All my life I've loved the sights and sounds
of railroads. And I've been fortunate enough
to live within sound of train whistles almost
everywhere I've lived. Where we are now, in
Manly -- north Southern Pines -- we are a short
walk to the train tracks. There was a train stop
in Manly beginning in 1877, ten years before
the town of Southern Pines was incorporated.
The sparsely settled Sandhills were a prime
source of turpentine and other forest products.
Manly, along with Shaw's Ridge (future Southern
Pines and Blue's Crossing(future Aberdeen)
were the loading spots.
On Tuesday, Judy and I took Bri and Hunter
to the vacant lot nearest the tracks. We hid
Easter eggs and played games like Frisbee
and Pine Tree Tag until we heard the first
train whistle in the distance. We got a good
viewing position on the high bank beside the
tracks. We listened with anticipation as the
rumble of the heavy locomotives drew nearer.
Bri counted 89 cars.
There's the last one. Modern trains don't
need a caboose or conductor. Everything
the conductor once did is handled electronically.
Even after the train was gone, the
The tracks are clear-- lets' take a look.
Train watching is still fun!
We talked about the rails, wooden ties, gravel
bed, and iron spikes.
The very next day, Claire and Evan got to
see the afternoon freight train and investigate
the tracks, too.
DO NOT try this at home!
Here's 14 seconds worth of the excitement
if you can stand it.
I don't think we'll go running every time
we hear a train, but I won't be surprised
if the kids ask to go again. There's nothing
else quite like the anticipation of the rumbling
engines and clattering freight cars zooming by.