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Big Boy Was Really Big

When we moved some decades ago into our current home we did not realize the presence of the train switching yard just five blocks away. The cars bumping against each other sounded like explosions at first—and still do on occasion but we have grown accustomed to hearing the start of the railroad day at 5 AM. Too often traffic is stopped with a train over the main road to downtown–and always it seems when I am hurrying to church—and then the late night whistle that might be appreciated if it were a tune of some sort or many decibels softer.

Despite all this annoyance, the announcement of Big Boy coming through Beaumont and staying overnight was met with a great deal of interest and enthusiasm.

The railroad mowed the marshy area for its visitors—and people parked along the road and walked through the mud to gape at this huge train engine.

I asked a boy standing by to serve as a model/comparison in size for me—and a few others ducked under the caution tape to take a photo.

It is hard to properly photograph the immensity of this huge engine. Here is a fuel truck next to it.

Most of us were standing behind the caution tape in the marsh—until the guy with the orange safety vest took pity on us and moved the tape up so we could stand on sand instead of mud.

Rain was threatening but it did not stop a steady stream of on-lookers.

And just because I like the imagery of mechanical things.

Big Boy made a circular route through several states returning to its home in Cheyenne Wyoming. Taking time to wade through mud and chance a drenching was definitely rewarding—just the delight of something fun for all of those who came–instead of the daily grind of unpleasant news reports. This event was sensational—but in the best way.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Love trains and that’s a good thing. Sandpoint is a train “funnel” for as many as 7 lines. One runs yards away behind my place, with trees shielding sight of the trains most of the time but not the sound. Fortunately, whistle crossings are far enough away for the whistle blasts to be more romantic than yours. The thing that makes me laugh though is the way my duplex on the second floor shakes when trains go by. A few go through around midnight to 2:00 a.m. – I think one of them is Amtrak – and I am generally still awake reading or just trying to drop off and by now after 9 years of living here that faraway train whistle and the gentle shaking feel more like company than an irritation.

    Now a switching yard is another thing. When I was looking for a rental before moving, a savvy realtor steered me away from one that looked like it might fit. No no, she said, you do not want to live there. It is right next to a switching yard. Enough said! Those big old engines are something to behold and lucky you to get up and personal with one, in spite of the trudge through mud!

    September 5, 2021

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