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Engine Stopped In Front Of Me

Barry recalls the days when life was less complicated and writes:

I was a boy, about 5 years old at the time. We lived on a farm, with a railroad and a river running through it. Needless to say, our parents were always worried we (brother and sisters) were either going to drown or get run over by a train. For myself, they thought I was going to be run over by a train, as I was seen always sitting on a fence post, waiting for the trains to go by.

It was the 1950’s, and so there was still steam engines running down our railroad line. The engineers had gotten to know me well as I was always sitting the fence, waiting for them to come by. We would always wave to each other, and say hi!

On this particular day, they slowed down sooner than usual and stopped the engine right in front of me. The engineer came over to talk to me. He asked if I would like to ride up in the engine with him and his assistant. I said, “yes” and raced to the engine. I watched as he backed the train on to a siding and disconnected it. He then put the engine back on the main track and backed it up to the water tower, where he proceeded to fill the boilers full of water. This was about a fifteen minute job, so we talked as we waited. We then hooked on to the cars on the siding and then proceeded out of town.

What a thrill to be able to blow the horn as we left the town. We got back to the point where he picked me up and that is where he dropped me off.

I continued to come back to this fence post everyday to watch the train go by and wave at them, but it was with an exhilarating experience and with a profound love for trains and what goes with it. I was very fortunate to experience a steam locomotive as a year or two after that, it was replaced by diesel locomotives. Also, in today’s climate of distrust and pedophiles, this would never happen where a engineer stop and give you a ride on a engine.

I was very fortunate to have an experience like this. It never transformed to a career, but it helped developed an interest in model railroading. What a great memory to carry for the rest of my lifetime.

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