Something else like this

Three cars in town today. This is likely the complete tonnage for the spur this year.

“Yup, that’s the new railroad. The locomotives aren’t their’s but they seem like they’re trying.” He’s smiling and looks just a little proud and I guess he’s been around long enough to remember the big railroad at its prime and the time in between. His remark sounds alot like what you’d say about your kid’s first date.

From Something Like This, Prince Street 2015 (

It was 2015 when I was last able to chase a train that far but I remember it like it was yesterday. No quicker than I can type this than I swear I can hear exhaust note those Alco’s punched into the sky. I still wonder how they can get something like a locomotive to move between dandelions and blades of grass one at a time, in search of a set of set of rails, as gracefully as a seed carried in the wind. That chase was all something that might only work once and made even better with a rare mileage move to drop three house cars for a farmer to load (if I remember correctly). And that was seven years ago, or seven seconds ago in my memory.

This time they got here first. That sounds like more excitement than it really was. Me and my Volvo are pushing as hard as we can and over on the railway they’re doing, what, maybe ten miles per hour trying to remember where they left the track last time. Hay loading is why they’re here today. Me? I’m here because they are.

Manheim, QC

I kept wanting to go back and repeating my memory of that one great game and how it played–so I could tell you a new story. It took seven years for it to happen again. Yesterday, a GP9 in place of a pair of Alco’s, but the same practiced hand shoving a throttle straight into notch eight sending a plume of exhaust and my heart squarely back into place. The clumsy fool holding my camera isn’t always sure where to press and often my photo albums of life out here, where the rails play hide and seek in a field of dandelions and long grass, don’t look like the love we have for this but they remain our most treasured bookmarks from being here when we met.

The lead photo is one from a post I wrote in 2015 describing a layout I was planning that I am absolutely convinced is my favourite of all the model railways I ever built even though it never really progressed much past the state it was in on that day when I ran an operating session pushing models around on cardboard. The second photo is one from an operating session on my current layout. That current layout is On30 but those models are HO scale. That common gauge was close enough to invite me to fool around with a different operating session from the one I host regularly on the layout. When we evaluate a track plan the popular question yearns “is it enough?” and I thought to myself how very little it takes to trigger an powerful emotional reaction that makes what should absolutely not be right into something so vividly realistic we wouldn’t know how to ask for more.

Categories: How I think, My Favourite Prince Street

2 replies

  1. Beautifully expressed, I’m so happy I stopped by before bed to see if there was anything new…
    As I said elsewhere, the connection between past (top photo) and future (bottom photo) through the vehicle of Victoria (present) is a wonderful thread, a ribbon (not of steel, but nevertheless as strong) wandering through our hobby and our life connecting the dots and making sense of what means what to us, when we stop to look for it.

    • Thank you. Reflecting on the conversation we’re having I did go back and edit this to focus it on the point but the value of it feels every bit as rich. I love chasing the train out here.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: