Here's a picture of some old train cars on a track. You can click on the picture and see a larger version.
If you read the newspapers, you know that my American counterpart, El Presidente de los Estados Unidos, has lately stated his intention to hasten the nation's conversion to a European socialist welfare state via the construction of high-speed rail lines all over the place (including "northern New England," which might mean New Haven to Springfield rather than Boston to Bangor (not that I have anything but love for Bangor, 'cause, truly love is what I have for that fine burg and for Bath, Portland, and all those other nice spots; I'm just saying, I want good rail service from New Haven to Springfield)). If you read random posters at the Meriden Amtrak station, you also know that May 9 is National Train Day, an event invented, as best I can tell, by Amtrak (which may explain why it's on a Saturday: Amtrak has proved totally useless when it comes to commuter train service).
As both of our loyal readers know, I frequently take the train in commuting to Bridgeport, and am a train enthusiast. Something I've noticed about train tracks, at least here in the Nutmeg State, is that there are many interesting things to be seen alongside them - things you don't see beside roads. These range from odd, inexplicable pieces of abandoned machinery to sweeping vistas ("vista" is Spanish for "view of something other than crisscrossing highways and strip malls") to weathered old buildings that hearken to Connecticut's proud industrial past (and proud graffiti-writing present). I catch glimpses of all this from the train, but I don't get to savor it and take pictures of it the way I could if I were on foot. Therefore, in recognition of National Train Day and in support of our President's pro-train statements, I would like to remedy this problem and travel along the rails at a more stately pace. One way would be to get one of those awesome rail-bikes or the kind of train car that goes by having two people pump up and down on the see-saw thing. Unfortunately, I don't have the resources for either of those. Another option would be to take a walk along some tracks.
Now, not only have I seen the Stand By Me train bridge scene (above, in which the kids walk across a train bridge to save time in their trip, only to have the train come, forcing them to run and jump and be scared and almost get hit by the train), I've also been on an actual train that actually hit and killed someone (in Washington state about 20 years ago), so I'm cognizant of the key problem with walks along train tracks: trains. (Although, truth be told, I don't quite understand how people walking on train tracks in locations other than narrow bridges get hit; it's not like the train swerves to hit them.) So if I'm going to live out this dream, it has to be on tracks where trains don't go. Luckily, Connecticut is replete with unused tracks!
So here's my idea: Ride bikes from Hartford to Middletown. Middletown has train tracks running parallel to the Connecticut river that get little or no use. Walk north along these tracks, back to Hartford (while walking bikes). Take pictures. Pack a lunch and have a picnic along the way. Generally enjoy springtime. I'm thinking May 16 or 17 would be good for this. (Why not May 9? Because I have a friend in town from Seattle that weekend and I don't know if he's up for 30+ miles of biking and walking.) Is anyone out there interested?
Friday, April 17, 2009
Posted by El Presidente de China at 9:57 AM