RhB 413 and her "Crocodile Class" sisters built in the late 1920s for Switzerland's Rhaetische Bahn meter gauge railway. With its "C-C" motion work flailing away at speed, I've never seen a better looking electric engine working anywhere.
Although I'm not a big "teakettle" fancier, anytime I see standard gauge mainline steam locomotives at speed, my surrounding world stops and I'm only aware of a magnificent machine's living and breathing existance. I could say the same about watching an eastbound "Silverton Mixed" as it works its way into downtown Durango, Colorado. Oh and such experiences have a way of touching non-railfans alike.
One fall morning, about 35-years ago, my young wife and I were about to leave Durango, Colo. when off in the distance I heard a steam whistle blowing for a set of road crossings. Finding the nearest one in advance of the approaching train, I pulled over, parked, and insisted that she stand with me at trackside as the train passed. After that religious moment, when a "mudhen" and a long set of "varnish" made its way passed us, she turned to me and said, "Robert, I never really understood what your fascination with trains was all about. But I think I do now."
Any loaded grain train, set of heavy coal buckets, but especially a heavy mixed-merchandise freight train, struggling up a long grade with exclusively 4-cycle power in charge, is a total auditory delight.
And my head will always turn whenever I hear normally aspirated power loading up with a cut of cars.