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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Clickety Clack...

VIA train in Kingston, Ontario station (not my photo)

I love trains, but haven't been on one for a while, partly because most of them in BC have been eliminated and the track lines turned into hiking and biking trails.

I'm riding VIA Rail 641 and it's just pulling into Kingston station on the early morning run from Ottawa to Toronto. With the new track system and modern cars, they really don't go '
clickety-clack' any more. Sad...


As a child I traveled across Canada a few times by train with my family and have memories of swaying back and forth in a top bunk, sitting mesmerized with my nose pushed against the glass, a lurching stop after a drunk hit the emergency switch, seeing children waving ... and a very early memory of the partly frozen St. Lawrence River just below old Quebec City. Our dog traveled in the baggage car and I would stagger through vestibule after vestibule to get there to visit him (he was very appreciative).


Later in life I traveled a lot on trains when I wandered. Two special trips were the Acropolis Express from Athens to Austria (via Yugoslavia) and the Nairobi to Mombassa colonial era train in Kenya, which led to exotic beaches, spicy fragrances and a fine break from working in Sudan at the time.


This train has high-speed i
nternet, so my nose is pressed against my email. Better sign off and have look outside. I lived in Kingston for the 10th grade year of my life and I'm hoping to see a girl named Susan waving at the train as it goes by. She was shy, I was shy. At a class party at the lake she swam to me under water, and pulled my face to hers for a long, wet (of course) kiss. She can't possibly be as old as me now, can she?


Comments:
Hope you saw Susan wave.
And of course she hasn't aged. She will forever remain 15.
 
Great stories. I remember a train ride from Montreal to Vancouver. They'd tell us when brief stops were coming up so we could run back to the baggage car to let the dogs out for a bit. We even spent afternoons riding back there with the doors wide open watching wheat fields,cows and mountains go by while we sat in armchairs drinking tea with the baggage handlers. They had wonderful stories to tell too - especially the one about the train that went down in Hell's Canyon years before (which they asked us not to relay to the other passengers).
 
No more 'Clickety-clack' any more. Sad... nostalgic! Your posting reminds of the story about one of our countries earlier most successful singers Peter Dawson who gained worldwide renown and popularity through his recitals and recordings of concert songs. One of Dawson’s successful songs which he wrote entitled "Boots" with lyrics courtesy of Rudyard Kipling was composed on a train journey.
The constant sound of the train wheels (Clickety –clack) began to evoke a tune in his mind and by the end of the journey it had taken shape; he rushed off the train in a frantic search for the nearest piano to write down the notes in fear he might lose them. The song went on to become a hit. Dawson’s recordings from early beginnings in the late 1920s and early 1930s went on to sell over 12 million records just before the start of the Second World War.

There is something about train journeys and the nostalgic memories they evoke in us, as your post reminds us.

Best wishes
 
enjoy the ride!
 
Funny you should be talking about trains. I just rode the Patagonian, which goes from Viedma, on the Argentine Atlantic coast, to Bariloche, in the foothills of the Andes. It took nearly 24 hours, but it was beautiful.
 
Love that story about Susan in Kingston.
 
I love stories. Trains. Old loves.
It makes me nostalgic.
I looked at taking the train
from Vancouver to Montreal,
it costs over $1,000.
I guess, considering it
takes 4 days, it's a bargain.
 
If I ever was on a train it would have been when I was an infant. I always thought it would be such fun to take a over night trip on a train and sleep in the sleeping cars. I think I've missed something.

Susan will look the same in your eyes as you will in hers, just a few years later is all.
 
OK, you're being awfully quiet. I know it takes forever to cross that huge empty block of ice called Canada, but I'm anxious to learn more about this Susan you are going to see...
 

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