Monday, June 13, 2016

Trains, Trains, & More Trains

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!

* * * * *
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.

* * * * *

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!


  1. Awesome train finds. I really want to ride a train. One of these days...

  2. All aboard!!!! My girlfriends and I took a train trip last fall. We had a blast. I see Winston Churchill in the rock. Is that spring water drinkaable, I wonder? Maybe not since the spring originates so far under the surface of the water. Stay cool!

  3. Well your sons like the trains but your landscapes made my heart go a big leap. Such gorgeous landscapes and that water fall, wow.

  4. Enjoyed the trains. I had a great time.

  5. Your grandsons must just love this blog entry! I liked seeing inside the old station with the old phone and the sleeping quarters of the workers. My favourite train picture is the orange train reflected in the water! So nice to get a bird's eye view of the tracks as well!
    For my birthday this year, my grandson wrote my name in Morse at a museum he visited with his mummy!

  6. Cathy, I love the posts you write that are especially for your grandsons. They are always so interesting, and I always learn something! I've never been to Arkansas and I love seeing it through your lens. It's so beautiful! And now you've made me want to write about trains myself!

  7. Thank you for sending those Gramma! (Isaac) Thank you for posting those Gramma! (Aaron)

  8. Aaron guessed what the telephone was correctly! Isaac thought it looked like a computer!

  9. Loved your train post, Cathy--it brought back memories of my childhood home which was located just down the street from the train tracks. They were a big part of my life--walked the tracks to and from school each day--fortunately managing to avoid all trains :)

  10. Thanks for sharing your beautiful images. Such wonderful iron beasts they are so iconic.

  11. Loved your train post. - My dad had a model train set and my grandpa was an engineer on a train so I've always enjoyed trains myself. Love counting the cars and I agree I miss seeing a "caboose" on the trains. You have some great shots here. Loved those ones from the Calico Rock look down on the tracks. Also that was a great mural at the end.

  12. What a fun outing, Cathy! I love trains too -- I just rode a train a couple of weeks ago, and it was delightful. There is something so relaxing about sitting in a comfy seat and watching the world go by. You got some wonderful shots from the bluff. What a beautiful area to explore. Maybe next year you can go with your grandsons.

  13. very cool, lots of great information!! i love trains, the thought of people on their way home, going on vacation, being joyful to be coming and going!! i love the sound of the whistle, i can hear it at night...the train in the next town over!!! there is something very intriguing about them!!!

  14. Trains remind me so much of Sheldon Cooper of TBBT. :)
    Though I'm not crazy about trains, I'd still enjoy going here. I like museums, zoos, and anywhere I can learn. I'm weird that way.

  15. Very interesting and colorful train posting, I love the trains too and the info on them but the landscapes are wonderful.

  16. such an interesting read. i have a deep love for trains, i have not spent much time on them so i'm not sure where it comes from. i always invision the passengers as being happy, riding to and from or perhaps taking a journey home.

    beautiful trains, i love that the conductors always wave. and such a pretty, colorful mural!!!

    well....i looked up and see i have already commented. i thought this sounded a little familiar but a lot of people post about trains. i'll leave it in place, it was nice to hear from you today. have a safe and happy holiday weekend!!!

  17. you are due for an update ;)

    thanks for always checking in!!!!!


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