Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Riding the Train.

My first ride on a train was when I was in preschool. Our church took a excursion to the beach, Buckroe Beach in Hampton, VA. We left from Broad Street Station in Richmond. I learned later that C&O RR would do these special trains and take the car up the trolley tracks to the beach and leave it for the day. In the 1970's, while in college, I began model railroading and, as a offshoot, train watching. After college I took my first steam excursion. I went from there to New England and took my first ride on Amtrak. In the south, my riding experience were for weekend trips to parents but not much more (the occasional weekend trip by rail was done). When I move to Boston, MA in the mid 1980's I became experienced in commuter rail. I was the first station stop on the purple line (called that because on T maps it was designated by the purple lines.)

While in college, my parents lived in northern Virginia. One evening, while traveling home from school (Va Tech) I had cut over the mountain and was heading north of Charlottesvlle. To my surprise I saw the Southern Crescent, heading south to Atlanta. I finished school in 1975 and rumor began that Southern would not longer be running the Crescent but turning the operation over to Amtrak. In 1978, I decided to ride the Cescent from Washington to Atlanta. This was my first chase, out and back.

Before and since that trip, I had chances to watch, including the Piedmont that was the daylight version of Crescent, running between Washington and Atlanta. They also ran locals, between division points. The local would leave Washington and take on a container or piggyback in Alexandria before heading south to Lynchburg, dropping the freight at Monroe.

Piedmont in Alexandria, VA
Local in Alexandria

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