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A pain in the train

Did I ever mention that I dislike trains?

OK, dislike isn't potent enough to cover that mode of transportation. I absolutely despise trains. Hate would also work nicely to describe my feelings for the railroad.

Why all this venom against the very thing that brought Thomson and Dearing into being? It's very simple, arrogance.

It has nothing to do with the people driving the actual trains; they're just doing a job. It's much more to do with the fact that trains get precedence over everything.

Take this example. It's a story that I've told to everyone who would listen.

One night I was visiting my parents who live (of course) on the other side of the tracks in Dearing. I left their house to head back to mine and heard the distinctive whistle of a train.

By the time I made it to the crossing, the train was stationary. I know my way around Dearing pretty well (not that it's that difficult), so I backed up and drove to the next crossing down the road.

No dice. It was blocked as well.

Next came Main Street, my last hope. I was foiled again. This was one long train.

By the time I got to the main crossing, I was a little annoyed that everywhere I needed to go was blocked. So I decided to sit, wait and see just how long the streets of my hometown were held up by this massive metal monstrosity.

As I sat there with my engine off, I heard the unmistakable blow of a second whistle approaching. This second train crawled through town at a snail's pace.

After it left, I was sure the first train would be on its way, and I would get to go home. But no.

After a while longer I heard yet another whistle. A third train was on its way. It meandered through town, leaving the first train still sprawled across at least three crossings.

More time passed, and the first train finally cranked up and got moving. Once it cleared Main Street, I glanced at the clock. Over 45 minutes had passed.

"I'm glad I wasn't bleeding and on the way to the hospital. I would be dead by now," I remember thinking.

I know our county's history is indelibly tied to the railroad. None of us would be living here if it weren't for trains, and I know they're an economical form of transporting goods.

But I really wish their time was over. I hate whining, but I'm tired of sitting in a line of cars every time I drive somewhere.

I thought it's something I would have gotten used to. I grew up ¼ mile from the tracks. I was always aware of the danger trains posed to cars and pedestrians.

I guess what it boils down to is I'll never accept being late for something when it's not my fault.

Web posted on Thursday, September 28, 2006

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