Thursday, August 6, 2009

the train

There's just something about a train. The rhythmic clack of the wheels, the blare of the horn announcing its arrival and the gasp of the brakes as it comes to rest, all make me run to the window to witness the occasional freight train that loads at the nearby chip yard. Growing up in a neighborhood where every house looked the same, (and so did all the faces,) I'm delighted to now live in the South, across from railroad tracks that used to carry people, not just boxes filled to the brim with ground up trees.

One recent evening I was amazed to see an engine pulling two passenger cars. The horn gave a very different sound as it passed our home and headed for the street that crosses the tracks. I raced out the front door with a big grin on my face, then quickly came back for my camera. I knew the train would have to come back our way because the tracks are cut not far beyond that intersection. While I waited on the front porch, my neighbor Darlene came out on hers and she told me that distinctive horn signaled a passenger train, just like it used to every week when people would come up from Spartanburg.

After several minutes passed and the train didn't return, Danny and I walked up the street to find it. By then it was getting dark, but I took some photos just the same. Except for in the engine room, there were no lights, and no silhouettes of passengers. The name on the cars said "Norfolk Southern," which gave me a little thrill since I was born in Norfolk, Massachusetts and now I am "southern," at least by location!

The second car had "Research 36" printed under the row of windows. That made me hope that an investigation was underway to bring back train service to Landrum. There's just something about a train. The sound of the past whispering in my ear? Or could it be the future? I would like to think so.

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