Saturday, October 24, 2009

All Aboard!

I've never lived in a town without a train. When I was a child in Everett I could hear the distant whistle of the Burlington Northern as I was falling asleep on a still night. Seattle's King Street Station was my point of departure and return when I traveled with others from my high school to Cheyenne, WY for a week. I remember the fun in the lounge car and trying to walk smoothly down the aisle as we hurtled along. But mostly I remember the spectacular sunrise in the Rockies. It mesmerized me.

Years later, during Samuel's train phase, we took a family trip to Portland to see my sister Peach. Not only did we make the most of all that Amtrak had to offer -- including a magic show -- but we took a train ride through Portland's Washington Park on our zoo visit, and we went to a pumpkin patch with a train that ran around a lake on the property. It was perhaps the most exciting train ride of all that weekend, as pirates attacked a raft in the middle of the lake and an animatronic Jaws surfaced long enough to be menacing, then re-submerged.

Of course the train had stopped running through our neighborhood in Western New York a century before we moved there, but the old railroad grade was still evident, even on the family property. As the story goes, the tracks were taken up and shipped off to Europe to be used during World War I but the ship sank and the rails are now somewhere in the Atlantic! The random fruit trees along the grade were seeded by apple cores that passengers threw from the windows of their lumbering trains.

I spent much of my three years in Japan on the train, but that's another story.

Soon we will have our own train station, right here in Stanwood. I'm imaging Peter, Susan, Lucy and Edmund sitting on the bench, heading off to Narnia. More likely it will be commuters, grateful to catch a few extra ZZZZs on their way to work, and folks off to Seattle to shop or see a Seahawks game. The late night train whistles that put me to sleep these days will take on new meaning for me as I realize that the station, just down the hill from us, is making life more accessible for us and our neighbors.

1 comment:

Brian Bundridge said...

Hi Ginger,

Great post! There are talks about restoring the old Amtrak Pioneer which would go to Cheyanne, Wy once again. There are also talks about restoring the North Coast Hiawatha via Stampede Pass. While you would have to travel to Seattle to get either of these hopeful future trains, it is good to see that we may have more options here!

The state has funding available for a third Seattle - Vancouver, BC trip effective in January 2010. I don't think it will actually run to Vancouver, BC however until after the Olympics and if the dispute between the Canadian Border Services and Amtrak can be resolved.