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  • Tell us where you were and what you saw!
Tell us where you were and what you saw!

Moderator: David Benton

  by johnthefireman
Only just discovered this interesting thread.

- My grandfather and my mother both worked for the LMS before the war, albeit both in clerical positions and long before I was born.

- I had an uncle who was a draughtsman at the Vulcan Works, and when we would visit them up north he would take me to the factory after hours and let me climb all over the locomotives under construction. By that time they weren't building steam locos (at least not that I remember) but they were building a lot of diesels for the export market and some of the locos I saw years later in Africa were probably the same ones I had climbed over as a wee lad.

- My grandparents lived in the northwest of England and we used to travel by train to visit them at least once a year. In those days, late 1950s and early '60s, there was still steam, and indeed the northwest was the last bastion of steam in UK right up to its withdrawal in 1968. We used to take the train from Euston in London, and some of my earliest memories are of the mystical darkness and grandeur of the smoke-filled station (I'd like to think I can remember the iconic Doric arch, but that may be wishful thinking), and of the noise of a locomotive safety valve blowing off.

- I travelled to grammar school (high school) by train every day for six years in the late 1960s and early '70s. By that time there was no steam left on BR's Eastern Region and we were riding on the electric suburban units out of east London.

- I joined a model railway club at the age of 14, and that entailed a weekly trip on the same suburban trains. The club house was rented from BR and you could get to it without going through the ticket gate (I had my school rail pass so I was legal!) by walking off the end of the platform, edging through the bridge next to the track and climbing up the bank - not much Elf 'n Safe Tea concern in those days!

- I went to university in the north east of England and would often ride behind a Deltic on the trip there and back.

At the age of 21 I headed off to Africa and my railway interest was put on the back burner for many years. Then about twenty years ago I was based in the UK for a year and joined a local steam railway where I began to train as a locomotive fireman. A few years later I found myself in South Africa for a few years, where I joined another heritage club and qualified as a fireman and driver, firing on the main line, and gained a lot of experience in restoring, maintaining and operating steam locos. Now back in Kenya I'm a volunteer at the national railway museum and I'm involved in the operation of the steam locos on the rare occasions when they run. We're also just moving in to a new house where she who must be obeyed has allocated me a part of the basement to build a model railway, based on African railway practice.
  by radio
My family moved from the countryside in southern CT, USA, to Hamden, within a few blocks of the Cedar Hill yard. The first night there in 1960, I heard train horns all night long, so as soon as I could, I rode my bike there one night and watched . . . and listened. I had also been exposed to freight trains moving alongside State St in New Haven, directly behind my father's warehouse. I could watch them from a port in of the rear window that wasn't frosted/painted. I think it was the sounds of railroads that hooked me.
  by csx8851
I think for me it started with watching the 7 Train with my grandfather when I was a little kid growing up. I remember covering my ears as the trains would roar through. He would take me to the elevated line a couple of blocks away from our home and I would watch the trains go by back and forth. He used to take me up the line to QueensBoro Plaza and back, occasionally making a run up to Astoria. I would look out the window watching the world go by from high above. Later on, I realized there was a old freight line a few blocks from where I live. One day I was walking on the bridge above the tracks and heard rumbling from underneath, the entire bridge was shaking. I saw cars from a freight train moving at about 10mph, later realizing a company called CSX was rattling below. While fanning the line one day I came across these powerful GE's from P&W. I ran alongside those beasts as the P&W train throttled up through our neighborhood. Man, I dont know about you guys but for me its something about the sheer power from these trains that has captivated me ever since.
  by Ronal U18C Indonesia
Always visit to my grandmother by train, my own mother parts ussually by Logawa train(Purwokerto-Jember BW), Sritanjung train(Banyuwangi-Lempuyangan BW) get off at Nganjuk railway station, because her was born there(The Nganjuk doesn't the railway station) it's nothing… by Dhoho train(Surabaya Kota-Kertosono-Blitar) get off at Kertosono railway station because his train was moved position of locomotive there. Next transits by Pasundan train(Surabaya Gubeng-Kiaracondong) get off at a same location(aka Nganjuk ;))
2. My own father parts by mainstay from Regional Operation 1 Jakarta Gayabaru Malam Selatan(Pasarsenen-Surabaya Gubeng Backwent) get off at Centre of Jakarta railway station because his train past finished journey there

All I am use a economy class train, past non air conditioned but,… present are air conditioned
  by Engineer Spike
I literally grew up in a rail yard. My grandfather had a trucking line. One of his largest customers was a furniture broker. Rail cars came up from the Carolinas, and his trucks distributed it throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts. To facilitate the business the old freight house was leased. The railroad still used the office portion for the yard office. A few times engine rides were arranged. I still remember the distinctive shape of the RS3 locomotives. This was in the Penn Central era. Eventually Conrail took over.

By my teen years, Boston and Maine took over. By this time I had a paper route for an evening paper. It just happened to end in a neighborhood near the yard. I was scolded a few times for getting back late because of watching the old Bluebird GP9s switching. Eventually I got to know many of the crews. They often took me to work with them. This was fairly easy because this cluster of branches was isolated from the rest of the system.
  by tj48
Growing up on Long Island I would go with my Mom to pick up my Dad from his commute home from NYC. I would stand in awe as LIRR Alco C420's thundered past me belching smoke as the engineer throttled up (and just about every time give a wave to me) out of the station. My Junior High School's field backed up on the LIRR main line and more than once at recess or in class I could watch C420's on passenger trains, RS3's and RS1's on freight trains.
My Dad was also into HO trains.
  by phillyrube
Like all little kids, TRAINS!! Big (to me) O gauge Lionel train set with attached electrically lit village at Christmas. Grandfather rode the Reading Chestnut Hill into town every day. When I was good, I could stay the weekend with them, so we travelled by train. Franklin Institute and the Baldwin 60000 that moved. Broad Street Subway to visit museums and other sites. When time to go home, Grandad put me on the Rt 6 trolley, up Ogontz Ave to Willow Grove, sitting behind the motorman. I was like 5 or 6. Parents had moved to the 'country' by then, and Hatboro had a Reading stop, end of the line. Occasional freight service from New Hope. Used to hang around the station, hiding under the REA platform when a train came and hanging on so the 'suction' wouldn't pull us under the train. 16 years old, I'd ride the Reading into town, then ride the BSL, Market St. El. Exploring the City Hall tunnels. Riding the subway surface lines. Figured out how to ride from Broad Ridge to Locust St. Got stupid one day, me and a friend hopped a Pennsy Trenton Cut Off freight and couldn't get off until Norristown. Boy, our parents were "pissed" when we called for a ride.

Another great experience was visiting North Broad St Station. 4 tracks. Big GG1s would come in, and Grandad would hold me up to talk to the engineer. I remember the heat blowing out the windows, and the High Voltage signs near the pantographs, like an arms length away.

Passing things down to me grandson. Visits to Philly, ride the subway and Septa rail, staying at the Red Caboose in Strasburg, riding the Strasburg RR steam line. Pennsy Railroad Museum. Here in Orlando, riding the Sunrail end to end, and back.

Retired from the Navy, applied to Norfolk Southern and CXS, but got hired as a cop. Took almost 3 years to get a reply back, but I was too immersed in a new career.
  by CarterB
CarterB wrote:My late father was a huge railroad fan and historian, contributing to several books, and had a huge collection of original artifacts. As a youngster, my grandfather, while my father was serving during WWII, would take me to his place of work, the then Commodore Hotel in NYC. We'd ride the Staten Island Ferry, he lived in New Brighton, and then the Third Ave El up to 42nd st. I'd ride in the "railfan seat" up front first car. He'd often take me next door to GCT. Saw the then brand new 1948 Century there, among other trains. I was hooked. After the war we moved to Birmingham AL where there was still the Birmingham Electric, which I rode often, as well as taking the Silver Comet with my grandfather to spend summers in his home town in VA. After the Korean War, my father got a job in Tuscola, IL at a chemical plant, and it was there that I was introduced to the still running Illinois Terminal, under wire. Rode cars and fan trips literally all over the IT before it de-electified, and even a few special excursions after. Still have a pair of IT interurban marker lamps, one of the stained glass arch windows, and a rare original sign for IT sleeper service. Got to ride the C&EI Meadowlark to Chi, and then the one and only RDC (with trailer) that replaced it. Sometimes took the IC to/from Chicago with my parents. Been hooked ever since.

My grandson is now a big time railfan out in California. Even drives locomotives at age 8 at museums out there.
  by scottychaos
For me, it began in 1880, when my Great Grandfather Augustus Kremer (my Mothers grandfather) moved to Sayre PA as a young man to take a clerk/office job with the Lehigh Valley Railroad.
Then my Father's great grandfather also worked for the LV in Sayre, probably starting in the 1890's.
Then..both of my Grandfathers worked for the LV in Sayre, in the middle 20th century. One was an engineer, and one worked in the Sayre Shops.
Then..both of my parents were born in Sayre in the 1940's. (they did not work for the railroad! ;)
Then my parents met, in the early 60's. (and they lived in the same town because their ancestors came there to work for the railroad)
Then..I was born in Sayre in 1969.
Then..when I was a child in the mid-1970's, both of my Grandfathers, now retired, bought me HO scale trains as birthday and Christmas presents.
Then..in 1983, at age 14, I picked up my Dad's old 35mm camera and pointed it toward Conrail and D&H trains in Waverly NY and Sayre PA.
my niece is now a teenage railfan..and so it continues. 140 years and counting.