Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Quietly Ironic

My ex-husband loves trains, both the model and the life-size. For years, one of our family hobbies was to hop in the car and drive somewhere to watch trains. Carole grew up knowing trains and train museums. In the photo to the right, she's 4 years-old and we were at the Illinois Railway Museum outside of Union, Illinois. She probably logged more miles by train before she was 10 than a lot of kids log in a lifetime.

Our house was doubly attractive to us because we are within 4 blocks of the Metra west commuter line out of Chicago. Watching trains was as easy as walking down to the station.

A few of my ex's friends were also train buffs. While we couldn't afford to do it, some of them would take a train trip every year. We would go locally and then listen to the stories and look at the photos of the wide ranging trips our friends had taken. They'd talk about special excursions in special locations. Railroad mergers were followed fanatically. Maps without railroads were never purchased. We had to know where we could go that was adjacent to a railroad for the photographic opportunities.

The directions to Hidden Acres Farm where David's parents live included the note, "Left turn. Go up and over the train tracks. Watch for trains." That was interesting. Then we got there and it's not just train tracks but a main line.

Look to the right...

then look to the left.

We heard trains occasionally throughout the days we were at the farm. It was interesting, even for someone like me who has listened to them for nearly 30 years. 

One comment David made struck me. Responding to someone's comment about the train whistle we could hear, he said you really did need to watch because Amtrak would go by at around 70 mph. "This is the longest straight stretch of track east of the Appalachian Mountains, about 10 miles of straight track, so they go fast here." 

I remember hearing about that once, in a discussion of why some Amtrak cars, used in the west, can't be used in the east. There was more to the discussion but I remember the comment about the lack of straight track. 

I rarely photograph trains anymore and spend even less time contemplating them. After we put up the balloons, I took a moment to cast my gaze up and down the tracks. It seemed very ironic that although I had walked away from that hobby some years ago, here it was. 

Beverage:  Edinburgh's Finest tea


No comments:

Post a Comment