santa cruz wharf

08 October 2007

Manic Monday ~ tracks

Wheels on the tracks. The rhythmic sound and vibrating motion combined are comforting to me. The train is familiar from my earliest childhood, riding on a railway is second nature. It is incredulous to realize so many people have never ridden on a real train. (The Disney one doesn’t really count ya know?)

Until I was five we traveled by train all the time….from upstate New York to New Jersey to visit my grandparents…or to New York City for all kinds of reasons. My first pet was a cat named Chessie after the railway cat of the Chesapeake Railroad logo.

My Grampa Clair (for whom I am named) was a railroad man. As a fairly young boy, instead of going to school, he worked as a Mud-Hop or Mud-Boy, counting the freight cars in the station yards. A railroad makes its revenue by hauling freight. Back in the day the Mud-Boy would walk the length of each train up and down every track (in the mud) recording each car’s identifying numbers. This listing was a permanent record of all arriving and departing trains, used as the billing records.

As VP of International Freight for Norfolk and Western he worked in New York City commuting from New Jersey each day. When visiting I would go with my Grandma to the train station to pick him up, “hiding” in the back seat. I would wait until I could no longer feel the train tracks underneath the car…and then jump up and yell “Surprise Grandpa!!!” He was always SOOOO surprised to see me. (smile)
Not so many people in California travel by train. When my daughter was little we would take the train from Los Angeles to Santa Cruz. A five hour drive became an eight hour ride. But the observation car, a couple good books, and the dining car with a full bar made it quite an enjoyable trip. These days I take the train to the airport. I would take the train to visit my daughter at college in Davis and for the last two years while she lived in San Francisco.

I always thought it would be great fun to take the train on a three or four day excursion…to Seattle or Denver…someplace like that. The newer sleeper cars are quite something.

I’m not thinking of the old fashion “Some Like it Hot” sleeper cars:

More like the American Orient Express…for a day or two…

Most people when reminded of the movie “Risky Business” immediately think of the half naked dance to Segar’s “Old Time Rock n Roll”

Not me. MY favorite scene was the one towards the end...when they went for a ride… on the train tracks.

More Manic Monday Minions can be found at Mo's World. The terrific MM logo was created by Janna...she is amazingly creative. Only the CalTrain picture is mine. The eagle/track photo was taken by Phil in Salinas. (edited by me.and used with his perfmission) The Chessie and Norfolk Western logos came from the respective railway websites. The Amtrak Observation car from wikipedia, Some Like It Hot from, and the American Orient Express from their website.


ian said...

I like riding on trains. If you ever do come out here, there are two you absolutely need to take: the Pikes Peak Cog Railway and the Durango-Silverton Loop.


Mel said...



We have a slight passion for trains in this house.
Little ones, big ones, quiet ones, noisy ones.......

The whole basement ('cept for the laundry room, of course)....

*chug chug, clickety clack, woooo woooooo!*


Hammer said...

I love trains and have been to some great train museums but I've never actually been on one that was moving.

If you ever make it to galveston Texas there is a old train station there which they just parked old trains when they were no longer needed. It's facinating to tour the old pullman cars and the sleepers from the 1950's.

Bond said...

Living in the NY metro area, I took the train for years into NYC, but have an urge to do a long train trip somewhere - runs to Amtrak website to see if I can get to you from Memphis...or vice versa...

C'mon, you KNOW you want to see me live!


Marilyn said...

I'm one of those that's never been on a train... the ones Ian mentions are supposed to be very nice, but somehow when it comes down to vacation time and the choice between sitting in a train and watching the scenery or walking through it on my own two feet... I choose to go backpacking. I tell myself there's plenty of time to sit on trains when I'm old and my hips go out. But everybody already knows I'm weird.

Odat said...

I take the train every day to work...but I've got lots of memories of traveling to the shore when I was little with my family..nice memeories too!

katherine. said...

Ian: you've got mail (and a new hairdo!)

mel: no "slight" passions!

Hammer: I would love to tour those old cars. I need to start making a list of these places people mention.

Bond: knoxville is about as close as I get.

marilyn: take the train TO the backpacking destination!

Odat: I wonder if more people commute via train in places where the weather is harsher?

Travis said...

I've wanted to do take a train trip for the longest time.

Whaddaya mean the Disney train doesn't count???? Does a dinner train count?

crazy working mom said...

Way cool! :)

Love this post.

the teach said...

Thanks for those pictures of a trip by rail. I've never done this but it looks wonderful!

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