Train Sounds

Two AM and that train ~ with it’s mournful cry ~ makes me sad.*

Living in rural Texas, trains and their sounds are a way of life. Unfortunately, there are no more passenger trains that arrive in my little sleepy Central Texas town, but freight trains still move what we all need to make our lives easier from point A to point B on a South to North trip or a North to South journey every day.

I don’t know exactly how many railroad crossings exist in our county, however, there are three in town that are protected with safety arms and flashing lights. There are three unprotected crossings as well.

I don’t have a clue what the daily schedule for trains coming through town happens to be, but I do know there seem to be more than necessary traveling through in the wee hours of the morning. Their mournful sounds beginning at the farthest crossing still in the country- side and continue all through town. The sounds change and the length of blasts are different depending on the type of crossing. Unprotected crossings receive a long continuous blast until the train is actually going through the crossing while the protected railroad crossings receive quicker shorter blast of the horn to get the attention of the daredevils who try to ‘beat’ the train and sneak through the protective arms.

To my knowledge, there has never been a car train accident since I began living here as a young child. However, I have lost former students to a grisly death by train when they were not paying attention at an unprotected crossing in far West Texas towns. Trains should always be respected and not ignored.

My little town sits nestled in a valley with a small hillside protecting the East and the Colorado River bottom on the Southwest. These geographical conditions create a strange sound illusion. When the train whistle begins in the southern reaches of the county, the sound bounce creates the impression that the train is coming from the Southwest rather than due South. This illusion is particularly noticeable during the half hour passings that begin about 2:00AM and continue until 5:00 or 5:30AM. Even though my realistic brain knows there are no tracks running from Southwest to Northeast, my illusionary ears hear the train traveling in that direction…clickety clacking until it reaches the far side of town on its way West by traveling North. This mourning whistle and sound of metal on metal can be clearly heard even with windows tightly closed and central heat and air keeping me comfortable.

There no longer is a Depot for passengers traveling through the state or to our town as their final destination. My grandfather always traveled by train when he visited from the Deep South. It was exciting to get up in the middle of the night and go with my parents to the Depot to collect him and his luggage. I miss that building. It was sold to someone years ago and moved from the site where it stood across from a ‘real’ hotel for travelers. That hotel is also gone, taken apart board by board. The Depot now lives on someone’s ranch, no doubt providing a home for bails of hay and other ranch related things. Life goes on.

Always I wish you peace, joy and happiness, but most of all I wish you LOVE.

As Ever, Annie

* Micropoetry is copyright protected and the sole property of the blog owner.

First published 2/8/2013