The love of trains seems to run in our family. It's not just the men in the family either. I love trains. I love to sit at crossings and watch the train go by. Most people get irritated. Not me, I love to watch them. I love to count the engines and the train cars. I even like to look at the graffiti.
It all started when my son was little. We sometimes crossed a railroad track to get home. He couldn't wait to see if there was a train on the track. He would see one way down the track and we'd have to turn around or pull over to watch the train go by. That love passed right on down to the next generation. As most of you know I have five grandsons, they all love trains.
When I was out this weekend traveling in northern Arkansas with my sister, I wished so many times that the boys were with me. They would have been thrilled. I saw trains and trains and trains. I thought the best way to let them see the pictures was to post them here. This post is picture heavy and probably only interesting to my grandsons and those who enjoy trains. So if you don't stay around to the end, I understand!
The train fun began in Mammoth Springs. We went to see the spring which is the largest spring in Arkansas and one of the largest in the world. This spring flows at a rate of 9.78 million gallons per hour and the water is cold - 58 degrees Fahrenheit! You can't see the actual spring because it is more than 70 feet below the water level of the spring pool. All this water forms the Spring River. Okay, enough about the water, let's talk trains! In 1886 a railroad depot was built near the spring. The first railway to use the lines was the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Memphis Line. Around 1900 the St. Louis - San Francisco or "Frisco" railway took over the operation of the depot. The depot has been remodeled and now is a museum. They had the best displays to show a little about how the station was run.
This is the telegraph operator siting at his desk sending a message further down the line using Morse Code. Hey, grandsons, it might be fun this summer to go here and see the dots and dashes that were used in Morse Code. You could write messages to each other!
Next, we have a fine looking gentlemen buying his train ticket. He must have been going far, because he sure has a large trunk. I just noticed that you can see part of me in this picture. The displays were behind glass and if you look right on the man's jacket, you can see my arm reflected in the glass!! Moms, you might have to explain what that strange brown thing hanging on the wall is.
This device is a trail drill. It was used around 1930 for drilling holes in the rails for connecting the rail ends.
Oh, how I miss seeing cabooses behind the trains.
Can you imagine sleeping here with several other workers?
As we were walking around the spring pool, we heard a train coming and hurried to take a picture. The depot is no longer in use as a station, but the tracks are still used. I thought it was fun to see the train's reflection in the water.
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Day two of our trip found us in Calico Rock along the White River. The town was named, Calico Rock, by French fur traders because the bluffs had a calico-patterned color, kind of like calico cats. After we walked around town, we were hungry and hot, so we began looking for a shaded area to eat our lunch. We found a bluff overlooking the river. We stood in the shade, munched on our sandwiches, and just enjoyed the beauty of the river. After we ate we walked out on this huge bluff and look what we saw below us; railroad tracks along the edge of the bluff and river. Oh, I wished we'd seen a train here!
I was looking at the rock that is jutting out. The one with the goldish color on it. Doesn't that look like the side of a man's face? I can see his eyes, his nose, and his chin. Can you see it? I think he's watching for boats on the river. Just so you know, Gramma was very safe! You know I don't really like heights, so I am not anywhere near the edge of the bluff. I'm way back and using the zoom on my camera!
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Stop #2 for this day was in Batesville. We were looking for some ghost signs. Ghost signs are advertising signs that were painted many years ago on the sides of buildings. If you'd like to see one you can go here and you can see one that is advertising Coca-Cola. Right across the street from the old building was another train track and guess what . . . here comes another train!
Remember the safety I talked about? It looks like I'm too near the track, but I'm not. I'm actually standing on a side walk in front of a building, but once again I zoomed in close. This train stopped for a while, we waited patiently in the shade until it began to roll again.
Let me tell you that train whistle was loud and long. There are not crossing gates here only lights and sound, so the engineer was blowing VERY loud and VERY long! He spotted us taking pictures and gave us a two-handed wave.
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Looking for more of those ghost signs, we headed to Bald Knob and there was another train track running through the older part of town.
We walked to the back of the station, stood at the end of the station platform, and looked down the line. One train was stopped, but there's another one coming in the distance. The one standing still blocked at least two crossings for probably about 45 minutes. Some cars on the road waited on it to pass, but most of them turned around.
Finally the train began to move on, cleared the crossings, and headed on down the line. Right after it left another train came. We were really concerned that the crossing gates did not go down as it approached! Then, we realized it was on a different track. If you look really close you can see the different tracks. The track it was on was right on the other side of the gates and that track had signals, but not crossing gates!
Lastly, we found this beautiful mural painted on an old building. Bald Knob is well known for it's trains and it's wonderful strawberries.
Now, you can see what I meant about seeing so many trains. I'm glad I can share them with you. Hope you enjoyed!
To my grandsons . . . much love from Gramma! I thought of you every time I saw a train!