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PC: Re: Columbus, Railfaning and Modeling

-----Original Message-----
From: Garrett Rea <Garrett.Rea -AT- worldnet.att.net>
To: Penn Central <penn-central -AT- smellycat.com>
Date: Tuesday, April 06, 1999 10:11 PM
Subject: PC: Columbus, Railfaning and Modeling

>Boomer et al:
>I see in your message that you fired on the Panhandle out of Columbus.  Did
>you run east or west of Cow Town?  I had a neighbor as a young child that
>was an engineer for PRR/PC/Amtrak by the name of Francis (Francy) Lewis,
>out of Columbus to Indiana till retiring in the late 1970's.  We lived near
>the N&W/PC lines north out of town, (Overbrook Drive near Cooke Road I-71
>exit)  I can remember watching trains with my father including the Freedom
>Afterwards, my family moved to Pataskala, Ohio in 1978.  My playground at
>school had a clear view of the Panhandle.  Two plus trains an hour those
>days, plus the National Limited if it was late. Often I would be dropped
>"downtown" while my father ran errands, and I would watch trains. (Never
>I go where I should not have and never thought of throwing a rock or
>stealing anything either I may add).  The best was when the ribbon rail
>in, a lot of slow trains nose to cabin, and a lot of waves from crews that
>rolled though town.
>These two items had an impact at me at a young age and thus helped develop
>my interests today.  The point being, yes we are "playing with our little
>toys", but I doubt that I am lucky enough to have anyone at home playing
>"OSHA Inspector" as I type this.  The only other two professions that have
>such a following are probably being a cast member on Star-Trek, or a Civil
>War soldier.
>Last Christmas I had a chance to stand by the Rt 16 bridge (on a public
>road) between Cols and Pataskala in a snowstorm and watch an Ohio Central
>GP30 and an old SD45(?) heading east.  The memories came flooding
>back......the tear jerker was the friendly wave......  Summit tower, the
>signals, the traffic, and the other track may be gone, but this is what
>railroading was to me. Despite the huge machenery and the miles of track,
>boils down to a wave, the most simple and primal human contact.
>Just think Boomer, it could have been your friendly wave from the cab that
>sparked it all on a warm spring day in the 1970s....
>Thank you sir,
>Garrett Rea
>Mt Juliet, TN
>Dear mr Garret, I should be angry with you! Cause now it is me that is
holding back the tears, you see I can remember  the first moment I ever
understood what the railroad was... when I was a little boy my father would
take us to the feed mill to teach us to be farmers and if we were
lucky.....sometimes..... there it would be.... the biggest machine in the
whole world...rumbling....smoking.... black....dirty....and there on the
side of the great machine the first word i can ever remember asking an adult
to explain to me.....PENNSYLVANIA...I was told it was a place. I knew that
it was the most important machine becuase the most important people in the
world ..ADULTS, had to stop their cars and trucks when the great machine
came and those who didnt well some were killed and their cars destroyed. I
wanted to know every thing about this PENNSYLVANIA and about the machine. To
my exquisite joy there came that moment when the men on the machine took
pity on me and asked me whether I would like to get up on it and go INSIDE.
It was dark inside with hissing and funny smells sort of like my father's
tractor but stronger,  I remember  being terrified and fascinated as though
it happened yesterday and it was 44 years ago.
    You mention how a little boy responded to a friendly wave from an
engineer, I will tell you a secret... the little boy received less of a
treat than the Engineer. I personally caught hell from more than one
official over the years for letting kids on the engine, but where will
railroaders come from otherwise? Anyway,... darn ya!..... lets settle your
questions. I am afraid i dont remember your friend mr francy but you know I
have a watch here in my pocket, bought new by a man I never knew,who died
before i was born, but he was a railroader and that is enough. And your
descriptiom of Mr lewis makes me feel he was a fine man and a good
railroader I may have met him but it sounds like I suffered a loss in not
knowing him better.
    You see i was only on the panhandle for a short time before being laid
offf permanently when the new yard at buckeye was finished and I hired out
as a brakeman on the NYC side and so the men who ran out of Buckeye to Avon
(INDY YARD) were a bit foreign to us.
      Anyway thanks for sharing the story of how you cuaght the railroad bug
with myself and the other members. and thanks for listening to me ramble on

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