Memories of Youth

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Memories of Youth
Posted by Miningman on Saturday, October 21, 2017 11:50 PM

I can't seem to  stop going back to this picture..Classic Photo of the Day Friday Oct. 20. 

This captures an everyday scene from my youth...all of it ...the 4-6-0, the reefer, the heavy weight baggage and coach, the markings, the whole picture and everything it conveys. That reefer would have been orange, grey or light olive green with the CNR Maple Leaf "serves all Canada" written inside. 

This all seemed so important and serious. Massive black steel and iron, mysterious workings in the locomotive, couplers and hoses that were not like anything seen anywhere but on a railroad. The smells and the sounds cannot be forgotten....forever a most pleasant memory. A heavyweight car had a most pleasant scent, much more prevalent than other equipment. The steps, landing and grab irons were built for all of time. The crew, the engineer and uniformed conductors with brass buttons. What places and wonders they have seen and experienced. 

We are all captivated by steam at speed with a manifest or a famous passenger train. Well, at least us old softies are, those that were there or can imagine, but for me, and I am certain others,this everday scene was prominent in the places we grew up. 

It all seemed so important and permanent. 

So today I know it is a lowly 10 wheeler, hauling 3 pieces of equipment destined very soon for the end, as is the locomotive. The train itself will be gone forever from the timetable. No more of any of it.

I'm glad I did not know that back then. I knew there were changes, I saw the dead desecrated and humiliated hulks of steam locomotives in funeral trains and other equipment being hauled to somewhere, but I always thought these little trains that were so familiar and I saw every day were too important and too serious to be part of that. 

CN 4-6-0 in Winnipeg

Canadian National Ten-Wheeler 1357, pulling an express reefer and heavyweight baggage car and coach, has just arrived at the Fort Rouge yard from the CN station in downtown Winnipeg in September 1958.
Franklin A. King photo

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, October 22, 2017 12:14 AM

Growing up in New York City, steam was not a primary part of my childhood experiences.  But summer camp in New Hampshire made the beautiful now-gone Concord, N. H. railroad station and the B&M heavyweight steam-powered trains that served it important to my life.  Thus my Concord thread, and I continued to experience the station with camp trips to the Concord dentist returning on the Suncook Valley mixed, one fan-trip and one bicycle excursion while at MIT, and then the chance to do some consulting work for the NH Capitol in my professional career.  The trains are no more, Concord, NH doesn't currently have any rail passenger service, and the tracks to the west and north have been cut and the through Boston - Montreal service could not be restored via Concord.  Very sad indeed.

The Third Avenue Elevated, and earlier the 6th and 9th, the beautiful Blue Bird on the Canarsie Line and the Little Zephyr in the Franklin Avenue shuttle, and Manhattan's Third Avenue Transit streetcars.  Well, at least the Canarsie Line still runs and so dues the shuttle, although its future was in doubt for a time.

When I rode the then-new Vancouver elevated railroad I thought, gee, this is a bit of the 3rd Avenue recreated.  So who knows?  When for important reasons I left New York for Jerusalem, I thought I would never see tracks in the street with overhead wire above, and now I can ride a fine light rail line with a portion on a newly beautiful pedestrianized street any time I want!  And more lines are supposed to come.

So maybe someday Israel Railways will have a restored operating steam locomotive.  Hauling some rebuilt coaches remodeled to duplicate British Pullman first-class service complete with tea and biskits (Sp?).   Be great in Airport - Jersualem service via the old line via Beit Shemesh and a view of Samson's cave.

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Posted by pajrr on Sunday, October 22, 2017 1:25 AM

I am moving away from the town where I have lived every day of my 58 years. The other evening I went over to the train station to watch the evening commuter parade. There was a young man there, about 13, sitting there watching trains. We struck up a conversation. As we talked, I saw myself in him when I was his age. I would go to the station after school and watch trains until the 6:15 arrived, bringing my father home from his job in NY. Sitting for an hour with that boy brought back many happy memories for me. 

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Posted by SD70M-2Dude on Sunday, October 22, 2017 1:25 AM

Hatches are open, reefer must be empty.

Ten-Wheeler looks to be oil-fired, big square tank in the tender. 

We have the right equipment at our railway museum to replicate this train, including a reefer with roof hatches and large maple leaf herald.  Might throw in a RPO ahead of the baggage car too, just for good measure. 

I'll have to dig out my Trainman's uniform or pinstriped overalls for one of next year's photoshoots, and rest on the windowsill just like that Fireman. 

He's running with a clear stack too, paying attention.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, October 22, 2017 3:47 AM

Those were the days when Canadian National lived up to the slogan Serves All Canada.  Today with track having been spun off or outright abandoned, we are fortunate to have had so many dedicated photographers who saw the value in capturing for just a moment in time, scenes like CN 4-6-0 1357 with train in tow, for not only future generations of men and boys (AND women and girls!) but those of us who can look back with millions of happy memories of the time spent watching trains during our innocent youth and yern for the return of those uncomplicated days of summer like the picture Franklin A. King took on that long ago September in 1958.

If Mr. King's photo should happen to bring tears to your eyes, don't be ashamed but be thankful that you were able to go down to the depot or trackside to witness railroading the way it was meant to be, serving cities and towns with dependable transportation the entire year, with disregard to the weather.  Lest we forget, the brave men and women of all crafts who were responsible to insure that the trains ran on time through each season of the year.

Without them there would have been no railroad or trains to enable you to visit the depot agent, much less wave at a train crew and get a toot from the whistle and a wave back from the engineer, fireman, conductor or brakeman, which sent you to bed with your head full of dreams.  For the chosen few who became railroaders, they were able to turn their dreams into reality.

I know, because I was one of those lucky boys, and have never looked back with regret.   

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Posted by Fr.Al on Wednesday, October 25, 2017 8:48 PM

Mr. Klepper, I may have mentioned before here that I attended a private school in Pembroke, NH from 1968-70. I believe the B & M had ended passenger service through Concord a few years earlier. The station of course was gone by then. What was left of the Claremont and Concord no longer ran as far east as Concord. I did see traces of it passing through Claremont, but no activity. I seem to remember a shopping area where the station had stood. The bus stopped around there when I came in from Bennington, VT via Rutland and White River Junction. I also remember traces of the Suncook Valley road bed.

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, October 26, 2017 3:12 AM

All surrounding states have done a far better job of preserving and even in some cases restoring rail service than New Hampshire has done.

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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, October 26, 2017 3:27 AM

Concord: Another beautiful station lost to Progress!

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Posted by Fr.Al on Monday, October 30, 2017 8:47 PM

I recall being stranded in the Rutland, VT bus terminal by a severe blizzard in Feb 1969. I overheard someone ask about train service only to be told by an employee, "There hasn't been a train out of Rutland in 20 years". Yet today Amtrack serves Rutland and Southern Maine as well. Concord has nothing. But I was last in New Hampshire about 19 years ago. It looked like Southern New Hampshire was experiencing a boom( people fleeing from the Massachusetts taxes, no doubt). I wonder that commuter service wasn't restored as far north as Nashua or Manchester.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Monday, October 30, 2017 9:17 PM

I recall that there was a proposal for extending commuter trains to Nashua, but apparently the Massachusetts tax refugees would have none of it.


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