Out & About—Who knew pollution could be so beautiful?

Out & About The World

Missouri Pacific LinesMy dad and granddad both worked for the Missouri Pacific Railroad in Texas. Both were Road Foreman of Engines, which means that if an engine was having problems, they would go fix it, regardless of where it was and what hour of the day. Sometimes that meant them getting up in the middle of the night and driving sixty miles to fix an engine that had stalled or broken down somewhere.

My dad committed suicide in the railroad yard northeast of Palestine, Texas. When they found his body, its condition caused the authorities to estimate that he had been dead for three days. Since they found him on January 18, 1961, that would mean that he killed himself on January 15, which is my oldest brother’s birthday. I guess he had such a love of trains that he couldn’t think of any place better to kill himself…. as if there is a good place for that specific task?

When my wise old grandmother adopted me, my granddad actually lived and worked in Taylor, Texas, about 250 miles away. He would come home to Kingsville every Friday, arriving around 10:00 p.m., to spend the weekend with us. It was a joy when he was in town because I often got to ride the trains with him from Kingsville to Bishop, a 10-mile round trip. He originally had worked in the Kingsville repair shops before they closed so he still had lots of contacts around town. Those contacts allowed me to ride in both the engine and the caboose, and resulted in my own lifelong love of trains.

Whenever there’s a railroading event nearby, and there are a lot here in Southern California, I try to get to them. One that I went to earlier this year was northwest of Los Angeles, in the little agricultural community of Fillmore. I think the city still exists simply because everything throughout the year revolves around the historic Fillmore & Western Railway.

In the spring, they have their annual Railroad Days Festival. If you have never been, go. If you have children or grandchildren, take them.

In all the railroading events I have been to in 55 years, Railroad Days Festival was the best. They have more historic rolling stock than I have ever seen in one place, and they give hourly rides on historic diesel engines, cabooses, passenger cars, and steam engines. Take lots of money because the really great rides, like in an engine cab, cost the most. And there are so many different rides—diesel engine, steam engine, caboose—that you’ll want to go on all of them, like I did. It’s really cool.

One of the most popular rides is in the consist pulled by one of their steam engines. I took the ride first to see where it went. Once I knew that, and with hourly rides, I got in my car and went out to the end of the line where I got the following video. Turn the sound up and listen to the huffing and puffing. And the smoke! Who knew that pollution could be so beautiful?

The Fillmore & Western Railway is a tourist railroad operating on former Southern Pacific trackage from Piru through Fillmore and to Santa Paula. The tracks were built in 1887 to move citrus from from Los Angeles to San Francisco. The steam locomotive, #14, is a Baldwin engine built in November 1913 by The Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia.

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Advertisements

35 thoughts on “Out & About—Who knew pollution could be so beautiful?

  1. Pit

    Now that’s anlother item on my bucket list now: the Fillmore & Western Railway. Durango is another one. Mary and I love riding those historical railroad. One of our most fum dasy on our narrowboat tour in England in 2011 was our day off the boat, riding the Severn Valley Historical Railway line.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      Durango & Silverton probably is my favorite historic tourist train simply because of the scenery. There also are many modern trains that are quite awesome. You’re close enough to take Amtrak from Houston to New Orleans. The trip on the Huey P. Long bridge over the Mississippi River and down into New Orleans is like no other.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
        1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

          San Antonio to L.A. is okay, but it’s nothing like San Antonio to New Orleans. Another great one is San Diego to Santa Barbara, and if you get to Canada, take the Rocky Mountaineer. I think it’s the most scenic anywhere in North America.

          Liked by 2 people

          Reply
      1. Pit

        That’s engraved in my memory, and even my old brain will not forget. 😉 Thanks so much for your offer. I appreciate it ever so much. Maybe some time next year, when we visit Mary’s daughter, who is in the process of moving to Los Angeles [from the Bay Area]. She’s got a job there as an urban/traffic planner.

        Like

        Reply
  2. guidelinesweb

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Russel! My Grandaddy was a Railroad man, too. He got free passes for us to ride the train, whenever the family had need to travel. I still love trains, also and grew so nostalgic while watching your video, that I could almost imagine I smelled the smoke! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      One of the reasons why I like San Diego so much is because of all the trains. I can ride the San Diego Trolley, Amtrak, Coaster, and Sprinter, and I can take Metrolink from Oceanside to Los Angeles and ride it all over the place, not to mention Metro rail in L.A.

      Like

      Reply
    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      My wise old grandmother always told me that we were German/Cech/Bohemian, but recent genealogical research indicates that such is not the case. We’re Swedish/Irish. I must admit, though, that I sure enjoyed going to all those (claimed) German/Cech/Bohemian weddings all those years. So much fun.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      Looks pretty cool! There are some tourist railways that downplay the smoke as much as possible, but on a photo run-by like this one, the more smoke the happier the people because they know when they buy their tickets that there’s going to be a photo run-by.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
        1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

          We might have to define “usual.” When the throttle is full open, yes. When the engine is huffing and puffing up a 3% grade, yes. When the tourist railroad puts extra coloring in the tender to create the blackest smoke for the tourists, yes.

          Liked by 1 person

          Reply

Let your words flow

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s