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Trains (The Trucks’ Older Brother)

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I am calling this a part 2 of the “That’s your story,” in the fact that its content is derived from the jaunt I and my brother took up to Pennsylvania earlier last week, (6/16 thru 6/18) of this 2022. Now, just as the trucking industry came about for the demand of goods and services, the train had its start in a more “romantic” fashion. It has been in the middle of many historic events and documentaries. Unfortunately, most of the earlier coverage came from historic derailments, and even some head on crashes.

If it weren’t for these losses, it may have taken a lot longer for the captains of industry, and various governmental entities to figure out the longitudinal time separations. In the mainland, this is broken up into four sectors, Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific. As regulated truck transport evolved, it was imperative that interstate drivers “learned the ropes” of adjusting their travel to strict time tables, and log books. (But I digress!)

Getting back to the train museum experience, the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum is located in Strasburg, Pa., (located in and about the Amish community) near Lancaster. While in that area, you get a real contrast looking first at the Amish in their still main mode of transport (the horse and buggy), then walking in to the museum, looking at those enormous behemoths! There is a model train display located in one of the rooms of the museum, but from what we were told, the more substantial model train exhibit is just down the street from “Train City.”

Across the street, there is another “tourist adventure” for those that have never been around working steam powered locomotives, and this venue offers an actual train ride as well. We did not partake of these pleasures, as I had been doing a lot of distance walking that day without a needed knee brace. (Worn out knee joints on old truck drivers – go figure!)

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In the brief time that we had to view the museum, we managed to make it past every one of the pieces of display that were housed inside of the building. There were quite a few more rail cars and locomotives on the exterior of the complex, but alas, “O.T.D.S.” was kicking in, (Old Truck Driver Syndrome)! Later on and once at home, I did some snooping around on YouTube, and picked up some rail “tidbits” that complimented the experience. I found out that the newer addition to the museum was added around 1995, and that the original building was erected at least 30 years prior to that.

Also by doing the video homework, I came across some other interesting information. Did you know that when Charles Lindberg flew that plane “The Spirit of St. Louis” non-stop across from America to Europe (France), there was a second race that came about from it. There were 5 news companies that got newsreels of the event in Washington D.C. and needed to get them to the theaters in New York City as fast as possible. Four of them were sent by air travel, and one by train. The reels sent by plane made it to the “Big Apple” quite a while ahead of the item sent by rail, but even as the train that carried this historic news was there later, they were able to process their reel while on board the railcar, and got the news to their theater before the ones transported by plane!

Another interesting note about that excursion was that the locomotive that did the work was a “top of the line” rig, capable of traveling over 100 M.P.H.! Now, as I do my (hobby work) on this piece, I can say that it was started at 3:15 AM, and it took mere seconds to transfer a picture from my phone to the P.C. here at my desk. (My how the times, they have changed!) People back in the early 1900`s were ecstatic if they could mail order an item from one coast, and get it delivered to the other side of the country that same month. I get cranky when a delivery ordered on Amazon takes more than five days to make it to my front door.

It made me a bit upset when the present news stations did stories of thieves in the Los Angeles area (around the rail switching track location) breaking into the cargo cars, and pillaging the freight at will. But then come to think of it, as long as there have been trains, there have been train robberies. And now we at present have come to grips with a modern day term “Porch Pirates.” One good thing that could be mentioned about the rail industry, is that they had their “feet” (or tracks) on the ground, going from one side of this great country to the other, ahead of any other “mega-transporter.”

It was not until way later that roads were formed to bring our cars and trucks to that point. As surely as car drivers curse trucks that block the roads in front of them, (and truckers do the same when a train blocks a major artery of roadway), we need both those trucks, and the trains to keep this land livable! (Now, I have not forgotten the airplane and ship in my thoughts, I just have not spent enough time around them to speak of them.) Some truckers may even tell you that they view the “trainers” kind of like an older strong brother.

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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