Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Here that Lonesome Whistle Blow

In one of my early posts here I mentioned that the sound of a Train Whistle in the night is one of my favorite things.That the sound is soothing to me is a minor or maybe a major miracle. It;s all because of my dad and his frugal german side that wore off on two of my brothers but not on myself and the other two.I'm not sure what year it was but I think it was 1969.Starting in 1967 we had taken the family tent camper for two weeks at Easter from Rochester,NY down to Florida.The Easters before that we had always wound up in D.C.for the trip.So 69 would have been our third trip driving down to FL the Ford Wagon pulling the trailer.I-95 was still partly finished then especially in the Carolinas so one still took long stretches on US Route 17?.Anyhoo one night we were in South Carolina around dusk near Francis Marion Natl Forest near the I believe little pee-dee river when my dad spots a mobile home park.He pulled in and talked to the owner and the guy told us we could stay the night and pointed us to the very end past the big trailers of residents to a small clearing at the end by some railroad tracks.On the road to FL. it was early to bed so we could get going early and we popped up the canvas roof on our tent trailer and were soon snug in our bags three to a side with my brother on a cot in the middle on the floor.Around 9:45 that night I wake to hear a train whistle blowing and in seconds the roar of a train full out is coming through our trailer.I really thought the freakin thing was going to take us out.After it went through there was much talk and then off to sleep.An hour later here comes another train doing the same thing.This time we are all laughing and I think eight trains went through that night and by the amount of time they sounded all like freight trains.Since we were out in the country they all came through full speed and since there was a dirt road crossing less than a mile away we found out next morning the whistle sounded each time.


Colburn said...

I love hearing train whistles at night too. Most places I've lived have been near tracks, but usually farther than I would like. The best spot was when I lived in West Berkeley, close enough to hear the trains loud and clear, but not close enough to hear the freeway traffic.

But you have to be careful around heavy, fast-moving objects:

ANDERSON _ A 29-year-old woman who was walking on railroad tracks while talking on her cell phone is recovering after being struck by a freight train.

The conductor of the Union Pacific train told authorities that Melinda Champion was talking on her phone when the train hit her from behind on Wednesday.

The train was headed south near Anderson, a town in far north-central California. A police sergeant said the conductor applied the emergency brakes when he spotted the woman, who apparently did not hear the train's whistle or feel the vibrations on the tracks.

The train struck her at about 45 mph, bouncing her to the side of the tracks.

Police Sgt. Bob Curato told The Associated Press on Thursday that Champion was recovering at a local hospital, but her condition was not available.

JAbel said...

I had a friend who lived in Winter Park,Fl years ago and was down for his wedding.Every night the freights would come through far enough off that you heard the whistle but it wasn't eye opening.Something about hearing a train in the night in the South seems bittersweet to me.After all it was their lack of rail lines and the ones they did have being different gauge that helped lead to the South's downfall in the War between the States.