It is easy for me to be nostalgic about railroads. Like many my age, I grew up in a time and place where they were part of everyday life. while I never rode a passenger train, I well remember smoke belching steam locomotives, the sound of distant train whistles, waiting “forever” for long freight trains to pass a crossing and many happy hours of playing with my brother near the tracks. My 6th grade teacher was a rail buff who infected me with his enthusiasm.
On our recent visit to Shelburne Museum I enjoyed seeing an old steam engine, a Pullman passenger car and a historic rail station. They connect me with my childhood and, who knows, might one day serve us as a model and become a part of our future. Regardless, it was a pleasant hour of memories and small photographic details.
Locomotive 220, built in 1915, was the last coal-burning ten-wheeler in Vermont. Up to its being retired in 1956 it carried both freight and passengers including, at times, four US Presidents (Coolidge, Hoover, Roosevelt and Eisenhower). The station was moved to the museum from the nearby village of Shelburne.