph instrument. He grabbed the telephone receiver and
jiggled the hook up and down on the standard while the Hercules
0001 roared past the station.
It did not need Tom's frantically waving cap to warn him what
had happened. And he remembered clearly the fact of the expected
"Hammon? Get me? This is Half Way. That derned electric hog has
sprung something and is coming down, lickity-split!
"Yes! Clear your yard! Where's Number Twenty-eight? Good! Side
her, or she'll be ditched. Get me?"
The voice at the other end of the wire exploded into indignant
vituperation. Then silence. The Half Way operator had done his
best--his all. He ran out upon the platform. The electric
locomotive had disappeared behind the woods, but the roar of its
wheels and the shrill voice of its siren echoed back along the
The sound faded into insignificance. The operator went back
into his hut and stayed close by the telephone instrument for the
next ten minutes to learn the worst.
If the operator's nerves were tense, what about those of Tom
Swift and his chum? Ned staggered to the door and clung to Tom's
arm. He shrilled into the latter's ear:
"Shall we jump?"
"I don't see any soft spots," returned Tom, grimly. "There
aren't any life nets along this line."
Ned Newton was frightened, and with good reason. But if his
chum was equally terrified he did not show it. He continued to
lean from the open door to peer down the grade as the Hercules
0001 drove on.
Around curve after curve they flew. It entered Ned's tortured
mind that if his chum had wanted speed, he was getting it now! He
realized that two miles a minute was a mere bagatelle to the pace
now accomplished by the runaway locomotive.
As Ned Newton, fumbling at the controls when he saw the fallen
tree across the tracks, had jammed the brakes, the station master
at Hammon, at the bottom of this long grade on the Hendrickton &
Pas Alos, had stepped out to the blackboard in the barnlike
waiting room and scrawled with a bit of chalk:
"No. 28--Westbound--due 3:38 is is 15 m. late."
The fact, thus given to the general public or to such of it as
might be interested, averted what would have been a terrible
The fast express was late. When the babbling voice of the Half
Way operator over the telephone warned Hammon of the coming of
the runaway electric locomotive, there was time to shift switches
at the head of the yard so that, when Number Twenty-eight came
roaring in, she was shunted on to a far track and flagged for a
stop before she hit the bumper.
Thirty seconds later, from the west, the Hercules 0001 roared
down the grade and shot into the cleared west track in a halo of
smoke and dust. Speed! No runaway had ever traveled faster and
kept the rails. The story of the incident was embalmed in
railroad history, and no history is so full of vivid incident as
that of the rail.
When the first relay of excited railroad men reached the
electric locomotive after it had stopped on the long level, even
Ned Newton had pulled himself together and could look out upon
the world with some measure of calmness. Tom Swift was making
certain notes and draughting a curious little diagram upon a page
of his notebook.
"What happened to you, Mr. Swift?" was the demand of the first
"Oh, my foot slipped," said the young inventor, and they got
nothing more out of him than that.
But to Ned, after the crowd had gone, the inventor said:
"Ned, my boy, they used to say that necessity was the mother of
invention. Therefore a loaf of bread was considered the maternal
parent of the locomotive. I've got one that will beat that."
"Whew!" gasped Ned. "How can you? I haven't got my breath back
"It is peril that is the mother of invention," Tom went on,
still jotting down his notes. "Believe me! that jolt gave me a
new idea--an important idea. Suppose that operator at Half Way
had been out back somewhere, and had not seen or heard us flash
"Well, suppose he had? What's the answer?" sighed Ned.
"Like enough we would have rammed something down here."
"And I hardly understand even now why we didn't do just that,"
muttered his chum, with a shake of his head.
"Wake up, Ned! It's all over," laughed Tom. "While it was
happening I admit I was guessing just as hard as you were about
the finish. But--"
"Your recovery is better," grumbled his friend. "I'm scared
"And it might happen again--"
"No--not--ever!" exclaimed Ned. "I shall never touch those
controllers again. I'll drive your airscout, or your fastest
automobile, or anything like that. But me and this electric
locomotive have parted company for good. Yes, sir!"
"All right. It wasn't your fault. It might happen to any motor-
engineer. And the very fact that it can happen has given me my
idea. I tell you that danger is the mother of invention."
"As far as I am concerned, it can be father and grandparents
into the bargain," Ned declared, with a smile.
"Wake up!" cried his friend again. "I have got a dandy idea. I
wouldn't have missed that trip for anything
"You are crazy," interrupted Ned. "Suppose we had bumped
"But we didn't bump anything, except my brain tank. An idea
bumped it, I tell you. I am going to eliminate any such peril as
"You mean you are going to make it impossible for this
locomotive ever to slide down such a hill again if the brakes
won't work? Humph! Meanwhile I will go out and make the nearest
water-fall begin to run upward."
"Don't scoff. I do not mean just what you mean."
"I bet you don't!"
"But although I cannot be sure that a locomotive will never
again fall downhill," said Tom patiently, "I'm going to fix it so
that warning need not be given by some operator along the line.
The engineer must be able to send warning of his accident, both
up and down the road."
"Huh? How are you going to do that?" demanded Ned.
"Wireless telephone. I may make some improvements on the
present models; but it is practicable. It has been used on
submarines and cruisers, and lately its practicability has been
proved in the forestry service.
"Every one of these electric locomotives I turn out will be
supplied with wireless sets. The expense of making certain
telegraph offices along the line into receiving stations will be
small. I am going to take that up with Mr. Bartholomew at once.
And I am going to fix these brake controls so that nobody need
ball them up again."
If, out of such a desperate adventure, Tom could bring to
fruition really worthwhile improvements in relation to his
invention, Ned acknowledged the value of the incident. Just the
same, he had a personal objection to having any part in a similar
He was brave, but he could not forget danger. Tom seemed to
throw the effect of that terrible ride off his mind almost
instantly. Ned dreamed of it at night!
However, from that time things seemed to go with a rush. Mr.
Bartholomew approved of the young inventor's suggestion regarding
the use of the wireless telephone as a method of averting a
certain quality of danger in the use of the proposed monster
locomotive. The railroad man was convinced that Tom's ideas were
finally to culminate in success, and he was ready to spend money,
much money, in pushing on the work.
It was not long before a private test of the Hercules 0001 up
the grade from Hammon to Cliff City showed Mr. Bartholomew that
the speed he had required in his contract was attainable. With a
drag fully as heavy as any two locomotives had been able to get
over the same sector, the new locomotive alone marked a forty-
five mile an hour pace.
This attainment was kept quiet; not even the train crew knew
what the monster had done when they reached the summit of the
mountain. But Mr. Bartholomew, who rode with Tom and Ned in the
cab, had held his own watch on the test and compared it every
minute with the speedometer.
"I am satisfied that you are going to do more than I had really
hoped, Mr. Swift," the railroad president said at the end of the
run. "Already you could drive this locomotive at a two-mile-a-
minute clip on level rails, I am sure. Keep at it! Nobody will be
more delighted than I shall be if you pull down that hundred
thousand dollars' bonus."
"That's a fine way to talk, sir," cried Ned, with enthusiasm.
"I mean every word of it, Mr. Newton. The money is his as soon
as he makes good."
Both Tom and his financial manager left the president's office
in a satisfied state of mind.
"Great news to send home, Tom," remarked Ned, when they were
"Righto, Ned. My father will be glad to hear it."
"And what about Mary?" And Ned poked his chum in the ribs.
"I guess she'll he glad too," Tom replied, his face reddening.
That night Tom sent word to Mary and also a telegram, in code,
to his father, saying the prospects were now bright for a quick
finish of the task that had brought him West.
The Open Switch
Meanwhile the work of electrifying another division of the
Hendrickton & Pas Alos Railroad had been pushed to completion. As
Mr. Bartholomew had in the first place stated, the road
controlled water rights in the hills which would supply any
number of electric power stations, and his enemies could not shut
his road off from these waterfalls.
Tom had not warned his faithful servant, the giant Koku, to
watch out for Andy O'Malley in particular; the inventor knew that
the giant would be as cautious about any stranger as could be
wished. But personally Tom was amazed that either O'Malley or
some other henchman of the president of the Hendrickton & Western
did not make an attempt to injure the electric locomotive.
"Perhaps Mr. Bartholomew's police are really of some good,"
said Ned Newton, when his chum mentioned his surprise on this
point. "Has Koku seen nobody lurking about at night?"
"He certainly has not seen the man he calls 'Big Feet,'"
chuckled Tom. "If he had spotted O'Malley, there certainly would
have been an explosion."
"Tell you what," Ned said reflectively, "the longer Lewis keeps
off you, the more suspicious I should be."
"You think he is a bad citizen, do you?"
"And then some, as the boys say out here," replied Ned. "I
wouldn't trust that man any farther than I would a nest of
hornets or a shedding rattlesnake."
"I am inclined to believe, with you, Ned, that Lewis is
hatching up something and is keeping mighty whist about it. I
sounded Mr. Bartholomew on the idea and he, too, is puzzled."
"I guess he knows that hombre," grumbled Ned.
"Mr. Bartholomew admits that several roads have sent
representatives to make inquiries about my locomotive. They have
got wind of it, and, after all, most railroads work in unison.
What means progress for one is progress for all."
"That same rule does not seem to apply in the case of the
H. & P. A. and the H. & W.," remarked Ned.
"No. They are out and out rivals. And Lewis and his gang have
done this road dirt--no two ways about that. But when I am
convinced that my locomotive has got all the speed and power
contracted for, Mr. Bartholomew wants to invite a bunch of his
brother railroaders to see the tests--to ride in the Hercules
Three-Oughts-One, in fact."
"How about it? You going to agree? Suppose they have some
inventive sharp along who will be able to steal some of your
mechanical contrivances--in his head, I mean," and Ned seemed
quite suddenly anxious.
"I had thought of that. But before the test I shall send my
blueprints to Washington. Our patent attorney there has already
filed tentative plans and applied for certain patents that I
consider completed. Don't fret. I'll make it impossible for
anybody to steal our patents legally."
"Yes! But illegally?"
"That we cannot help in any case, and you know it," Tom said.
"If some road tries to build anything like the Hercules Three-
Oughts-One for the first two years without arranging with the
Swift Construction Company, you know that that railroad can be
made to suffer in the courts, and you are the boy, Ned, to put
them over the jumps for it."
"Sure," grumbled his chum. "It's always up to me to save the
"Exactly," chuckled Tom. "And in your character of life saver,
do look out for anybody who looks suspicious hanging about the
Hercules Three-Oughts-One. I'll take care of rival inventors. You
and Koku keep your eyes peeled for the H. & W. spies. Especially
for that Andy O'Malley. I feel that he will again show up. Maybe
by 'the pricking of my thumb' as Macbeth's witch used to remark."
Every day save Sunday the electric locomotive had some kind of
try-out. On a level track Tom was sure of his monster invention's
qualities; but in the hills, at a distance from the Hendrickton
terminal, it was another matter.
The grades were steep; but the road was well ballasted. There
was plenty of power. He saw the Jandel locomotives hurry back and
forth with the local trains and realized that this rival
invention was by no means to be despised.
It was at about this time, too, that Mr. Damon appeared in
Hendrickton. Early one forenoon, when Tom and Ned were preparing
to take the Hercules 0001 out of the yard, and Koku was going to
his lodgings to get a little sleep, Tom's eccentric friend came
across the tracks, waving his cane at Tom.
"Bless my frogs and switch-targets!" he ejaculated, "I've
walked a mile from that station to get here. Where are you going
with that big contraption? How does it work? Does it make all the
speed you want, Tom Swift? Bless my rails and sleepers!'
"We're going about a hundred miles out on the road to a good,
stiff grade," Tom told him, having shaken hands in welcome. "If
you want to, get aboard."
"They haven't blown you up yet, or otherwise wrecked the
locomotive," remarked Mr. Damon, grinning broadly. "I'll have to
write right back to your father--and to a certain young lady who
shows a remarkable interest in your welfare--that you are all
"They should already be sure of that," laughed Tom. "Ned and I
have kept the post-office department and the telegraph company
"They are waiting for my report," announced Mr. Damon, with
confidence. "And I am waiting for yours. Tell me, Tom: Is the
locomotive a success
"It's going to be," declared the inventor, with decision.
"Bless my trolley wires!" cried Mr. Damon, "I am glad to hear
that. Then you will surely pull down the extra hundred thousand
"I believe I shall fulfill every clause of the contract Mr.
Bartholomew and I signed," said Tom.
"Then it's more than a success!" cried his friend. "You have
invented another marvel, Tom Swift!"
"Marvel or not," rejoined Tom, "I believe that the Hercules
Three-Oughts-One will top anything so far built in the way of
"Hurrah!" cried Mr. Damon. "Bless my controller! But your
father and Mary Nestor will be glad to hear that!"
Mr. Damon was quite as much interested in this invention as he
always was in anything the young inventor worked upon. When he
had once seen the Hercules 0001 work on an up-grade he was doubly
enthusiastic. To his sanguine mind the locomotive was already
completed. He could see no possibility of failure.
Tom, however, had to prove to his own satisfaction the success
of every detail of his invention before he was willing to tell
Mr. Bartholomew that he was ready for a public test. Mr. Damon,
nor even Ned, could scarcely see the reason for Tom's caution.
Tom's favorite try-out grade was between Hammon and Cliff City.
He could obtain a right of way order from the train dispatcher on
that grade, sometimes of an hour's duration. He often snaked a
load of gondolas or cattle cars up the grade, relieving both the
puller and pusher steam locomotive. By this time the H. & P. A.
system had stopped using the Jandel machines on any grades. They
had proved their lack of power for such work
"But the Hercules Three-Oughts-One shows at every test that it
has the kick," Mr. Damon cried.
In his enthusiasm he was out every day with Tom and Ned. And
sometimes Koku remained in the cab during the trial runs as well.
On one such occasion Tom had drawn a heavy train over the
mountain, taking it down the grade beyond Cliff City to Panboro
in the farther valley. This was over a newly built stretch of the
electrified road. The power station charged the trolley cables
with an abundance of current, and the Hercules 0001 made a
"Bless my cuff-links!" ejaculated Mr. Damon, his rosy face one
beaming smile. "You couldn't expect to do better than this. You
save one locomotive on the haul, and you beat the schedule ten
minutes, so that you had to lay by to get right of way into the
yard here. Why linger longer, Tom?"
"I agree with Mr. Damon," Ned said. "It seems to work
perfectly. And you have, I believe, established your required
"Can't be too perfect," said the young inventor, smiling. "But
I will tell Mr. Bartholomew when we get back that he can set his
time for the big test whenever he pleases. I have already sent
our patent attorney in Washington the final blueprints. Now, if
"Bless my stickpin!" exclaimed Mr. Damon, "What can happen now
that the locomotive is practically perfect?"
That question was answered in one way, and a most startling
way, within the hour. Tom got right of way back over the mountain
and pushed the electric locomotive up-grade at almost top speed.
He drew no train on this occasion, and the speed made by the
Hercules 0001 was really remarkable.
They topped the rise at Cliff City and got orders from the
dispatcher to proceed on the time of Number Eighty-seven, which
chanced to be late. With that release Tom might have made the
entire distance of a hundred and ten miles to Hendrickton had it
not been for the accident--the unexpected something that so often
happens in the railroad business.
Tom was a careful driver; the chatter of Ned and Mr. Damon did
not take the inventor's mind off his business for one instant. He
was quite alert at his window, looking ahead, as Koku was at the
open doorway of the cab.
Not a mile outside of Cliff City, and on this eastbound side of
the right of way, was a long siding and a shipping point for
timber. It was sometimes a busy point; but at this time of year
there were no lumbermen about and no activities in the adjacent
The Hercules 0001 came spinning along from the Cliff City
yards, and Tom Swift gave scarcely a glance to the joint of the
switch ahead. He had been over it so many times of late, and knew
that it was always locked. The railroad did not even keep a man
here at this season.
Suddenly Koku emitted a wild yell. He startled everybody else
in the cab, as he flung his huge body more than half out of the
doorway and prepared to jump--or so it seemed.
Ned shrieked a warning to the big fellow. Mr. Damon began to
bless everything in sight. But it was Tom, quite as excited as
his friends, who understood what Koku shouted:
"Big Feet! Big Feet! I see um Big Feet, Master!"
The next moment he threw himself from the rapidly moving
locomotive. He might have been killed easily enough. But
fortunately he landed feet first in the drift beside the rails,
and remained upright as he slid down into the ditch.
Tom, glancing ahead again, saw the flash of a man in a checked
Mackinaw running up through the open wood and away from the right
of way. He could not be sure of Andy O'Malley's figure at that
distance; but he could be pretty confident of Koku's
And then, with a shock that gripped and almost paralyzed his
mind, Tom saw again the switch ahead of the pilot of the Hercules
0001. The switch was open, and at the speed the electric
locomotive had attained, if she did not jump the rails, it seemed
scarcely possible that she could be stopped before hitting the
bumper at the end of the siding!
A Desperate Chase
These moments were fraught with peril, and not alone peril to
the huge machine that Tom Swift had built, but peril to those who
remained in the cab of the electric locomotive, as her forward
trucks struck the open switch.
There was a mighty jerk that brought a shout from Ned Newton's
lips and a grunt from Mr. Damon. Tom clung to his swivel-seat,
The pilot of the electric locomotive shot over on the siding;
the forward trucks followed, then the great drivers. The whole
locomotive swerved into the siding, but for several breathless
seconds Tom was not at all sure that the monster would not jump
the rails and head into the ditch!
Meanwhile his gaze measured the speed of that flying figure in
the Mackinaw as it scuttled up the slope through the open grove
of hard wood and pine. He could not at first see Koku, but he
knew the giant was headed for the fugitive, whether the latter
proved to be Andy O'Malley or not.
Tom's gaze flashed to what lay ahead of the electric
locomotive. As it seemed to joggle back into balance, gain its
uprightness, as it were, the inventor saw the great, log-braced
bumper between the two rails at the end of the siding. With what
force would the locomotive hit that obstruction?
Until the trailers were over the switch Tom dared not give her
the brakes. To lock the brake shoes upon the wheels might easily
throw the locomotive off the rails. But the instant he felt the
tail of the long locomotive swerve off the switch he jabbed the
compressed air lever and the wild shriek of the brake shoes
answered to his effort.
Then the bumper was but a few yards ahead. The electric
locomotive was bound to collide with it. And under the speed at
which it had been running, now scarcely reduced by half, the
collision was apt to be a tragic happening!
Weeks of effort might be ruined in that moment! If the crash
was serious, thousands of dollars might be lost! In truth, Tom
Swift apprehended the possibility of a disaster, the complete
results of which might put the test of his invention forward for
weeks--perhaps for months.
Nor could he do a thing to avert the disaster. He had reversed
and set the brakes immediately after the last wheel of the
trailer was on the siding. Nothing more could he do as the great
electric locomotive bore down upon the solid timber at the far
end of this short track.
Those few seconds, as the locked wheels slid toward the end of
the siding, were about as hard to bear as any experience the
young inventor had ever gone through. It was not so much the
peril of the accident, it was the possibility of what might
happen to the locomotive.
Within those few moments, however, Tom considered more than the
safety of his companions and himself, and more than the peril of
wreck to his locomotive. He considered the schedule of the trains
on this division of the Hendrickton & Pas Alos and remembered all
those that might be within this sector at this time.
If the locomotive smashed into the bumper with force enough to
wreck the structure, would some approaching train on the
westbound track not be endangered?
The thought was parent to Tom's act before the collision
occurred. With a single swift motion he reached for the signaling
apparatus which he had established in connection with his
Just the moment before the head of the locomotive rammed that
seemingly immovable barrier at the end of the siding there
flashed into the air from Tom's annunciator the code word agreed
upon announcing a wreck, and the number of the sector on which
the electric locomotive was then running.
The next moment the crash occurred.
Tom had leaped up with a shout of warning. "Hang on!" was his
cry. But when the locomotive had struck and rebounded Ned, from
far down the aisle of the locomotive, wanted to know in a very
peevish tone what he should have hung on to?
"My elbows!" he groaned. "I've skinned 'em, and my back has got
a twist in it like the Irishman thought he had when he put on his
overalls hind-side to. What's happened?"
"Bless my radiolite!" growled Mr. Damon. "My watch crystal is
broken all to finders, if you want to know. Bless my shock-
absorbers! you won't do this locomotive a bit of good, Tom Swift,
if you stop it so abruptly."
"And that's the surest word you ever said" responded Tom,
hurrying to the door. "I don't know what's broken, but we're
still on the rails. The most immediate thing to learn, is the
where-abouts of the fellow who did this."
"Who opened the switch?" cried Ned.
"I believe it was Andy O'Malley. Come on, Ned! Koku is after
him and I don't want him to tear O'Malley apart before I get
"O'Malley has got powerful interests behind him, and it might
go hard with Koku if he injured the spy and some of these
Westerners caught him," suggested Mr. Damon.
"They ought to thank Koku for manhandling the fellow--if he
does," said Ned.
"As a matter of fact," replied Tom, "Koku will merely hold to
the fellow until we get there. But my giant's strength is
enormous, and he does not always know the strength of his grasp.
he might hurt the fellow. Come on," and Tom leaped from the
doorway of the electric locomotive.
Ned leaped down the ladder after his chum.
"Which way did they go?" he asked.
"Across the ditch and up the hill," said Tom. "Mr. Damon!" he
called back to that eccentric man, "will you please remain there
and watch the locomotive?"
"I certainly will. And I'm armed, too," shouted Mr. Damon.
"Don't fear for this locomotive, Tom. I am right on the job."
Tom waved his hand in reply, leaped the ditch, and started up
through the wood. Ned was close behind him, and the two young men
ran as hard as they could in the direction Tom had seen Andy
O'Malley, followed by the giant, running.
In places the earth was slippery with pine needles, and the
ground was elsewhere rough. Therefore the chums did not make much
speed in running after the giant and his quarry. But Tom was sure
of the direction in which the two had disappeared, and he and Ned
kept doggedly on.
They went over the crest of the hill and lost sight of the
siding and the locomotive. Here was a sharp descent into a gulch,
and some rods away, in the bottom of this gully, the young
fellows obtained their first sight of Koku. He was still running
with mighty strides and was evidently within sight of the man he
had set out after in such haste.
"Hey! Koku!" shouted Tom Swift.
The giant's hearing was of the keenest. He glanced back and
raised his arm in greeting. But he did not slacken his pace.
"He must see O'Malley, Tom," cried Ned Newton.
"I am sure he does. And I want to get there about as soon as
Koku grabs the fellow," panted Tom.
"He'll maul O'Malley unmercifully," said Ned.
"I don't want Koku to injure him," admitted Tom, and he
increased his own stride as he plunged down into the gully.
The young inventor distanced his chum within the next few
moments. Tom ran like a deer. He reached the bottom of the gully
and kept on after Koku's crashing footsteps. At every jump, too,
he began to shout to the giant:
"Koku! Hold him!"
The giant's voice boomed back through the heavy timber: "I
catch him! I hold him for Master! I break all um bones! Wait till
Koku catch him!"
"Hold him, Koku!" yelled Tom again. "Be careful and don't hurt
him till I get there!"
He could not see what the giant was doing. The timber was
thicker down here. It might be that the giant would seize the man
roughly. His zeal in Tom's cause was great, and, of course, his
strength was enormous.
Yet Tom did not want to call the giant off the trail. Andy
O'Malley must be captured at this time. He had done enough, too
much, indeed, in attempting the ruin of Tom's plans. Before the
matter went any further the young inventor was determined that
Montagne Lewis' spy should be put where he would be able to do no
But he did not want the man permanently injured. He knew now
that Koku was so wildly excited that he might set upon O'Malley
as he would upon an enemy in his own country.
"Koku! Stop! Wait for me!" Tom finally shouted.
Now the young inventor got no reply from the giant. Had the
latter got so far ahead that he no longer heard his master's
Tom pounded on, working his legs like pistons, putting every
last ounce of energy he possessed into his effort. This was
indeed a desperate chase.
Mr. Damon at Bay
Mr. Wakefield Damon was a very odd and erratic gentleman, but
he did not lack courage. He was much more disturbed by the
possible injury to Tom Swift's invention by this collision with
the bumper at the end of the timber siding than he had been by
his own danger at the time of the accident.
He did not understand enough about the devices Tom had built in
the forward end of the locomotive cab to understand, by any
casual examination, if they were at all injured. But when he
climbed down beside the track he saw at once that the forward end
of the locomotive had received more than a little injury.
The pilot, or cow-catcher, looked more like an iron cobweb than
it did like anything else. The wheels of the forward trucks had
not left the track, but the impact of the heavy locomotive with
the bumper had been so great that the latter was torn from its
foundations. A little more and the electric locomotive would have
shot off the end of the rails into the ditch.
While Mr. Damon was examining the front of the locomotive, and
Tom and Ned remained absent, he suddenly observed a group of men
hurrying out of the forest on the other side of the H. & P. A.
right of way. They were not railroad men--at least, they were not
dressed in uniform--but they were drawn immediately to the
The leader of the party was a squarely built man with a
determined countenance and a heavy mustache much blacker than his
iron gray hair. He was a bullying looking man, and he strode
around the rear of the locomotive and came forward just as though
he was confident of boarding the machine by right.
Mr. Damon, knowing himself in the wilderness and not liking the
appearance of this group of strangers, had retired at once to the
cab, and now stood in the doorway.
"Where's that young fool Swift?" growled the man with the dyed
mustache, looking up at Mr. Damon and laying one hand upon the
rail beside the ladder.
"Don't know any such person," declared Mr. Damon promptly.
"You don't know Tom Swift?" cried the man.
"Oh! That's another matter," said Mr. Damon coolly. "I don't
know any fool named Swift, either young or old. Bless my
blinkers! I should say not."
"Isn't he here?" demanded the man, gruffly.
"Tom Swift isn't here just now--no."
"I'm coming up," announced the stranger, and started to put his
foot on the first rung of the iron ladder.
"You're not," said Mr. Damon, promptly.
"What's that?" ejaculated the man.
"You only think you are coming up here. But you are not. Bless
my fortune telling cards!" ejaculated Mr. Damon, "I should say
At this point the black-mustached man began to splutter words
and threats so fast that nobody could quite understand him. Mr.
Damon, however, did not shrink in the least. He stood adamant in
the doorway of the cab.
Finding little relief in bad language, the enemy made another
attempt to climb up. For one thing, he was physically brave. He
did not call on his companions to go where he feared to.
"I'll show you!" he bawled, and scrambled up the rungs of the
Mr. Damon did show him. He drew from some pocket a black object
with a bulb and a long barrel. Somebody below on the cinder path
"Look out, boss lie's got a gun!"
At that moment the marauder reached out to seize Mr. Damon's
coat. Then the object in Mr. Damon's hand spat a fine spray into
the florid face of the enemy!
"Whoo! Achoo! By gosh!" bawled the big man, and he fell back
screaming other ejaculations.
"Bless my face and eyes!" cried Mr. Damon. "What did I tell
you? And you other fellows want to notice it. Tom Swift isn't
here just at this precise moment; but he is guarding his
locomotive just the same. He invented this ammonia pistol, and I
should say it was effectual. Do you?"
The eccentric man was shrewd enough now to keep behind the jamb
of the cab door. For some of these fellows, he realized, might be
armed with more deadly weapons than his own.
"Hey, Mr. Lewis!" cried one big fellow, "d'you want we should
get that fellow for you?"
"I want to know how badly that blamed thing is smashed,"
replied the big man with the dyed mustache savagely. "Where's
"O'Malley's lit out, Boss, like I told you. That giant and them
other fellows is after him."
"Break into that cab! Oh! My eyes! I'll kill that old fool!
Break a way in there--What's that?"
In pain as he was, his other senses were alert. He was first to
hear the screeching whistle of the on-coming freight.
"Think they got wind of this so quick?" demanded Montagne
Lewis, for it was he. "Are they sending help from Cliff City?"
"It's a regular freight," returned one of his men.
"She's comm' a-whizzin'," added another. "Right down the
eastbound track. If the crew see us--"
"Wait!" commanded Lewis. "Isn't that switch open?"
"You bet it is, Boss."
"Let it be, then," cried the chief plotter. "Let 'em run into
it. That freight will smash up this electric locomotive more
completely than we could possibly do it. Stand away, men, and let
A sharp curve in the right of way hid the siding, as well as
the open switch into it, from the gaze of the engineer who held
the throttle of the coming freight. His locomotive drew a string
of empties, eastbound, and having had a heavy pull of it coming
up the grade to Cliff City, as soon as he had got the highball
from the yardmaster there, he had "let her out," and was now
coming to the head of the down grade to Hammon at high speed.
As it chanced, the wireless receiving station of Tom's new
telephone system was not yet completed at Cliff City. The news of
the wreck of the Hercules 0001 and her position had not been
relayed to the master of the Cliff City yards.
That employee of the H. & P. A. had taken a chance in letting
the string of empties through his block. He knew the electric
locomotive was somewhere ahead, but he thought it would be making
its usual time and would have already passed Half Way.
But the situation was serious. The freight was coming along at
top speed and the switch into the siding was still open. Montagne
Lewis and his crew of ruffians might well stand back and let what
seemed sure to happen, happen! The driving freight must do more
harm to Tom Swift's invention than they could have hoped to do
with the sledges and bars they had brought with them to the spot.
Mr. Wakefield Damon had shown his courage already. He would
have been glad to do more to save Tom's locomotive from further
injury, but he did not realize what was threatening. He did not
hear the shriek of the freight engine's whistle.
Putting the Enemy to Flight
The pilot and headlight of the freight locomotive came around
the turn and the freight thundered on toward the switch. Seeing
the group of men standing by the stalled electric locomotive, and
the locomotive itself in the clear of the siding, the driver of
the freight did not suppose the switch was open. Nobody who was
not a criminal would have stood by idly in such an emergency and
let the freight run into an open switch.
Therefore, for the first minute, the coming engineer did not
observe his danger. Lewis and his gang stared at the head of the
freight and did nothing. They had moved hastily back from the
siding so as to be clear of the wreckage. Mr. Damon was in the
front of the cab of Hercules 0001 and had no idea of the
But of a sudden a loud shout echoed through the wood. Tom Swift
came over the ridge and started toward his invention at top
speed. From that height he saw the freight train coming, he
observed the men standing at the siding, and he recognized
Montagne Lewis, roughly as the railroad magnate was dressed.
Instantly Tom realized what was about to happen--what would
surely occur--and he saw what must be done if the utter wreck of
his locomotive was to be averted. Yelling at the top of his
voice, he leaped down the slope.
"That's Swift!" shouted Lewis. "Stop him!" But the men he had
hired to do his wicked work fell back instead of trying to halt
the young inventor. It was not Tom's appearance that made them
quail. Over the ridge there appeared a second figure--and a more
fearful or threatening apparition none of them had ever before
Koku came running with the limp body of Andy O'Malley slung
over his shoulder like a bag of meal. The fellows knew it was
Andy from his dress.
The giant came down the slope after Tom as though he wore the
seven-league boots. The fellows Lewis had hired to wreck the
electric locomotive shrank back from before both Tom and the
"Get him!" yelled the half blinded Lewis again.
"Get your grandmother!" bawled one of the men suddenly. "Good-
He turned tail and ran, disappearing almost instantly into the
thicker woods. And his mates, after a moment of wavering, sped
after him. Lewis was left alone, quite helpless because of the
As a matter of fact not all of O'Malley's predicament was due
to Koku. The rascal, exhausted by his run and half blind through
fright and rage, had stumbled, fallen, and struck his head on a
root, which rendered him unconscious.
This, of course, Lewis and his ruffians did not know. All the
men of the railroad president's gang saw was the gigantic Koku
coming along in great strides, bearing the unconscious O'Malley,
who was a burly fellow, as though he were a featherweight. No
wonder they fled from such a monster.
Tom had reached the switch, and he was several seconds ahead of
the freight locomotive. The engineer saw the open switch then;
but he was too late to stop his train.
Going into reverse, however, helped some. Tom seized the switch
lever and threw it over, locking it in place, just as the forward
trucks thundered upon the joint. The train swept by in safety,
and the engineer leaned from his cab window to wave a grateful
hand at the young inventor.
Neither the engineer nor the crew of the freight understood the
meaning of the scene at the timber siding. All they learned was
that Tom Swift had saved the freight from a possible wreck.
The young inventor turned sharply from the switch and motioned
with his hand to Koku.
"Throw that fellow into the cab, Koku," he commanded.
The giant did as he was told, just as Ned Newton came panting
to the spot.
"Did they do any harm, Tom?" he cried. Then he saw Montagne
Lewis standing by, and he seized his chum's arm. "Do you see what
I see, Tom?" he demanded, earnestly.
"I guess we both see the same snake," rejoined his chum. "And
I mean to scotch it."
"Montagne Lewis!" murmured Ned. "And we've got his chief tool."
Tom said nothing to his chum, hut he approached Lewis with
"I can see something has happened to you, Mr. Lewis, and I can
guess what it is. The effect of that ammonia will blow away after
a time. Ask your friend, Andy O'Malley. He knows all about it,
for he sampled it back East, in Shopton."
"I'm going to get square for this, young man," growled the
railroad magnate. "You know who I am. And that fellow in the cab
knew me, too. How dared he shoot that stuff into my face and
"I fancy it didn't take much daring on Mr. Damon's part," and
Tom actually chuckled. "A big crook isn't any more important in
our eyes than a little crook. We've got your henchman,
"And you'd better let him go. I'm telling you," snarled Lewis.
"I'll ruin you in this country, Tom Swift. I've got influence--"
"You won't have much after this thing comes out. And believe
me, I mean to spread it abroad. I've got nothing to win or lose
from you, Mr. Lewis. As for O'Malley, I'll put him behind the
bars for a good long term."
"You'll do a lot--"
"More than you think," said Tom. "Koku!" The giant had pitched
O'Malley, who was still senseless, into the cab, and now was
coming up behind Lewis.
"Yes, Master," said the giant.
"Yes, Master," said Koku, and to Lewis' startled amazement, the
next instant he was in the hands of the giant!
He screamed and threatened, and even kicked, to no avail. When
he was pitched into the electric locomotive he was held under the
threat of Mr. Damon's ammonia pistol until Tom and Ned and the
giant entered and the door was shut. Then Koku proceeded to tie
both the prisoners by wrist and ankle while the others examined
the mechanism of the Hercules 0001.
The pantagraph had been torn off the trolley wires when the
locomotive had gone on the siding. But now Tom climbed to the
roof of the locomotive, and with Koku's aid managed to set the
rear pantagraph at such an angle that its wheels caught the
trolley cables again, and once more the current was pumped into
the Hercules 0001.
Tom tried out the several parts of the mechanism and found
that, despite the jar of the collision, nothing was really
"I built this thing to withstand hard usage," he declared with
pride. "The Swift Hercules Electric Locomotives will not be built
for parlor ornaments. She is going to run into Hendrickton under
her own power, in spite of a smashed cows catcher and target
"Is nothing really injured, Tom?" asked Mr, Damon. "Bless my
dinner set! I thought everything had gone to smash when she hit
"She will be as good as new in a week," declared Tom, with
This prophecy of the young inventor proved to be true. A week
from that day the public test of the electric locomotive on the
Hendrickton & Pas Alos Railroad was held. A picked delegation of
railroad men was present to observe and marvel, with Mr.
Bartholomew; but Montagne Lewis, the president of the H. & W.,
was not one of those who attended.
Of course, Lewis soon got out of jail on bail. But the
accusation against him was a serious one. His guilt would be
proved by his own employee, Andy O'Malley, who was in a hospital
for the time being.
O'Malley had got enough. He had turned State's evidence and
implicated his employer. Influential and wealthy as Lewis was,
he could not escape trial with O'Malley when the time came.
"One thing sure, Lewis has got all he wants. He isn't likely to
try any more crooked work against the H. & P. A.," Mr.
Bartholomew said. "I can thank you for that, Torn. Swift, as well
as for your invention. You have saved the day for my railroad."
"You can thank Koku," chuckled Tom. "If he hadn't spied and
identified 'Big Feet,' we might not have caught O'Malley, and,
through O'Malley, implicated Montagne Lewis. You give Koku a new
suit of clothes, Mr. Bartholomew, and we will call it square. But
be sure and have the pattern of the goods loud enough."
This conversation took place while the party of guests was
gathering to board Mr. Bartholomew's private car, attached to the
Hercules 0001. Mr. Damon was one of the guests and so was Ned
Newton. Tom took into the cab a crew of H. & P. A. men who would
hereafter drive the huge locomotive and take care of her.
The semaphore signal dropped and the electric locomotive
started as quietly as a baby going to sleep! There was not a jar
as the train moved off the siding and over the switches to the
The dispatcher had arranged a clear road for them. Tom knew
that he had a free track ahead of him--a level of ninety-odd
miles to the Hammon yards. As he passed the Hendrickton shops he
touched the siren lever for a moment, and the shrill voice of the
Hercules 0001 bade the town good-bye.
The next minute the visitors in the private car grabbed out
their split-second watches and began to murmur. The electric
locomotive had begun to travel!
Speed and Success
"What town is that?"
"Looks like a splotch of paint on a board fence, we went by so
"I've lost count, Bartholomew. Where are we?"
Ned Newton listened to these comments from the visiting
railroad men with delight. In reply to a question of his
neighbor, the grinning financial manager of the Swift
Construction Company paid:
"No, sir. That isn't a picket fence. It's the telegraph poles
you see, and they are no nearer together than on another
railroad. But we're going some."
"Bless my railroad stock!" shouted Mr. Damon, "I should say we
The electric, locomotive and the private car were hurled toward
the Pas Alos Range at a speed that almost frightened some of the
"Three-quarters of an hour!" gasped one man as they began to
see the outskirts of Hammon. "And ninety-six miles? Great Scott,
Bartholomew! that's over two miles a minute!"
"That is the speed we set out to get," Mr. Richard Bartholomew
said, with quite as much pride as though he had done it all
But it had been his suggestion and his money that had
accomplished this wonder. Tom Swift was willing to give the
railroad president his share of the fame.
The train scarcely slackened speed at Hammon, for Tom got the
signal announcing a clear track ahead, and he bucked the grade
with all the power he could get from the feed wires. This hill,
so well known to him now, was surmounted at a slightly decreased
speed; but it was a wonderful display of power after all.
They went down the other side to Panboro and there linked up
with an eastbound freight that the Hercules 0001 snatched over
the mountain to Hammon at a pace slightly exceeding forty-five
miles an hour--at least twice the speed that any two oil-burning
locomotives could attain. As for the Jandels, they were not in
the same class at all with Tom Swift's locomotive!
"Bless my speedometer!" exclaimed Mr. Damon, when the train
pulled down and stopped again at the Hendrickton terminal. "This
is the greatest test of speed and power I ever heard of. Why, a
coal burner or an oil burner isn't in it with this Hercules
locomotive! What do you say, Mr. Bartholomew?"
"I'll say I am satisfied--completely and thoroughly satisfied,
Mr. Damon," said the president of the Hendrickton & Pas Alos
Railroad frankly. "Mr. Swift has fulfilled his contract in every
An hour later the young inventor and his two friends were in
conference with Mr. Bartholomew over a new contract. The bonus of
a hundred thousand dollars would be paid at once to the Swift
Construction Company. But as the elder Swift's name would be
needed on the new contract for the building of other Hercules
locomotives, Tom had an idea.
"We won't send the papers East for father to sign," he said. "I
want him to see the locomotive in real action. And I know where
he can borrow a private car and come out here in comfort. Rad can
come with him."
"Bless my valentines!" ejaculated Mr. Damon, "I bet somebody
else will come too."
Mr. Damon must have been a prophet, for a fortnight later, when
the borrowed car got in to the Hendrickton terminal at the tail
of the transcontinental flyer, Tom Swift saw first of all Mary
Nestor's rosy face on the platform of the car.
"Tom! are you all right?" she cried, beaming down upon the
"No. Half of me is left," he said, grinning up at her. "You
look great, Mary!"
"Do you think so?" she cried, dimpling. "Well, if anybody
should ask you, Mr. Tom Swift, you look very good to me."
"Don't make me swell all up, Mary," he laughed. "How's father?"
"Splendid! And Rad--"
"Eradicate Sampson is sho' 'nough puffectly all right," broke
in the voice of the old colored man, eager to make himself heard
and seen. "Here I is, Massa Tom. What dat lizard doin' here?
Ain't he a sight?"
The old man had caught sight of Koku in the wonderful new suit
Mr. Bartholomew had ordered made for the giant. A Navajo blanket
had nothing on that suit for a mixture of colors, and Koku
strutted like a turkey-gobbler.
"My lawsy!" gasped Rad again, "he's as purty as a sunset. Is
dat de way de tailors out here build a man up? Sure's yo live,
Massa Tom, I needs a new suit of clo'es myself."
And before he got away from Hendrickton, Rad Sampson sported a
suit off the same piece of goods as that of Koku's. Otherwise
there might have been a lasting feud between the giant and the
Swift's ancient serving man.
Mr. Barton Swift had stood the easy journey in the private car
very well. Before he would sign the contract that Mr. Bartholomew
offered, he wished to see for himself just how good his son's
They made another test from Hendrickton to Panboro, over the
"official route," as Ned called it. The time made by Hercules
0001 was even a little better than before.
That the invention was well nigh perfect, and that it could do
even more than Mr. Bartholomew had hoped or Tom had claimed, was
Mr. Swift's conviction.
"Tom," he said to his son, "you have done a wonderful thing.
Not only have you completed a marvelous invention and gained
thereby a lot of money, and more in prospect, but you have aided
in the world's progress to no small degree.
"Speed in transportation is the big problem before the world of
commerce today. To move goods from point to point safely and
cheaply, as well as rapidly, is the great task of this age. We
are entering the Age of Speed. The railroads must solve the
problem to compete with motor-truck traffic and fast boats on the
lakes and rivers of our land.
"You have, by your invention, shoved the clock of progress
forward. I am proud of you, my boy. I know now that, no matter
what may happen to me, you will make an enviable mark in the
world of invention.
"You have done much before for the Government in time of
stress. But war engines of any kind are not worthy examples of
inventive genius beside such a thing as this.
"It is the inventions of peace, rather than those of war, that
stand for human progress."
Coming back over the mountain, Mary Nestor rode in the cab with
Tom. She sat on the swivel stool, in fact, and handled the
controls for part of the way. But she gave up the driver's place
to Tom before they reached the timber siding east of Cliff City.
"I cannot go by that place without a shudder," Mary said to the
inventor. "Ned and Mr. Damon told me all about that accident.
Suppose you had been killed, Tom!"
"I see I'll have to build an invention that will make that
impossible," chuckled the young fellow. "Make what impossible?"
"Some invention that will make it positively certain that no
matter what I do or where I go, nothing can harm me. Nothing else
will suit you, Mary, I plainly see."
"Well," returned the girl, smiling fondly at him. "I admit that
would satisfy me completely!"
This Isn't ALL!
Would you like to know what became of the good friends you have
made in this book?
Would you like to read other stories continuing their
adventures and experiences, or other books quite as entertaining
by the same author?
On the reverse side of the wrapper which comes with this book,
you will find a wonderful list of stories which you can buy at
the same store where you got this book.
Don't throw away the Wrapper
Use it as a handy catalog of the books you want some day to have.
But in case you do mislay it, write to the Publishers for a
THE TOM SWIFT SERIES
By VICTOR APPLETON
Uniform Style of Binding. Individual Colored Wrappers.
Every Volume Complete in Itself.
Every boy possesses some form of inventive genius. Tom Swift is
a bright, ingenious boy and his inventions and adventures make
the most interesting kind of reading.
TOM SWIFT AND HIS MOTOR CYCLE
TOM SWIFT AND HIS MOTOR BOAT
TOM SWIFT AND HIS AIRSHIP
TOM SWIFT AND HIS SUBMARINE BOAT
TOM SWIFT AND HIS ELECTRIC RUNABOUT
TOM SWIFT AND HIS WIRELESS MESSAGE
TOM SWIFT AMONG THE DIAMOND MAKERS
TOM SWIFT IN THE CAVES OF ICE
TOM SWIFT AND HIS SKY RACER
TOM SWIFT AND HIS ELECTRIC RIFLE
TOM SWIFT IN THE CITY OF GOLD
TOM SWIFT AND HIS AIR GLIDER
TOM SWIFT IN CAPTIVITY
TOM SWIFT AND HIS WIZARD CAMERA
TOM SWIFT AND HIS GREAT SEARCHLIGHT
TOM SWIFT AND HIS GIANT CANNON
TOM SWIFT AND HIS PHOTO TELEPHONE
TOM SWIFT AND HIS AERIAL WARSHIP
TOM SWIFT AND HIS BIG TUNNEL
TOM SWIFT IN THE LAND OF WONDERS
TOM SWIFT AND HIS WAR TANK
TOM SWIFT AND HIS AIR SCOUT
TOM SWIFT AND HIS UNDERSEA SEARCH
TOM SWIFT AMONG THE FIRE FIGHTERS
TOM SWIFT AND HIS ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVE
TOM SWIFT AND HIS FLYING BOAT
TOM SWIFT AND HIS GREAT OIL GUSHER
TOM SWIFT AND HIS CHEST OF SECRETS
TOM SWIFT AND HIS AIRLINE EXPRESS
THE DON STURDY SERIES
By VICTOR APPLETON
Individual Colored Wrappers and Text illustrations by
WALTER S. ROGERS
Every Volume Complete in Itself
In company with his uncles, one a mighty hunter and the other a
noted scientist, Don Sturdy travels far and wide, gaining much
useful knowledge and meeting many thrilling adventures.
DON STURDY ON THE DESERT OF MYSTERY;
Or, Autoing in the Land of the Caravans.
An engrossing tale of the Sahara Desert, of encounters with
wild animals and crafty Arabs.
DON STURDY WITH THE BIG SNAKE HUNTERS;
Or, Lost in the Jungles of the Amazon.
Don's uncle, the hunter, took an order for some of the biggest
snakes to be found in South America--to be delivered alive! The
filling of that order brought keen excitement to the boy.
DON STURDY IN THE TOMBS OF GOLD;
Or, The Old Egyptian's Great Secret.
A fascinating tale of exploration and adventure in the Valley
of Kings in Egypt. Once the whole party became lost in the maze
of cavelike tombs far underground.
DON STURDY ACROSS THE NORTH POLE;
Or, Cast Away in the Land of Ice.
Don and his uncles joined an expedition bound by air across the
north pole. A great polar blizzard nearly wrecks the airship.
DON STURDY IN THE LAND OF VOLCANOES;
Or, The Trail of the Ten Thousand Smokes.
An absorbing tale of adventures among the volcanoes of Alaska
in a territory but recently explored. A story that will make Don
dearer to his readers than ever.
THE RADIO BOYS SERIES
By ALLEN CHAPMAN
Author of the "Railroad Series," Etc.
Individual Colored Wrappers. Illustrated.
Every Volume Complete in Itself.
A new series for boys giving full details of radio work, both
in sending and receiving--telling how small and large amateur
sets can be made and operated, and how some boys got a lot of fun
and adventure out of what they did. Each volume from first to
last is so thoroughly fascinating, so strictly up-to-date and
accurate, we feel sure all lads will peruse them with great
Each volume has a Foreword by Jack Binns, the well-known radio
THE RADIO BOYS' FIRST WIRELESS;
Or, Winning the Ferberton Prize.
THE RADIO BOYS AT OCEAN POINT;
Or, The Messsage That Saved the Ship.
THE RADIO BOYS AT THE SENDING STATION;
Or, Making Good in the Wireless Room.
THE RADIO BOYS AT MOUNTAIN PASS;
Or, The Midnight Call for Assistance.
THE RADIO BOYS TRAILING A VOICE;
Or, Solving a Wireless Mystery.
THE RADIO BOYS WITH THE FOREST RANGERS;
Or, The Great Fire on Spruce Mountain.
THE RADIO BOYS WITH THE ICEBERG PATROL;
Or, Making Safe the Ocean Lanes.
RADIO BOYS WITH THE FLOOD FIGHTERS;
Or, Saving the City in the Valley.
THE RAILROAD SERIES
By ALLEN CHAPMAN
Author of the "Radio Boys," Etc.
Uniform Style of Binding. Illustrated.
Every Volume Complete in Itself.
In this line of books there is revealed the whole workings of a
great American railroad system. There are adventures in
abundance--railroad wrecks, dashes through forest fires, the
pursuit of a "wildcat" locomotive, the disappearance of a pay car
with a large sum of money on board--but there is much more than
this--the intense rivalry among railroads and railroad men, the
working out of running schedules, the getting through "on time"
in spite of all obstacles, and the manipulation of railroad
securities by evil men who wish to rule or ruin.
RALPH OF THE ROUND HOUSE;
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.
RALPH, THE TRAIN DISPATCHER;
Or, the Mystery of the Pay Car.
RALPH ON THE ARMY TRAIN;
Or, The Young Railroader's Most Daring Exploit.
RALPH ON THE MIDNIGHT FLYER;
Or, The Wreck at Shadow Valley.
RALPH AND THE MISSING MAIL POUCH;
Or, The Stolen Government Bonds.
THE RIDDLE CLUB BOOKS
By ALICE DALE HARDY
Individual Colored Wrappers. Attractively Illustrated.
Every Volume Complete in Itself.