Saturday, August 17, 2013

Riding The Rails - Re-post 2009


Train rides are my fondest memories of the first 25 years of my life.

From 1944 to 1969, my mother and I traveled the Atlantic Coastline RR, on the Champion and the Silver Meteor, several times a year.

photos taken on first train ride at the museum in 2009
Mother was born and raised in Palmetto, and married my dad on her 18th birthday in 1943.
She had been riding the trains to Savannah and back during the war years to see her dad, who was at the CC Camp in Savannah. In fact the trains ran on these same rails.



On my first ride with my mother, she was 5 months pregnant with me in 1944 and that was the beginning of my love affair with trains.


I truly loved the trains, the squealing of the wheels as they stopped, the rattling on the rails and the waddle as we backed into the stations in Savannah and Jacksonville, the long mournful wails as we got close to a crossing.

I did NOT love the fact the bathrooms were locked in the 2 hour lay over in Jacksonville and the 1 hour in Tampa.

The bathrooms were very tiny and very loud, and they rattled and shook me so hard I could hardly stand.
I made many trips to those little rooms because of the amazing water that came out of the spigots on the wall and trickled into those tiny little cups. I think they held maybe 3 ounces.
Did I mention the reclining seats? and the pillows provided by the conductor? Sheer Magic!


The cars I rode were very much like these.

The conductors amazed me as they traveled up and down the aisles, swaying to the rocking cars. The same rocking cars that caused me to stagger and fall against the seats as I traveled to the water fountains and rest rooms. Mother packed lunches because there was no money for the dining car, and she would not even let me go peek in the door to see where the rich were eating and drinking.

The trip was 10 long hours, and I loved every minute, that is until my brother was added to the trip when I was 4. Some of the joy was snatched away while he was a baby, but the joy came back as he grew older, but he never loved the train like I did. He entertained himself with tiny toy soldiers.

In my teens I was allowed to do the trip ALONE.What Fun! My last train ride, in 1969, I was alone, riding for the last time to attend my grandmothers funeral. To see her for the last time.

26 comments:

EG CameraGirl said...

Great memories of traveling by train, Sandra. This one is in such good condition.

diane b said...

Great memories and story of your love affair with trains. You and TOH would get along fine. My next post in a few days will be on our train ride home from Cairns. It took 2 days.

Blackberry Lane said...

Precious memories and such lovely photos.

Deb said...

a fun ride....love the tracks...

TexWisGirl said...

now i get it. sweet family memories from childhood adventures.

Tammy@Simple Southern Happiness said...

I envisioned you as I was reading your post walking up and down the isles. I have never been on a train unless you count the one at Stone Mt park that goes around the mountain.

What Karen Sees said...

What a wonderful 'ride' down memory lane. Brought back some train memories for me. I don't recall ever being on a train until I left California to attend college in Utah. I made the trip back and forth many times for holidays and vacations. What a wonderful time in my life it was, new experiences, new friends, new worlds of growth and future possibilities opening up for me as a young adult woman. Wonderful memories!

Inger said...

What lovely memories. Now I know you would love it where I live, because trains is what this place is all about. And, I took the header photo earlier this month after the rain.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

What a great story about your love affair with trains. I took a train from Chicago to Los Angeles when I was 13. I think I was to scared and shy to really enjoy myself.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Amazing memories.

Ginny said...

You've got me crying now. Your last trip to see your grandmother for the last time, plus all your wonderful memories. If you posted this before, I do not remember it. Your writing here is some of your best!! You usually do comedy, but you excel in this too. Your descriptions of the train sights and sounds, how the conductors were so steady, ALL of it. And I KNOW! You know why? Again, we are the same. I have many strange and wonderful train memories, but it would be too big of a post(or maybe not, if done right). You made yours short. My train memories are now part of my life and personality, as are yours. And even today, we live near the tracks and I hear the melancholy whistle several times a day, it always brings back all my memories. WONDERFUL post, I am still crying. You write from the heart.

Chatty Crone said...

I can tell from all the wonderful descriptions you really do have a love for trains. They were good memories of your past. sandie

Susannah said...

My dear Sandra...I love thiss post. It shows the true you and some of your most memorable memories! I love how you write. Write some more stories like this. very enjoyable. I am so sorry your last train ride (other than for fun) was to your Grandmother's funeral. Oh, how I wish you and hubby could take a little train trip somewhere even if it was to get right back on and come right back home. This post was remarkable !

Susannah

Mersad said...

Love trains and train rides too. These shots are really good!

Gregory Urbano said...

great story full of memories! i have been thinking about visiting the train museum off 75 where you can still get a vintage train ride!

Laura Delegal - Leroy Photography said...

Cool. My grandfather was a conductor on L&N Railroad. Mom rode on the train to New Orleans several times. The tracks ran by their house and they would run out and waive to him as the caboose went by. :)

Michaele said...

Very special and unique memories you have of trains - especially the last train ride.

George said...

You definitely have some wonderful memories of the times you rode the train. It's neat that you were later able to ride over the same rails.

Betsy Adams said...

You and I certainly have this 'love' in common. I love trains with a passion also. I remember when I was about 16, I got to take the train ALONE from Bristol, VA to Florida to see my brother (in Eau Gallie) ... I even had to change trains near Chattanooga, TN... I did great --but I'll bet that young girls wouldn't be safe doing that these days!!!!

Hugs,
Betsy

SweetMarie said...

This explains your love for trains. :) I really enjoyed this post. What great train adventures you had.:)

SquirrelQueen said...

What wonderful memories you have of trains and time spent riding them. Other than scenic areas with their own trains the only real train I have been on was from Atlanta to Washington DC for senior year class trip.

Ann said...

so before you were a mad snapper you were a train riding addict :) I can picture the whole thing

S. Etole said...

We used to take the train from Washington state to Minnesota in the summers to visit my grandparents. It was a long ride but I enjoyed it. This brings back many memories.

Betty Manousos said...

i'm in love with trains, i honestly don't know why, but i will find out sooner or later!

what memorable train adventures you had!

great post!

Dee said...

What fun memories you have....I wish travel could be this simple and nostalgic in this day and age.

Eva Ason said...

Those are lovely memories...your pictures are brilliant.