My family grew up with the railroad in our blood it would seem. My dad was a yardsman, my step-father an engineer. In 2015 while visiting my oldest daughter in Markham Ontario we stopped downtown to view old locomotives.
They still thrill me, as I remember being in the engine sitting of the laps of men pushing cars around in the yard. That was long before the age of tightened security and risk management.
The old shanty were Dad worked was torn down years ago, and the yard is mostly desolate these days as the lines are slowly shutting down. As for the local commuter train, you have to be an early riser as it leaves once a day at 6:15 am, and returns late in the evening at 10:30 pm.
After Dad passed, Mom and I traveled by rail across the western provinces a couple of different times. I got to witness the Rockies from the inside, watched summer storms flash across the prairies from a car with a glass roof, and looked down into vast waters with nothing holding us up but a wooden bridge. It was all astonishing.
I’m glad to have the good fortune to do all that traveling as a kid. seems most people just want to do everything quicker, and bring along all sorts of distractions. Traveling by rail is slow, but it takes you on such an adventure just by watching out a window.
As I looked into the red window I could feel the ghost of the engineer leaning out into the fresh air, watching the rails ahead and I thought to myself, “I wonder what he saw all those years while traveling the iron?”