Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Lure of the Tracks

When I was quite young, my parents, my sister, and myself went to a place called Edaville Railroad in Carver, Massachusetts. For no particular reason, I'd assumed for some time that it was closed. I was wrong, as I discovered just last night! Edaville Railroad still operates, under the name Edaville USA. I was glad to learn that.

There's a train track near my home, about a 5 minute walk away. Sitting in my apartment late at night, I can hear the train's whistle and even feel the vibrations as it passes. I can't describe how it makes me feel, but it stirs something deep within me. And whenever I stay somewhere near enough to a train track so that I can hear the occasional train going by, I get that same feeling.

There's a quote from John F. Kennedy about the sea, and the romantic feelings it evokes.

"I really don't know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it's because in addition to the fact that the sea changes, and the light changes, and ships change, it's because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have, in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea - whether it is to sail or to watch it - we are going back from whence we came." (9/14/62 Remarks in Newport, RI at a dinner for America's Cup Crews)

So, what's the attraction of the railroad? It seems to be something deep within us as opposed to learned behavior, which is odd considering that ships (and the sea) have been around thousands -- millions -- of years, but the railroads are a relatively new invention. Two hundred years is just a small span of time when measuring humanity's history.

Nevertheless, something about trains -- possibly the freedom associated with getting on something that rapidly takes us away from where we are in a manner that defies turning around and going back at any point -- brings out a similar feeling in people. I know I feel it.

Do you?

Thanks for your time.

Buzzards Bay Railroad Bridge, Cape Cod, Massachusetts


  1. I love trains sounds:) always, cause when I was little, we travel always intrains and we loved it, the food, sleep all !! We lived at south and we come to here in train with my Mom, normally sometimes we travel all the night but I remember I sleeped so well:)
    now about " rapidly takes us away from where we are " dont go so far, cause we travel always with all we are:))

  2. I'd love to take a long scenic trip on a train. Need to do that with my boys some time. If we can figure out how to do that with their food issues, etc, maybe we can get that done some year. I've also, always been intrigued with the Orient Express...gorgeous, romantic and fun.

    Oooh..Gloria getting all philosophical on us. That is so matter where we go, there we are. ha. You can't run away from yourself. So true.

  3. @Gloria: I have to agree with you (and Betsy). There's no running away from one's self. But escape from other things is sometimes possible...

    @Betsy: I hope someday you can all make that trip. It would be great!

  4. Betsy I always wanted travel in Orient Express:) we can dream!
    Betsy my kids dont know train because when they borned the travels was normally in car (I hate) the poor kids only know the subway and you know like is(LOL)

    Silver, maybe I need a trip soon:)

  5. Gloria ~ trains just aren't as popular since we're all in a hurry! My boys love trains and we've taken little 1 hour trips, but nothing really that cool.

  6. Im sure my kids will enjoy a trip train too Betsy, is nice:)

  7. i took a train trip once up in PA...took my boys too as they were in that phase...for me i grew up by the tracks which is where my fascination came from...and hearing them as i went to sleep everynight imagining where they were going...

  8. @Brian: Gee, I'd really like to answer your comment, but I feel like Gloria and Betsy might resent the intrusion, y'know?

  9. My grandfather was a train photographer, so I grew up around trains. I absolutely love passenger trains, it just feels so cozy, and the sceneries are usually fantastic.

  10. @Sub-Radar-Mike: A train photographer? Sounds fascinating, actually.

  11. Actually, I find travelling by train to be very inconvenient. Riders are forced to travel when it's convenient for the train company. I prefer to travel by car (perhaps I'm a "control freak")
    On a related note: John F. Kennedy was also fascinated by coconuts.

  12. I've never even come near a train that I recall, besides those dumb ones that get in the way as I go up the hill to work, hauling 50 carts of gravel or whatever it is in there.


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