Saturday, December 1, 2012


Alco Road Switcher, Portola, 2012

I just love this image, and I know it will print out gorgeous. I will not tell another railroad story today. I am getting ready for Arts Alive. I have numerous photographs on the wall and in a print bin. They are all for sale and discounted at least 25%.

Well, I was wrong. I do have a story about Alcos like this one. When I was in school at Sierra Junior High in Bakersfield, I would often see a Southern Pacific train that had three of these engines on the head-end. The almost daily, train ran on the SP main line. My school was near the line. Whenever I heard the train I always stopped whatever I was doing, either in the classroom or out side, and imagined that I was in the cab and running that train.

I observed that the train consisted of, what to me appeared to be, many cement hoppers, and I deducted that the train took the cars to the Monolith Cement plant near Tehachapi. I was familiar enough with the route that I could day-dream for a long while. That is where I wished to be - not at school. I eventually manifested a version of those day dreams. I did not run Alcos up and down the hill, but I did run SP diesels past that school many times within about a dozen years of making those wishes.

To me, the railroad experience was the most idyllic when I was in the seventh and eighth grades, and now that I am in my sixties. My experiences in my twenties and early thirties did include some wonderful times, but the reality of working shifts, and often working short-rested was not the same as the dream.