I love trains. Always have.
When just a young lad of six or seven, our family lived just up the hill from Cincinnati's Mill Creek Expressway. Next to it ran an old railroad. I used to cross the footbridge over that expressway with my mom, when we went from our home in Edgemont over to the Carthage Fairgrounds. I remember those old steam-belching locomotives, moving slowly up and down the tracks as they loaded and unloaded cargo at the De-Kuyper Cordials plant. My Aunt Wanda and my Aunt Myrtle used to work at that plant. But that was a long, long time ago.
Cut to the present ... Above is a picture I took last June ('05) at the Manassas Train Station, as Amtrak # 157 was pulling in. This train runs every day from New York City, NY to Atlanta, GA. It usually rolls into town around 7:30-8:15. Sometimes I go up there and watch people getting off and on the train. It's fun, and sometimes you meet very interesting people. Click on the picture for a larger image.
When I was in highschool and we lived in Berea, Ohio
, just outside of Cleveland, my best buddy and I would sometimes walk home from school after track practice (I ran hurdles). To shave about a half mile off of our walk, we cut across the rail yard. There were probably ten or twelve tracks running through there, and we saw all kinds of locomotives, both steam and diesel. Often, long, stationary trains blocked our way and we had to climb across the train couplings to get through.
Here's a picture of an old Norfolk Southern diesel coming up on a grade crossing. Oh wait ... that's not real ... it's a pic from an HO layout at the annual Manassas Railway Festival
! Look at those goofy plastic cows. Click to enlarge.
I love model railroading, too. I used to have a halfway decent HO layout that I built when we lived in Fairfax back in the early '80's. It had switches and lights, and buildings--a few anyway. It was mounted on a big 4' x 8' sheet of fiberboard. Later, after we moved to Manassas, I sometimes set up a smaller version of that same layout around the family Christmas tree. I did this for several years.
I told Sally it was for the girls, but we all knew better.