Saturday, May 8, 2010

National Train Day

In honor of National Train Day we took Haley to see her favorite steam engine, the Southern Pacific 4449 Daylight.  We did not however tell her that we were going.  Haley and her Dad usually go "train watching" on Sunday mornings, but this weekend we have other plans on Sunday so when we told her we were going to see trains on a Saturday she assumed it would be business as usual.  Grandma C is in town so we thought she would enjoy this experience too.

We arrived at the depot and started walking toward it and Haley started pointing to all of the people wearing SP&S 700 and Daylight hats and shirts and I realized that I failed when I got her dressed.  She should have been representing.

At the entrance we were greeted by clowns that gave Haley a sticker(which she loved.)  Then once inside we got a bag of swag.  She immediately started collecting things to put into it.  Haley loved all of the booths that were set up.  She looked at everything and took everything that they were offering.

Haley saw this as a perfect opportunity to increase the size of her railroad t-shirt collection.  She is growing out of some of her favorites.  She chose two new t-shirts; a Daylight shirt and a black 700 shirt that glows in the dark.  She would have taken more of course, but I had to draw the line somewhere.  She also got a new 700 pin, the kind that guys like to pin on their hats, but we pinned it to her purse.

We stopped at every booth and then walked through the depot and we decided it was time to show her what we had really come for.  We had heard the whistle from inside the depot and I had asked what she could hear.  I think she was already overwhelmed by the crowd because she didn't answer me.  Haley can usually tell you what kind of train is coming by the sound of the whistle.  She knows the difference between the Amtrak whistle and a freight train whistle, she can identify the 700, the Daylight, and the 10 by the sound of their whistles.

I started to head toward the door and I could tell that Haley knew what was going on because she started to back up.  Haley loves the engines.  She loves to watch them on the TV screen.  She loves to watch them go by from the comfort and safety of our vehicles.   She does not like to be close to them.  As I gently pushed her through the door I could feel her start to shake.  She was scared.

This  is something that we have dealt with for a while now.  Her father loves trains too.  She got her love of trains from him.  He likes to be close to them and he knows she loves them so he really wants her to be comfortable enough to join him.  I think that is why he made sure I came with them today.  He is the one that gets her excited, I am the one that can calm her down.

The closer we got to the engine the more she held on to me.  She was pushing me back.  I was calmly telling her that I wouldn't let her get too close.  I wouldn't let her get hurt.  I don't really know what she is scared of.  The thing is big and it is loud.  If she got very close it would be hot, but we would never make her get too close.  They had a platform built so that people could easily get up to the cab level and look in, they could even talk with the engineer.  There was a long line for it.  I knew that we would not be going there.

The engine was steaming and puffing.  Without warning the whistle would sound.  That thing is really loud when you are that close.  Whoever was pulling the chord was being gentle though because it could be a lot louder.  Haley jumped every time.  I don't blame her though, so did I and everyone else that was there.

We passed the engine and went up on the overpass that looked down on the yard so that she could get a birds eye view.  I hoped that she would feel more comfortable further away.  I think it did help.  From that vantage point she could see the other cars they had on display and she saw the caboose. 

I saw that there was a line to get into the caboose and asked her if she would stand in line to go into the caboose.  She said "Yeah."  She did really well in that line (it went quickly.) 

Haley really enjoyed going through the caboose and the pullman car.

When we got back down on the sidewalk from the pullman car she turned to me and said "Yukon."  That was it.  That was all the "fun" she could take for one day.  As we left she kept telling us about her experience.  "Caboose.  Fun.  Daylight.  Yeah.  Caboose.  Fun.  Daylight." and on and on.


  1. As a NTD volunteer, this brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for your posting. Arlen

  2. My brother works for AMTRAK in Portland. He missed this celebration, but through your words and pictures and Haley's excitement, it was as if we were there too. This account gives a whole new meaning to 'seeing the world through a child's eyes.'

  3. This a a wonderful event. We want to thank everyone that had a part in it.



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