Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The not-so-lonesome call of the freight train whistle

In my town, the grade crossings over the railroad tracks come at two-block intervals, so it's a real challenge for the engineers passing through to give the appropriate combination of long-and-short blasts on their horns, to let folks know they're approaching. Most of the time, they just give up and run a series of extra-long blasts, essentially tooting once for the entire of our 31 crossings in 3 miles (I think that's what my sister told me when she was working for the NTSB, but I'm not so great with numbers. Any way you count, it's a LOT of crossings in a very short span).

Anyhoos, for the past few days, we've had a freight roll through, at the controls of which is a guy with a smidgen of whimsy. Instead of the aforementioned requisite (and impossible) combination of tootles, and instead of the single city-long blast, he's been playing "Shave and a Haircut - Two Bits" as he approaches the center of our community. I won't say at what hour, or any other hints at where and how this guy's been coming through (eastbound, westbound, or other such), because I don't want him (or her) to catch any official heck for his fun. It's a real bright spot in my day, when his train passes through.

I'd rather drive an engine than
Be a little gentleman;
I'd rather go shunting and hooting
Than hunting and shooting.

-Daniel Pettiward

No comments: