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Lingering Memories

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I’ve always been a history nut. I say history in the sense of seeing things as they were, just because it is where we have  been, where things happened, and because of the stories that abound in these special places we visit. Old railway stations are one of these places on my history lists to go visit. If there is a railway station somewhere that I’m traveling I will make darn sure I will make the trek there, if only to muse over its past and certainly take advantage of the photo ops. I remember living in Omaha Nebraska in the early 80s visiting the old Union and Burlington stations downtown. They were much of my subject matter in my photography classes at the college there.  Those old Ti-X 400 Black and Whites seemed to have added that dark sinister feeling to the photos; though one of them did afford me an honorable mention in a photography show one year.

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I like looking into the past; thinking of how things must have been in those long ago days. Many of these great railway stations are either abandoned or used as art museums and some are what they should be, a true railway museum. I had the opportunity of visiting one of these little gems, the Eureka Springs Railway station just outside Eureka Springs Arkansas. Built in 1913, the depot is filled with railroad items from the past, including props which helped disguise the station for the filming of scenes from the 1982 television mini-series The Blue and the Gray. The old rail yard still has working switches, lights and a functional electric-powered turntable and water tower. Come, sit a spell in the old railcar. All Aboard!
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The B & O Vets  (Baltimore and Ohio)

I‘ll tell you a story about the B & O vets

The best bunch of men that’s been found yet

A bunch of old rails that have come and gone

They was always right, they was never wrong.

Now there sits a man, he is old and gray,

It wasn’t high living’ that made him that way

Twas the old steam engines that he use to run

and he thought he was having fun

There’s another guy with a smile on his face

He would take a steam engine most any place

He run many a mile down these rusty rails

He was a man that would never fail

There’s old Joe, as hard as nails

Always looking ahead for things on the track

Now, he don’t look ahead, he’s looking back

Now, there’s old Lew, of high esteem

Always knew the engines needs

A little more water, a little more coal

He’d really make those steamers roll

There’s big John, with love in his heart

He said “from these steamers I’ll never part

When they go, then I’ll go too

I don’t want to be around anything new.”

Now the fun’s all gone, no steamers to run

The fun run out when the diesels come

But the vets still remember the good ole days

When the steamers had the right of way

Now the vets still think, and still live in the past

When they thought each exhaust would be the last

As they came though the valleys, and up the hill

They can hear the old steamers, barking still

Now the steamers are gone, by the wayside they’re laid

Condemned to rust in a salty grave

But still the memories linger yet

In the hearts of all, the B & O vets.

Cliff Jinks, 1980 

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