And then it started to pull that long train away from the station without a jerk, just a smooth movement forward. The crowd along the tracks moved back a step or two as the huge locomotive barked and shot its exhaust straight up out of the stack and up and around the highway bridge passing over the tracks. A machine built in 1944 thrilled people on its Ohio Mother’s Day trip. A locomotive that has not been in regular revenue service since 1958 pulled that train down the tracks and made huge crowds wave and applaud as it passed with its whistle screaming and steam rolling behind it.
Was it the size of the engine? Was it the noise and the power? Was it the memories that it touched? Was is it all of those things and the wish that they had a ticket to ride behind that black locomotive pulling those 17 cars?
In a world where nobody even looks up anymore when a jet flies overhead people will drive long distances and wait for hours to see a steam locomotive at speed heading toward them, pass and disappear with its whistle trailing off.
There is definitely something there that will bring out the crowds and the riders the next time Nickel Plate Road 765 heads out.