18 It’s Time to Go

by admin on October 27, 2011

Because they were seated at the windows the boys were the first to tumble out of the car.  The four adults quickly did the same as they tried to corral the energetic youngsters.  Grabbing the boys’ hands Samuel led the way into the passenger terminal.  The remaining adults followed behind and took up residence on the wooden benches typical of the era.  Once inside Samuel approached the ticket window.  “I have reservations for six on the #232 at 10:15 to Denver with connections to Lake Neccudah on the # 7 LNRR at 4:30 P.M” he said.  The agent checked his register and nodded.  “According to my log they’re both on time, sir” he said.  “Very well” said Samuel as he paid the man in cash and received his tickets in return.

Samuel motioned to the boys to follow him outside.  They arrived trackside just in time to see the powerful behemoth glide into her berth.  Today she was pulling four passenger cars, a diner, a baggage car, and two U.S. Mail cars.  (This was long before air mail).  During this era mail would be loaded at the departing station (in this case, Kansas City, Kansas) and would be sorted en route by postal employees on board.  By the time the train reached its destination station (in this case Denver, Colorado) the mail had been sorted and would be picked up at the station by waiting mail trucks.  There it would be delivered to postal substations for further sorting and then sent out for delivery by local mailmen.

The grand old locomotive pulled slowly into the station.  With each giant revolution of her massive black wheels a loud chuff of smoke would billow from her stack.  Finally, she came to rest with the passenger cars lining up perfectly at each porter’s steps.  When confident that he had her aligned properly the engineer released all the built-up steam pressure from the huge boiler.  A giant hissing whoosh of steam blossomed from under the giant wheels.  The sound startled the boys as they shrieked and put a death grip on Samuel’s hands.  The old man grinned.  “Just wait until later when I get you inside the locomotive cab” he chuckled, under his breath.

Farther down the line the driver and porter were stowing the suitcases in the baggage car along with two other porters and the luggage of another twenty or thirty passengers.  Looking at his pocket watch the old gent realized it was time to board.  “Go get your mother and father and tell them it’s time to go” he told the boys.  They dashed off, Alex in the lead, Michael doing his best to keep up.  Moments later Harold, Ida and Charles showed up trackside

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