We lived by the railroad track-the one Gen. William T. Sherman and his troops came down and burned the crossties on to heat the rails to make them into ‘Shermans bow ties’. Our house stood right in front of the one mile marker to the Red Oak depot. If you read the history books, you’ll read about Sherman’s army coming down the West Point line from East Point to Red Oak. Well-they camped right where I grew up. The South is like that-history under your feet.
This train this story tells runs down the very same rails, too. We used to stand in the yard and wonder about the people sitting in the dining car being served by the porters. Looked fancy. They whipped on past us-not knowing at all about two little girls standing in the twilight watching.
Later in life, I would ride the Crescent part way from DC to Atlanta. I had a Pullman so I had more of the creature comforts. Still-it is somehow comforting and comfortable to ride a train. It has a peculiar sway and the rhythm of the tracks makes you go into something akin to a trace state.
Personal opinion: We need to bring passenger rail back. But we need to make it affordable and electric. Diesel is not the answer. We have the brain and the technology to do it-we just need the big oil lobby out of the way.
This is a full length story of the Southern Crescent. I hope you enjoy.