From the Publisher’s Desk: All aboard!


By Bruce Schlabaugh

I am originally from Indiana. I grew up in a small town — Warsaw.

Our house was only two houses away from the Pennsylvania Railroad. Indiana is flat as a pancake. This train ran between New York and Chicago and it would come past our street really moving.

This was the middle of a 30-mile long straight stretch of track. It came through at night with crossing signals ringing, the train roaring and the lights flashing. I slept through it all, but God help any of my friends who came over to spend the night. They got no sleep at all.

When I was about 10, the “Pensy” engine was parked right on our street. They were putting in new rocks and ties. The engineers were just sitting there while the work was being done. I rode up on my 20-inch Schwinn and was staring up at the cab.

To my surprise, the engineer put out his arm and invited me to “climb aboard.” So I spent several minutes up there looking at switches, levers and a neat water cooler. The engineer even had the great hat and overalls. What an experience.

I became a huge train fan shortly thereafter. I have gobs of Lionel trains in my basement. This includes Plasticville buildings, old cars and people, street lights, crossing signals and a myriad of other train scenery.

In Colorado, I have gotten to go on several train rides, the most memorable being the Durango to Silverton narrow gauge train. Breathtaking scenery is hardly an apt description. My wife and I even took Amtrak from Greeley to Racine to visit her family. I loved every minute of it; Natalie not so much.

A year ago, we drove up to Winter Park and went round trip on Amtrak from there to Glenwood Springs. The last part of that trip is when the train follows the river through Glenwood Canyon with spectacular views.

This month, our travel section features train museums. I have seen the “General” at the Pueblo museum. This is a monstrous old “iron horse.”

Seniors seem to have a thing for trains. They are very nostalgic and I would recommend a trip to any one of the Colorado museums. However, I would also highly recommend a ride this summer on one of the classic old narrow gauge routes.

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