Love and Hate


Trains of thought can haunt the mind.  These are thoughts and memories of places gone and people known.  They carry with them acute awareness of time's endless assault upon the works of men, the lands, and perhaps especially ones own self - all captured in haunting trains of thought.

What sets these trains to rolling?  Sometimes it is a glimpse of a red sunset that starts their parade, or an accidental look to the West, or a seemingly inexhaustible heat on a long summer day with unlimited ceiling.  Whatever the cause, they come ... and with them love and hate.

Cresting the Rockies and the Great Divide the transcon starts the grade down to Butte.  With the grade come the trestles, and what is today, bike trail.  Along the way houses and driveways encroach and use the old mainline in ways that surveyors and track gangs never foresaw.  Manifests and passenger trains, electrics and orange bay windows are now simply relics of different eras.  Below, Butte herself offers a vista to those who would come this way and ponder some of these things - should they tempt the passing trains of thought.


But dear reader, be careful for there is love and hate in these trains of thought. To consider these things and the stories of life they tell drives one to it.

Comments

Fred M. Cain said…
Somber images and thoughts to be sure. It’s an American tragedy to be sure. A terrible loss. Not a human loss of life but still a significant loss for our Nation.

The sad possibility is that if only through some miracle, some act of extreme luck, if the line had been kept on life support for another five years it might have survived after all. By 1985 the Staggers Act was in effect which largely deregulated the railroads. Suddenly America’s railroads were stronger and the stock market and economy were both booming.

A very well-known authority on the railroad reported that the fastest train between Chicago and Seattle made the dash in an amazing 55 hours which not only beat the competing rail lines but actually beat some over-the-road truck transit times!

Today the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) needs 83-86 hours for its fastest train from Chicago to Vancouver. How could the CPR improve on that? How ‘bout it CPR? Are you up to the task? A rebuilt Pacific Coast Extension brought up to modern standards could probably make the trip in 50 hours flat. That would cut over a day off of container transit times.

Regards,
Fred M. Cain,
Topeka, IN

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