Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Down At The Station

Down by the station
Early in the morning
See the little pufferfellies
All in a row

With one son and five grandsons that are train enthusiasts we've sung "Down by the Station" many, many times. We've been to train stations and train museums.

I can't even begin to tell you how many times we've sat beside railroad tracks and watched trains. We actually cheer when we get stopped at a railroad crossing. It doesn't matter to us how long the train is! You know how every family has it's own private lingo. We call railroad crossing gates...dingers.  Someone asked me why recently and I explained that our son loved trains even as a toddler and "dingers" is easier to say than "crossing gates!" And, they go...ding, ding, ding!

Anyway, back to the station. I stood there and imagined what it would have been like years ago when traveling by train across America. I could just see the hustle and bustle on the platform. I could hear the chattering of excited travelers; the bangs and bumping as the train was loaded with luggage, crates and barrels; and the hissing of steam from the old engine.

This depot in Hope, Arkansas was built in 1912 by the St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railroad. Most of the old stations along this route are built in the Mediterranean Revival style with gabled red tile roofs. The depot remained in use until 1968 and then sat unused for many years before it was turned over to the town.  Hope is the hometown of former President Clinton and to celebrate his presidential election in 1992 the citizens of Hope restored it. One end is a museum and the other is once again a working train station; a stop for Amtrac's Texas Eagle.

In another small town we passed through we even saw tracks going right down the middle of the street. I wondered how that would feel driving right beside a huge locomotive. My grandsons would love that!

In case your worried about me standing on the tracks...don't. This is a spur and the tracks are gated off, so there was no worry about a train coming. I'm not even sure the tracks are used very often. Those rails look pretty bumpy!  On the crossing gates in the distance is a red sign that says STOP. The trains on this spur would have to stop for the trains on the main line.

I have a confession. The tracks in the middle kind of blew my mind and I drove down the wrong side of the road. Not very far, just a few feet until I turned into an empty lot to take these pictures. Oops!! Mr. H just shook his head at me. Oh well, as you can see there weren't any cars around and thankfully no policeman!

This trip was one of our courthouse runs. I added four more courthouses to my photography project. I'll be back with some more pictures from the towns we went through.


  1. Great photos!
    I still love to travel by train.

  2. I love old train stations especially the ones in Europe, nothing like and old one and always makes me think of Orient Express. Oh how I would love to be able to take that train and think I am back in that time.

  3. Very very coo....there is a train museum in Galveston that I've been wanting to get to...waiting for cooler weather.

  4. I love old rail stations. I wish traveling by train was efficient today. I love your little confession. Its okay if happens to the best of us.

  5. So fun, Cathy. I'm glad the station was restored and is being used again as a train station in addition to being a museum. We're lucky to have an Amtrak line here, too - the Downeaster, it's called - I've taken the train from here to Boston a couple of times. It's pleasant and so much more relaxing than braving the traffic.

  6. How fun that your family shares this enthusiasm together - what fun! The restored depot is quite beautiful - how wonderful that it has been preserved.

  7. I love train tracks! especially old ones like this one. Great photos and story.

  8. You've captured some wonderful images of the station and the rails. What fun to share this passion for trains with your boys. I love your simple shot of the empty bench -- the light is beautiful.

  9. It is fun to see trains. We always try to count the cars on them if we are traveling and see one moving. I like (dingers) better the train crossing too. Much more fun.

  10. There's something special about trains and stations, isn't there? You've captured the essence of a small station (so much nicer than the big ones with express trains whizzing past!). The first shot is surely of Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends! I can see why your five grandsons would enjoy watching the trains go by - and that's something fun you enjoy with them. I went online to listen to "Down By the Station" song too!

  11. These are wonderful photographs, and I enjoyed your recollections of your son's and grandsons' enthusiasm for trains--especially the one about "dingers." My brother, sister, and I rode the train to our grandfather's town once that I can recall--a distance of 13 miles or so--but we loved it.


Thanks so much for stopping by!!