Thursday, April 19, 2007

All steamed up!

Before I forget -- and to prove I can still function when mildly inebriated -- I chanced on an unusual sight today.

I was driving back to my home Where The Ghetto Meets The Sea and happened to see a steam locomotive on the tracks near the docks...



This is an unusual sight, to say the least. Turns out that there's going to be a "Train Festival" on Saturday, and the locomotive was brought down -- under it's own steam, so to speak -- from Union Station in Los Angeles to join in the festivities.

Six or seven cars were attached to the big steamer for the 30-mile trip. One of them was this Pullman car, which appears -- if the "Pacific Sands" name is any indication -- to have served on the late, lamented Coast Starlight line before being retired...



On an adjacent track, a remarkably accurate replica of a Pacific Electric "Red Car" -- which provided mass transit throughout Southern California before the system was scrapped in the 1950s -- was sitting. The originals were scrapped, or sent to Japan to be converted into Toyotas, many years ago. At great expense, the city commissioned a couple of replicas, but the tracks that extended from the desert to downtown to the sea are gone, and they now run only along a small stretch of rail here...



I remember riding on the Red Cars as a small child. I remember riding behind steam locomotives, and hearing their far-off whistles as I lay in bed....

Now, the steam locomotives, and the Red Cars, are nothing more than curiosities, museum pieces.

I feel very old tonight.

9 comments:

Justfly said...

Trains are still very cool :) I sent my son from NYC home on the Amtrak the other day, he likes it more than a plane ride. It is more comfortable, more roomy, one can walk around and one can look at the window and see more than clouds and mini houses.
We have cargo trains that comes through our town. I still love when I catch one coming through and I have to stop. I STILL love to hear the train from my house.
Great photographs, not even a hint of inebriation!

MrScribbler said...

You're so young, JF!

I'm talking about steam-engine whistles in the night, and the sound of propeller-driven aircraft overhead (DC-7s, for example) in the daytime....

lowandslow said...

How cool is that? That would be a fun event to attend. :)

betty said...

I love trains. Remember my story of my grandfather and the mail? I always stop and watch a train go by. To me they're magical. Love the pictures. :)

Sunny said...

I like the first picture. That is a very fine photo! I love traveling on trains, anyway.

kathy said...

I love trains! There is still one near here that does dinner theatre, and we've always said we should do it before it's gone.
Hope you get some pics tomorrow!

Birdie said...

I enjoyed my train ride yesterday... very fast, very modern. But I really like those old kinds, too. We have a train museum near here... sad to say, I haven't taken the time to visit it.... :-(

Birdie

joan said...

Oh, those are grand! I love old trains. I had the chance to ride the old British steam engines in India. I think even those have mostly been replaced by now.

DAL said...

There's an old locomotive downtown in front of the city owned marina. I should get up close to the friggin' wrought iron fence around it and get a few snaps, eh?

My mother used to ride a train from her home to the city about 40 miles south, where she worked in a nylon factory. Long time ago. They nicknamed the train the "Kick and Push".