Very few things capture the imagination like trains. How many of us have dreamed of hopping a train to points unknown. Woody Guthrie and Merle Haggard rode the rails. Songs like “City of New Orleans”, “Orange Blossom Special” and “Rock Island Line” and many many others perpetuate the dream. Paul Theroux wrote of his adventures traveling through Europe and Asia by train.
For me, the allure of the train has always been the travel. Going somewhere, anywhere is an exciting notion to me. Trains have the added benefit of just being cool. The rhythmic motion and sounds as it passes fire up my imagination. Grabbing hold and swinging into a boxcar, standing at the open door, feeling the wind in my hair and the rails beneath my feet…
I know the realities are not as romantic as they seem. I have seen photographic images of hobos, both from Woody Guthrie’s days and modern day. Not a pretty image at all.
But to quote Dierks Bentley in his song, “Train Travelin’”
“Am I a fool to think it glamorous
Box-carrin’ like a hobo, it must have been rough
But a simpler way of life is what it really means to me
When we weren’t so dependent on money to be free”
I realize I am not the only one to find trains fascinating. They are a window to the past as well as an awaiting adventure.