Must be all of that "BIG-SKY" out there..........
I like "warbirds", as well as trains. I wont ever get to own, nor fly, a P-38, an F4-U4, or even a P-51. I will stop whatever I am doing (including the train) for a chance to watch one, or see one up close. They are old, obsolete, take tons of money to keep them serviceable, and are not very usefull to own, realistically. BUT, I would give just about anything, for an hour of "stick-time". Building a GT mustang, will never be the same as a Ford GT-40. Less than a dozen ever built, only a few still left alive, currently selling (if you could EVER find one) in the multi-million dollar price range. Like me saying I could get a Cessna, hop up the engine, and feel I had a P-51. NO comparison. Ditto for those old ALCO's. I will never run a PA-1 (unless Doyle lets me, hint hint
) but I still love those classic old lines, that cool grill around the headlight, and the way it brings back memories of seeing them in the last minutes of service. Imagine how lucky guys like you and me really are. We get to do on the day-to-day, what most guys out there only get to dream about. We can take for granted (although I never have, myself) the running of these engines, and trains, around the systems of various roads. You could literally, right now, place an ad, on eBay, for 1 hour of "seat-time", in a SD-70MAC, and you could probably get bids for several hundred dollars. You could do this many, many times, and you would always get paid. I would even bet, that you would never be able to run an auction there, and not get paid. The world is full of people, who would line up, for that 1 hour shot, at running a real train, on a real railroad. Sometimes it does seem "silly", but hey, I would be first in line for that "stick-time" I mentioned, and I would bet I wouldn't be alone. When I worked on the NYSW, we would place a "blanket-call" over the radio, stating "the first person to show up at crossing XYZ, or at XYZ station, with a pizza, burgers & fries, or whatever could ride with us, to wherever we were going, and return. Don't you know some guy with a scanner was running 90 MPH, to meet us with that meal, which he paid for, just for a half an hour, plus or minus a few minutes, ride on the train. I used to "trade" beer, to the old heads, for my seat time, when I was a teen-aged fan. I learned to run an engine, before I could even drive a car, and all it cost me was my old mans beer ! I gotta imagine you really dont know just how good we got it
I gave a kid, and his mom, a cab ride a couple of days ago. The last thing she said, as they left the engine , was "you just made me a hero, in my sons eyes". It was THAT meaningfull, to her, and to him. How could you ever beat something like that ? Hell, we only moved about 100 yards, in each direction ! I took their picture, for them, and they will remember that day, forever. That's the reality of what we get to do, for our paycheck. Some poor slobs gotta push a pencil all day, inside a cubicle. Nobodys waiting outside, to take his picture, you can be sure. I wouldn't trade this job, for any other job out there. That's just me, though. Regards