The long, straight roads in eastern and central Wyoming are perfect places to do some trainspotting while driving. The last few weeks, I’ve seen a lot of long, long trains going by me as I drove on back roads.
I was driving so I couldn’t count the cars but some went on for 5-7 minutes, me heading north while they headed south.
A few engineers noticed my Subaru and Alto slowing down and snapping pics out the window and gave me a whistle. I waved back and sometimes got a second whistle, as if to acknowlege we were both lonesome travelers in this country.
There was no one on the road but me for miles at a time, so no one to notice that I slowed to enjoy the brief exchange with the train team.
One train was double-stacked cargo, full or empty I couldn’t tell. Heading for LA or Galveston or some other big shipping port, I imagine.
And then there were the grain trains, long and slow, off to destinations unknown.
Most of the engines had American flags on them, faded as the rest of the paint, but still flying. These workhorses of the railroad have many, many miles on them but they still chug along, crisscrossing the country with goods of all kinds.
I grew up watching long, slow trains across the California/Arizona desert as my family drove from LA to Phoenix and back to visit relatives. Seeing a long line of boxcars takes me back in time, and I always smile at the memories unearthed by the sound of steel wheels and train whistles.
There’s something about the sound of a train
that’s very romantic and nostalgic and hopeful.