Sunday, December 26, 2010
I am ridiculously fond of the Santa Fe Southern Railway, which chugs its way through Eldorado five or six times a week - probably slightly less often in winter, and slightly more frequently in the summer, with the occasional party train plus jazz band (and of course the Gay Pride train, with rainbow flags all over it, in June). Today we had a rare treat - out for a walk along the railroad tracks, we coincided with it passing - fairly full, and mild enough (unlike the North East, where happily we're missing having our travel arrangements fouled up yet again) for people to be out on the observation platform, waving. The carriages were all decorated inside with pine tree branches, and then, at the back, one could see that she had a holiday wreath on. She's always a most cheerful train: how I would have liked to encounter her, or her counterpart, in the pre-Dr-Beeching days of British Rail - or whatever the rail companies were called then - when it was possible to drive on trips and play counting games: trains versus horses - and know that trains could actually win. Although, to be honest, I was almost always on the horse-counting team-of-one in the back seat of our green Triumph Mayflower. The day of my greatest victory came when we were on a beach - I think St Bees, in Cumberland - where the rail track ran alongside the sand. Defeat beckoned. And then - was it a train of racehorses? Or worse (the possibility only now occurs to me) of horses making a trip to the slaughterhouse? Whatever, there were hordes of them, sticking their heads out of the wooden slats of the rail cars, and the spoils were mine.