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  1. #1 down at the depot 
    Senior Member franksolich's Avatar
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    The days are long gone, never to come again, but once in a while I wax nostalgic for railway passenger travel--even though such was already pretty much in the past by the time I was around. As a small child, I twice rode the Union Pacific's City of Denver from North Platte, Nebraska, to Denver, and once rode the Union Pacific's City of Portland from North Platte to Cheyenne, Wyoming.

    This was before Amtrak.

    I rode the once-Chicago, Burlington & Quincy's California Zephyr from Lincoln, Nebraska to Chicago, but that was after Amtrak had taken over the works.

    I rode the once-Pennsylvania's Broadway Limited from Chicago to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, also after Amtrak had taken over; this was not the same trip as the abovementioned ride.

    I have no idea my mileage, but I undeniably rode the rails much more during three winters in western Europe, and almost two years in the socialist paradises of the workers and peasants.

    During my childhood, the family lived alongside the verdant flatlands of the Platte River of Nebraska, on the main line of the Union Pacific railway, over which in my time ran the City of Los Angeles, the City of San Francisco, the City of Portland, the City of Denver, and the Challenger; I have vague memories of observing these trains, but was too young and too green to notice much.

    During my adolescence, the family lived in the heart of the Sandhills of Nebraska, on a branch-line of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railway, over which ran one daily passenger train, unnamed, from Omaha to Billings, Montana.

    They had the schedule all wrong, though; the train was scheduled to pass through the gloriously scenic Sandhills during the middle of the night, so as to reach the tree-infested buttes of western Nebraska, and then the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming, during the day time.

    The photographs below were snapped by my then-8-year-old younger brother, one summer morning when something on the train broke down, and it was stranded in our town all day long.

    franksolich is one of the two boys shown in the distance, in the second photograph.






    I remember the Pullman porter very well; he was a gentleman, a professional, through-and-through, obviously someone who cared about his work and his passengers. The train's long gone, but one hopes he flourishes and prospers.
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  2. #2  
    Senior Member franksolich's Avatar
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    I have only misty memories of these, although I saw them pass through often enough.

    These are not any of my photographs; they were swiped from google images, and obviously taken nowhere near the Platte River of Nebraska. However, the trains looked the same no matter what terrain they were on.



    City of Los Angeles (Chicago-Los Angeles)



    City of San Francisco (Chicago-San Francisco)



    City of Portland (Chicago-Portland); I actually own this exact brochure



    City of Denver (Chicago-Denver)



    Challenger (Chicago-Los Angeles)
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  3. #3  
    Senior Member Chris's Avatar
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    The train depot in Columbia, TN is still there. It's decrepit and falling down, but it's an interesting example of what small-town train depots looked like. I don't know of any other towns in the area that still have their old depots, most having been torn down or rebuilt in the last century.

    I'll see if I can get some photographs next time I'm down there.
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  4. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    The train depot in Columbia, TN is still there. It's decrepit and falling down, but it's an interesting example of what small-town train depots looked like. I don't know of any other towns in the area that still have their old depots, most having been torn down or rebuilt in the last century.

    I'll see if I can get some photographs next time I'm down there.
    Long before I can remember, there used to be trains from the small farming towns running in the the bigger town here. Basically, just a local passenger service. Of all the small towns that had them, there is only one building left standing. For years it was an empty abandoned building until someone bought it, restored it and opened it as an antique store.

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  5. #5  
    Resident Grandpa marv's Avatar
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    ...an old postcard of Kansas City's Union Station at completion in 1914:


    The Union Station today:


    The last time I road a train was April 6, 1958, when I reported for duty in the USAF. I don't count the endless hours on the Woodale commuter between Elk Grove Village and the Chitcago loop.

    http://members.socket.net/~mcruzan/images/allen-west.jpg

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  6. #6  
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    My uncle was a conductor for the Pullman coaches. His usual runs were New York to Chicago or New York to Miami. Sometimes he went all the way to the west coast and back.
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  7. #7  
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    Frank, if you ever find yourself in Michigan, head to Manistee. You'll find a very interesting bit of old rail history.

    http://carferry.com/
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  8. #8  
    Senior Member franksolich's Avatar
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    I just checked, as I hadn't been to these places for years.


    The Union Pacific depot alongside the Platte River, where I spent my first years; it's still there but apparently it's a museum now.


    The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy depot in the Sandhills, where I spent my adolescence; it's still there, and still used by the now-Burlington Northern.

    Neither seems to have changed from the ways I remember them.
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  9. #9  
    Moderator RobJohnson's Avatar
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    I always enjoyed waving to the guy in the caboose.


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  10. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobJohnson View Post
    I always enjoyed waving to the guy in the caboose.


    As a kid in grammar school, I walked the dirt road to and from the little school house. It was just over a mile to school and the dirt road ran right along side the railroad tracks. The train would sometimes be switching out cars at the siding in front of the school. One day while they were switching, we were talking to the guy in the caboose and he offered us a ride. The caboose had two rooms and in one was a pot belly coal burning stove with a coffee pot on top. We rode the little over a mile home in the caboose and then he signaled the engineer to stop and lets us off....greatest adventure any of us had had up until that time.

    I've rode the scenic trains and the trains in parks but none compare to the thrill of that caboose ride.
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