Friday, October 07, 2016

Riding The Rails

When I was a child we took a family trip to California for one of my Dad's conventions.  My mother didn't want to ride the train through the mountains, so we took a southern route.  I believe that's why we had to drive to Chicago from New Jersey and catch the train there.  I'm sure there were trains to California out of New York, but we drove to Chicago instead.

I remember that trip because for me it was one of the best trips we ever took.  I loved the train! 

At one of the stops there was a dust storm and our porter let us stand on the steps for a picture.  For us that was a big adventure.
The only other picture I have of the train trip is our arrival at Palm Springs, California.  That's my mother on the left with her back to the camera.  She's dressed like June Cleaver.  Can you guess the year?  It was 1956.  People got all dressed up when they traveled.  We're all a little more relaxed today.
When I recently saw an ad in the newspaper for a train trip from Galveston, Texas to Brenham, Texas I jumped at the opportunity.  The trip was a fund raiser for the Galveston Railroad Museum.  The tickets weren't cheap, but I decided it would be a special day for us.  Ironically, the last time I rode a train it was the same one that was involved in the accident in Hoboken, NJ a couple of weeks ago.  I think that was back in 2005 or 2006, so it had been a while since I rode a train.  (I don't count the Metro train we take from the Park and Ride to the Houston Texans games a real train.  It's more like an above ground subway.)

The train ride was this past Sunday and we almost didn't make it.  On Thursday evening Reid ended up in the ER with eye complications from the Graft vs Host disease.  We waited until early Sunday morning to make the final decision about going and by then his eyes had responded some to the medication and he was game.

We were scheduled to leave at 9:00 and return at 4:00, but we ran a little late.  There were three engines although we only saw the one that I think belongs to the museum.  (These pictures will enlarge if you click on them.)
We just never walked to the other end of the train.We had tickets for the Amtrak car.  I believe the other cars were restored cars that belong to the museum.
We were pleased with our Amtrak car.  It had some of the modern conveniences of home.
We were able to stay charged the whole time.
We always see the train bridge when we cross over Galveston Bay on our way into Galveston on the Causeway Bridge.  It's a bridge that has to be lowered for the train and now we were on it.  (I took all of the pictures with my cell phone and many were taken while the train was moving through the train window which was a little soiled.)
I guess the truck belongs to the person that lowers the bridge.
To be honest we saw a lot of this...
...and this:
The train was moving and a lot of my pictures were blurry, but I did manage to get a picture of the SantaFe, Texas train station (we were in the dining car when I took this one)...
...and the Alvin, Texas train station.
We had to make a short stop in Alvin for the train mechanics to do something.  I'm not sure what they were doing, but I heard some banging.

This was in Rosenberg, Texas at the the Rosenberg Train Museum.  I wish the train hadn't been moving and the glass was clean, but you get the idea.  People were there waving and taking pictures.  This was the best of the bunch I took because we were moving too fast.
Then we crossed over the 59 freeway.

I think the thing that surprised me the most was all the people that came out to see the train.  All along the route they were at train crossings waving and taking pictures.  I couldn't get that many pictures along the route because by the time I saw them it was too late for a picture.  I did get some when the train slowed down.

This was in Bellville, Texas.  If you've ever been to Bellville you've probably stopped at the town bakery.  The building on the right is the bakery.  I used to stop there on my way to Round Top for the antique show.  They've got some really good baked goods.
 Ooops...I forgot about Sealy, Texas.  It's actually a little before Bellville.  On the way back through Sealy the police and fire departments were waving at a crossing, but I wasn't able to get a picture.

I did get this one in Sealy though.  I just can't remember if it was when we were coming or going.
When we reached Brenham, Texas we were greeted at different crossings.
Then they prepared the train for the ride back to Galveston.  The train didn't actually turn around.  There was one engine at one end and two at the other. I think they called it push and pull?  All that needed to be done was to turn the seats in our car around so we'd be facing in the right direction.  However, there was a slight problem.  The seats across the aisle from us wouldn't turn.  I thought this was one of the Amtrak mechanics, but he was a volunteer.  I think they said he was either in medical school or had just graduated.  He tried but the seats wouldn't budge.
 Finally a couple of the mechanics showed up and they got them turned.
In this picture you can see what I mean.  Our side had already been turned.
During the trip we did visit the dining car, but not for lunch.  We just wanted to check it out.
Some people did have lunch in the dining car.  It was a boxed lunch, but we brought our lunches back to our seats.  I did snap a picture of the people eating in the dining car.
As we were arriving back in Galveston I noticed these old rusty train cars parked on a side track.  I wonder if there are plans to restore them?
After we arrived some people posed for pictures.  I have no idea who these people are...I just snapped a picture.
We went inside the museum and posed.
Oops..I almost forgot.  Dan Pastorini was on our train.  He was a quarterback for the old Houston Oilers football team way back when.  He was sitting in the seat in front of me and people were getting his autograph.  I couldn't see who it was and wondered what was going on.  After he left I asked the lady across the aisle.  She told me and then gave me an extra autograph that she had gotten.  I'm going to put it with my Warren Moon, Bum Phillips, Giff Nielson autographed Oiler's football.  I was thrilled.

It was fun and I'd love to go again if they ever have another trip.


  1. Oh what fun! If they ever do that again, I want to go too! Train trips as a kid were some of the best memories. I guess all the places aling the way must have heard about the train coming for them to be out waving. A site to see passenger cars anyway. Thanks for sharing the fub.

  2. Okay first of all are you the younger sister or the older sister?
    How long was the train ride? Why didn't you eat lunch in the boxcar?
    Do they run this route all the time? The people outside were sure friendly waving. Sounded like you really had a good time -I am glad to know that you were able to go.

  3. Oooh, yours was a fun trip. I like how people came out or stopped and waved as your train went by. I'm one of those people who like to wave at trains. Also take photos of them going by. Tooot! Tooot!


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