This time, it wasn't JUST for the cameras. With his assistant carefully watching the alignment, Nevada Northern's Wreckmaster signals his crane operator to slowly lower a derailed hopper back onto the track. Generally speaking, the annual demonstrations of the line's 100-ton Steam Wrecking Crane A are totally staged events. During the first February photo shoot however, the action was quite real. On the Thursday prior to the shoot, NN Locomotive 204 was making up a photo train, when one of the hoppers hit an ice jam and ended up with one of its trucks straddling one of the rails. A crew from the museum using a front end loader struggled unsuccessfully for a couple of hours to rerail it, but had to give up when darkness fell. The next day, they brought in a gang of inmates from a local prison to help, but the hopper remained mired in the snow. Finally, museum officials elected to halt the effort and wait for the steam crane, which was scheduled for demonstration the following day. After steaming up the crane's boiler, the museum's RS-3 #109 hauled the big hook and her tool car alongside the derailed hopper on a parallel track. After extending and blocking the outriggers, the crane swung into position over the hopper. The crew secured the axles to the car's frame with chains and installed the lifting cable around the coupler. With a deft touch, the crane operator then lifted the derailed end of the car, swung it over the rails and lowered it into place. This photo catches the wheels just above the railhead. It took about 20 minutes to set the crane up, and less than 5 more to get the job done. If you've ever thought about doing one of the NN's Winter Photo Shoots, here's another reason to go. The Big Hook is a real treasure and a real pleasure to watch!