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Railroading: A nocturnal craft

Posted by Chase Gunnoe
on Tuesday, January 24, 2017

If you liked my Facebook post this morning, you are the reason I’m writing this blog.

This morning was one of those rare instances when I woke up before the coffee pot. My day started a shade after 4 a.m. eastern this morning – and no for particular reason. As with any day, I started with a quick swipe through missed text messages and a morning cup (or pot) of coffee. A few moments later, I heard a train descending off ‘Scary Hill’ across the river from the house… It’s more than a mile away, but on rare cases when there’s no road traffic and the birds are not yet awake, you can hear its entire descent. After rolling through two grade crossings, I heard a full transition to dynamic brakes and the train eased into St. Albans moments later.

An eastbound coal train eases into downtown Thurmond, W.Va., a few minutes after 4 a.m. on the morning of June 10, 2013. Chase Gunnoe.

Simultaneously, I was chatting with a railroader over text. It was then that I realized that on these cases when I am up exceptionally early, or in contrast, up late at night, my conversations are typically with railroaders or those in careers with irregular schedules.

We sometimes forget how to appreciate what we have. I recall just last week, during the first day of senior class when a student was disgruntled from having an 8 a.m. to 8:50 a.m. class. Another student complained that evening class was “crashing” his nightlife. And for others, such as myself, it’s usually a 9 to 5 workday, Monday through Friday.

Railroaders are an important part of America’s economy and despite discouragement from downturns in business, or cutbacks in workforce, railroaders – and those in similar professions, head into work to move America’s economy each day. It’s a class of hard working people in a society that we sometimes take for granted. And yes, it stems well beyond railroaders, as well.

For me, I’m inspired by these types of people. It makes me appreciate that despite how divided we may seem, our jobs work together, at all hours of the day and night, to make this nation a better place for everyone.

So, if we are friends on Facebook and you happened to ‘like’ my post from this morning, you are the reason I’m writing this blog.

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