In my little hometown of Kingsville, Texas, the main railroad track ran through the center of town next to the main north-south highway, splitting the town into east and west.
A huge Missouri Pacific Railroad freight yard was at the south end of town, so when long freight trains were being put together, they could block downtown intersections for thirty or more minutes.
Seems it always occurred when one was in a hurry to get to the other side of town for something.
Since my granddad and dad worked for Missouri Pacific, I learned how to have a little fun watching long freight trains, and I’m going to teach you the same thing today.
Each freight car, regardless of what type it is — box car, flat car, tanker car, etc. — usually has at least one date on the car, telling you when the car was new, built, rebuilt, and sometimes even painted:
The date could be just about anywhere on the car depending on the builder, the rebuilder, or the painter. The next time you and the kids are stopped at some railroad tracks waiting for a long freight train to go by, have some fun! See who can find the oldest car on the tracks.
Of course, I have to leave you with a video from my train chasing this past week with Bryan and Liz Flint. Liz is a long-time blogging buddy that I first met online in 2008. This is a 29-second video of a northbound Amtrak Pacific Surfliner just north of the Old Town Transit Station and passing over the San Diego River.
P.S. If you’re waiting for a passenger train to go by, well darn it, wave at the people on the train. There will be someone like me on the train who will wave back!
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