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Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Power of Railroad Tracks

These first few weeks here in Parksville, British Columbia, I've taken to walking the railroad track almost daily with Gingee and occasionally John comes along. What is it about a railroad track that makes you feel so connected to the past and to the world?

This is my favorite spot on the defunct branch line of Southern Railway of Vancouver Island.
The other day as I was walking quietly along with Gingee, I remembered summers when my mother walked with me and my two brothers and a dog or two along the Star route of the North Carolina Southern Pacific Railroad. It was always such a carefree pleasure for a child.

And as I walked along the other day, I thought of the history of Chinese in America who laid so many railroad ties so that we might travel and move goods faster from one coast to another. What stories even a very small section of a rail line might tell if it could talk!

Here is some history from Wikapedia about this particular rail line.

"Beginning March 18, 2011 the rail line between Victoria and Courtenay was closed indefinitely, due to safety concerns about the poor condition of the tracks. In April 2012 the Federal Government announced that it would match a $7.5 Million grant offered by the BC Provincial Government, providing the required $15 Million for basic repairs and upgrades to reopen the rail line. The line is expected to reopen, and rail services re-commence in 2013, possibly in the spring.

"The Southern Railway of Vancouver Island is 234 kilometres (145 mi) in length, and is one of two remaining railways on Vancouver Island, the other being the Englewood Railway. The railroad runs from Victoria to Courtenay, with a branch line from Parksville to Port Alberni" (that is currently closed and is pictured above).

What kind of thoughts do rail roads conjure for you?

15 comments:

  1. I never have really thought about the railroad that way. Thanks so much for the history lesson. I learn something new every day! Enjoy your week.

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  2. no real thoughts on the rail system..although Doug use to work for CP rail...great history lesson..thanks for sharing your day!..happy walking!

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  3. Hope you are enjoying your time on Vancouver Island! I lived and worked in Parksville for a year or so before I moved up to the North Island. Funny over the years I've walked those tracks at various locations, always peaceful and never any steep hills!

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  4. When I was a child, a boy was killed when he was playing on the tracks. I have always been uneasy when I ave to cross them. As an adult, There was another tradgedy. A guy my husbanf worked with was killed driving across the tracks near where the worked. The man had worked long hours, an it was suggested he was tired and distracted.

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  5. Because we are now in the town of 96 trains (4 trains every hour, every day) my thoughts on trains and yours may differ. I must admit, though, that after a couple or three days, you do tend to ignore them :) There is much, much history in those trains!

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  6. I never thought about abandoned rail lines as a place to walk but that photo makes it looks like a nice option. I have only ridden a train a couple of times but thought it was a nice way to travel. Not so hectic as plane travel.

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  7. Nice pic of a pleasant place to walk! Informative narrative to go wth the photo.

    I was born and spent my early years in a railroad town. Seems as if every place I have lived since then a railroad with all the sounds that go with it has been there. A familiar sight for me!

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  8. What a nice find ! this may lead to an abandoned train station which will be great photography. And yes, there is father's day and also mother's day ! I know some of friends even celebrate Halloween's day !!!

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  9. Yes, definitely a wonderful place to stroll and imagine, I like it.

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  10. Railways are a photographer's dream. Thoughts of rusty tracks leading into the distance makes their mouth's water :-)
    Thank you for the nice comment!

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  11. I DO like getting up close to the flowers, BUT normally it does not work!! This time i was lucky. Also looked at that blog about Canadian money, i had no idea!! That would be SO much easier to take care of & know what you have in pocket, than all one color!! don't u think??

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  12. I hae biked on many old railbeds that have been converted to bike trails. The railroads sure did cover some beautiful countryside.

    How nice that you get to enjoy it at eye level and slowly to take in all the beauty.

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  13. So how do you like our Canadian soil!! I have never been to BC but would love to - so scenic! I love how the railroad and tree line form a tunnel vision down the track.

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  14. welcome to Canada once again :)....my dad worked for the railroad for over 30 years...so it always intrigued me..I've been known to jump shunters as a kids..and my mom used to walk the tracks with us to grams house when we were little..thinking it was an ok thing to do (well mom did it)..I once did it by myself...at the age of 5 or 6...needless to say a spanking was definitely received...good thing they never knew I used to hop shunters with my friends...good memories of trains...riding them and often getting to ride in the engine..

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  15. Just catching up. I thought I had joined your site, but didn't "find myself" so I joined and a second later saw that I had already joined.

    When I was a very little girl we lived in an apartment within feet of train tracks and a coal yard. Trains with steam engines carried commuters past us into New York City. Any time I hear a train whistle, my mind drifts back--or smell the steam. (that's why I spent so much time in Chama NM in 2010)

    When the war was over and my Father returned home, my parents were able to buy a little house in the next town over. I remember crying because I couldn't sleep without the noise of the trains, and I became afraid of the dark because it was too quiet.

    Thanks for bringing back the memories. Such a different life back then.

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I always love to hear your thoughts.