Monday, September 17, 2007


Heritage Park had a great train display as well as a steam locomotive that ran around the park. Toby and I did not ride the train, but I did take a few pics of it. The first thing that we wanted to see (after we ate at the Dairy Barn) was the round house and turn table. Inside the round house there were several engines, a snow plow, and a caboose. The snow plow was huge - I guess it would have to be to break through snow along the Trans Canadian railway. Toby and I went through each engine like kids. I snapped this photo of the caboose about the time Toby stuck his head out - silly boy. The Park also had a collection of train cars from Canada. All were Victorian Era beautiful train cars. I say "Victorian Era" but actually the trains were early 20th century trains. The wood interiors were incredible. They had a summer car with wicker seats. They had a car that had been built for a special trip across Canada by English royalty and later used for other dignitaries. There was also train cars for the common folk - the seats were wooden rather than padded. Some cars had fancy sleepers with individual bathrooms - other had sleepers that folded out over the seats like the overhead compartments on today's planes, but much larger, and a bathroom at one end of the car that was much like an out-house. Toby and I went through each care in awe, read through the info and plaques and had a great time. What is it about trains that are just so fascinating.


the friendly neighborhood piper said...

its the iconic nostalgia of Americana...they're just freaking cool. On that note...the other day i'm in the kitchen fixing some lunch for us, the day was beautiful so i had the house open. I heard this odd sound. At first i thought it might be my cell on vibrate, i checked The odd sound occurred again, this time louder, and more mysterious, i thought, "Is that bull pissed off at something out there?" So i walked to the back door and looked out into the pasture expecting to see that big angus rolling something big into a small ball...nothing...then it came again...much louder and much more distinct. "WHAT IN THE...? That's a TRAIN!"

The RRX is about a 1/4 mile out our backdoor, when the trees thin in the fall and winter you can catch a glimpse of it, but now the view is still obscured so i couldn't actually see it. Apparently, there was a vintage train that came through town the other day and was giving rides. I knew nothing about it so it was a total surprise. It was so odd to hear that old whistle blow, and yet, when i figured out what it was i wanted to hear it again and listened until i couldn't hear it anymore. Nostalgia...Americana... it made me wonder how many thousands had heard that same sound from their homesteads for the first time and wondered
"What the...?"

They're just so dang cool.

Buck Pennington said...

Great story, TFNP. Since I'm "of a certain age," trains...and even steam trains... are indelibly etched in my memory. And being of a certain age, I also have had the distinct pleasure of riding as a paying passenger on a steam an adult. It was overseas (Japan - in the Japanese boondocks of Hokkaido) and quite some time ago (1968), but it happened. In the summer, windows open, cinders flying in the windows, and smoke, too, when we went through tunnels, and all that. That experience beat the hell out of riding on those antiseptic (yet still pretty cool and blindingly fast) Bullet Trains.

Lou...did you ever ride the Cumbres and Toltec? I was going to do it a few years back but balked at the fare. It just seemed too danged pricey for what you got...

Great pics!

Anonymous said...

Jesse called and told us about the steam-engined train coming to Duncan. It was supposed to come at 11:30. Sara called me and said it was running late, it would be 12:30. “That’s even better”, I thought. “Now, I can see the train and not miss work.” So Sara brought Lizzie and we went to see it. There were all sorts of people downtown ready to see it. Some civic group was grilling hamburgers. A Who’s Who of Duncan’s finest was on display. We saw several friends and their kids all waiting on the train. They even had the streets blocked off around the downtown area and cops everywhere to keep people off the tracks. So, while we’re all there waiting on the train, I started thinking about the old Guy Clark song.

Trains are big and black and smokin', louder'n July four,
but everybody's actin' like this might be somethin' more. . .

. . .than just pickin' up the mail, or the soldiers from the war.
This is somethin' that even old man Wileman never seen before.

And it's late afternoon on a hot Texas day.
somethin' strange is goin' on, and we's all in the way.

Well there's fifty or sixty people they're just sittin' on their cars,
and the old men left their dominos and they come down from the bars.

Everybody's checkin', old Jack Kittrel check his watch,
and us kids put our ears to the rails to hear 'em pop.

So we already knowed it, when they finally said 'train time'
you'd a-thought that Jesus Christ his-self was rollin' down the line.

'Cause things got real quiet, momma jerked me back,
But not before I'd got the chance to lay a nickel on the track.

Look out here she comes, she's comin',
Look out there she goes, she's gone,
screamin' straight through Texas
like a mad dog cyclone.

Big, red, and silver,
she don't make no smoke,
she's a fast-rollin' streamline
come to show the folks.

Look out here she comes, she's comin'
Look out there she goes, she's gone,
screamin' straight through Texas
like a mad dog cyclone.

. . .Lord, she never even stopped.

The song really summed it up, except we were waiting on a steam-engined train instead of the usual diesel train. And just like the song, the train didn’t even stop. In fact, it wasn’t even the steam-engined train that came through, but a regular, old freight train coming the opposite way. A few minutes after the freight train came through, word spread that the steam-engined train had to stop in Rush Springs to let the freight train by and that it would be a couple of hours before it finally arrived in Duncan. The kids were unperturbed, though. They got to see a train and it was loud! That was all that mattered to them.


the friendly neighborhood piper said...

SEE!!! Both Uncle Buck and Bo have NAILED it! Uncle Buck with his 1st person imagery and Bo with that COOL song, man you can almost feel the train coming!

Bag Blog said...

Thanks for the song, Bo. I was thinking the same song. Guy Clark caught the feeling and excitement of train fever.

Back in Electra, TX, the whole second grade class rode the train to Wichita Falls and then toured the Coca-Cola plant. That would have been about 1966. I don't remember much about the train ride other than being excited. I do remember getting a free Coke and a tiny souviener Coke bottle. About that same time, my mom and little brother, Pete, rode the train from Dallas to Electra where my Dad, Craig, and I waited to pick them up at the station. The Guy Clark song really comes to mind here - Dad said the train was coming so fast he didn't think it was going to stop and let Mom and Pete off.

Shelly said...

Trains, Trains and more trains,
Between you and Buck I want to go on a train ride... Great pictures..