Apparently there has been a retired steam engine parked in my home town since my Dad was little – and I had no idea! Growing up, one of my Dad’s favorite activities was to take us “goofing off,” which entailed exploring our own city and finding as many cheap and free things to do – so how did we miss the train? Oh, Dad knew about it; he use to visit it when he was a kid. Oh well, I probably enjoyed it more as an adult getting to watch my three little train lovers explore the giant train.
In his defense, until the last few years it was merely an old steam engine and coal car parked in a city park. Then a group of retired railway men adopted the site, added a few more cars and created the Railroad Historical Museum. The cars are full of old pictures and train paraphernalia, which the kids were mostly dis-interested in, except for one model train built for and displayed in the 1904 World’s Fair. It still moves and makes noise – what train lover wouldn’t love it?
They may not have loved the museum-y stuff, but climbing through the cars was right up their ally.
I never understood why train drivers are called engineers, until I stepped on the cab. It would take an advanced degree in mechanical engineering to figure out all those knobs, levers and valves.
The train’s bell and Choo-Choo whistle have been rigged so that kids and ring and choo them from the side of the train. Big Hit! Ben and Cassie needed a little help getting them to work…
But not Andy. He walked right up to those ropes and showed them who’s boss.
Ok, so quite possibly the cutest part of the day is one I almost missed. We all walked to the very front of the train to see the bell, cow catcher and all the little things that make it so cool. Andy kept running up and down the train, ring the bell – run to the front – ring the bell – run to the front, and I couldn’t figure what he was doing. Finally, Aunt Katy figured out he was trying to see the bell when it rang. It took some convincing, but he stayed at the front with Papa Neal while Katy and I took turns ringing the bell for him.
We had so fun with Papa Neal and Aunt Katy on our last visit home and I’m really looking forward to our visit this weekend!