Riding the Rails

I will probably be off line for a few days while I pack up some things from our house and move into our temporary digs.

I have a new job which promises to keep me very busy. We tried the business gig for over a year and with the uncertainties of the economy and health care law influences, customers were reluctant to bring in services no matter how much they needed them. So I am one of the very lucky that had the education, skills, and drive to be able to find something with a regular paycheck.

The new location is far enough away that we have to move again. (For anyone counting, its our 19th move as a couple.)

The house is on the market and we are praying for a buyer to show up one of these days. Since we woke up in different locations, I ended up taking AMTRAK to get home. I arrived at the Greensburg AMTRAK station before dawn and felt like I had taken a step back in time.


The trip has been pretty nice.

Five hours to go a distance that normally takes three to drive. I’ve napped, Facebooked, and now am finishing my trip with this short entry. I’ve also had some time to think about how great this country is. We rode through the mountains of Western and Central Pennsylvania and saw the beauty of the fall foliage. We rode past old towns with people who continue to reinvent themselves each time the economy changes.


The best part of the trip though is travelling through the world famous Horseshoe Curve outside of Altoona.

This is an amazing engineering feat that allowed trains to travel a very difficult route all the way back in 1854.  The pictures didn’t turn out so well which is okay since it would have taken a much nicer day to really highlight the magnificence. You can read about it in more depth here: http://www.railroadcity.com/altoona_horseshoe_curve/index.php


I heard about the story from one of my best friends in the world, a lifelong railroad man from Virginia named Danny who visited us this summer in our Pennsylvania home. He and ML stopped off at the Curve on their way down to see us. Thanks for the tip Danny. It was indeed a special day.


The most amazing part of the Curve is that it was built without taxpayer’s dollars.

Yep. The men who built the railroad built the most amazing thing with nothing more than their ingenuity and their own money. That’s how this country really came to greatness. For the longest time, pioneers forged trails and businesses laid tracks. If you wanted to advance your station in life, you earned it. You built the roads you needed and you put your heart and soul into it.


Its funny that I would  be touting non-governmental success while sitting in the car of a wholly supported government program like AMTRAK. How did we get to the place where the only viable passenger system in the country is a government propped up entity? That, boys and girls is a story for another day. For today, I just appreciated that it was there and I had a chance to once more ride the rails.


We passed a lot of Norfolk and Southern trains today, many loaded with coal. I wonder how much longer those trains will survive if the current administration is reelected.
Since they hate coal so much, I wonder what they plan on doing with all those train people’s jobs that aren’t going to be needed?

DSCF1622     DSCF1623

All Aboard!!!

Mister Mac


One thought on “Riding the Rails

  1. That’s one of the great reasons that I often, when i go back east to Philadelphia, take Amtrak. The old Pennsy line through Pennsylvania is amazing. the other two parts that I like is that the Pennsy ended up buying the mess that the state tried to foist on the taxpayers, and that the turnpike is built on another old Railroad right of way built by private capital. Heh!

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