Question for Railroaders - anyone else feel this way?
Ok, let me first say a little about me. Ever since I was a little boy I loved trains. Steam trains in particular, they are such amazing and beautiful machines. Now I realize that here in America (and Canada) they are not seen so often anymore (they run on tourist lines and shortlines) but it has been my lifelong dream to be an engineer/fireman on one of them or just help restore one. Some of you now might say that I should move to a different country to see this happen more, and no, because I love America, and I am really not a fan of foreign trains (except Canadian trains). I think we have the best looking trains and we have the best whistles/horns (in my opinion; am I wrong?) and along with the fact that we have bells. I have always been a lover of American history and the age of Railroading is my absolute favorite part of it. I will be 18 soon and when I turn 18 I will start working on Railroads that operate steam locomotives. Now you are probably thinking I am one of them railfans that wants to get rid of diesel and electric completely. No. Here's my opinion on each type of locomotive: STEAM- The absolute best. They make some of the best noises created by man. You have a feel for everything that goes on with these engines if you are in the cab. They are amazing historic machines that pulled this country full speed ahead in front of every other country in the 19th and 20th centuries. They require true passion to operate. They are passion taken to an extreme level. Yes they are dirtier, cost more to operate and require more maintenance but I wouldn't ever mind working on one for my whole life. These machines are my life. DIESEL- They are quite alright. They make nice noises, are cleaner and cost less to operate/maintain. You have somewhat of a feel for whats going on if you are in the cab. Still they are nothing close to steam. Certainly wouldn't mind working on one of these. ELECTRIC- These, especially the new ones, I am disliking a lot. You have no feeling of operating it and any fat... Can do it. They require little to no maintenance and require no passion to operate. I would not want to devote my time as an engineer to work on one of these. See, comparing Steam locomotives to Electric locomotives is kind of like a game. If it's too easy, it ain't fun at all. If it's a bit of a challenge (like operating a steam locomotive) it's a lot of fun. It even required teamwork in this case between the engineer and fireman. Engine crews back in the day must have REALLY loved their jobs! Imagine how much they loved going to work every day! (Maybe this was a bit different for the firemen but the engineers definitely must've felt this way). Honestly, I would probably never be an engineer for a class I PASSENGER railroad (such as Amtrak) seeing as they are using more and more electric locomotives which are no fun to operate. A lot of the newest electric trains don't even look good! If I worked on a class I Railroad it'd have to be a freight RR such as CSX, BNSF, NS, UP, you get the point. They use diesels and are more laid back than passenger RRs, it feels more old style. It breaks my heart seeing steam locomotives rust in yards... Oh how I wish I could just bring all steam locomotives back to life. Another thing that makes me sad to see is those recreational "rail trails" which once used to be nice branch lines that ran through towns and were torn up... How sad it makes me to think that once trains went back and forth right through towns on those historic (now boring) trails. Things like what I just mentioned above are killing America's history. A lot of the time I feel like I was born in the wrong time period. Remember when trains looked amazing? When passenger cars were elegant looking and not just silver? When it required true passion to get a train running? I would have loved to work on any Railroad back then. I would really like to see every Railroad in the US (and maybe Canada) get at least ONE steam locomotive running for excursions. They definitely have the money to get ONE running. This might even make it so more and more kids can see these beautiful machines and maybe grow up to help get MORE of them running. Now my question is, am I just a rare breed of Railroaders? Am I the only one who misses the good ol' days of steam Railroading in America (even though I never lived in that age myself)? Is any other Railroader out there a steam lover lost in time like me? Oh- and to those of you saying that steam locomotives are bad for the environment - There are so few left that it would not make a difference! Yes they pollute a lot but comparing the amount of TRAINS to CARS in the world, trains don't even make a difference in pollution today. It is the cars that do. And add the fact that they are steam locomotives... There are so few left. AND if you are going to say move to another country that runs steam more, clearly you didn't read everything above...
Asked By: Mike - 2/4/2012
Best Answer - Chosen by Asker
I've been lucky in the steam category. I have piloted the UP 8444, 3985, SP 4449 and some time on the seat box of McCloud river #25... More
Answered By: Samurai Hoghead - 2/4/2012
Additional Answers (6)
All true rail fans love steam engines.There is no doubt they are wondrous machines.I recently got to be the pilot engineer on UP's 844 steam engine on it's last trip in November.It was truly a thrill for me.Sadly i didn't get much time on the seat box at the throttle because the head of UP's steam program was the... More
Answered By: Andy - 2/4/2012
I completely agree with you, steam is nice but requires a lot of maintenance to keep running. Big railroad companies such as Union Pacific and BNSF don't want anything to do with those, because like any other big company in a economic downpour wants to save money, therefore they rather go to diesel powered trains, but... More
Answered By: Macey - 2/4/2012
My Dad took his promotion to engineer on steam... More
Answered By: Rango - 2/4/2012
I work as a Junior Volunteer at a local heritage railway in the UK (NYMR). Ever since I've grown up I've been around trains, and loved them since I was born. If you are thinking about moving to another country, definitely move to Britain. Steam trains run charters across the mainline, there are loads of heritage... More
Answered By: Matty A - 2/5/2012
Can you imagine how warped the environmentalists would get if steamers started ruling the rails again? I do agree with you about the rails to trails movement, though. It's wiped oout a lot of good track here in Michigan. Ah, if only the state had included a railroad component in the Mackinac Straits Bridge...
Answered By: Dances With Mops 2 - Mop Bucket Boogaloo - 2/5/2012
I've said it before and I will say it again, working coal fired engines was not fun , When I first started as a Brakeman on the CVR in 1955 we had both steam and diesel. Sometimes the Fireman had to actually shovel coal into the firebox, but most of the steam engines had stokers. When I was on the Spare Board and was... More
Answered By: Waalee - 2/8/2012
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