Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The End Of A Historic Ride

I don't know what it is, but I've always been fascinated by trains.  Maybe it is because I have grown up in houses that were near railroad tracks.  I remember the shaking of the house and the sounds jarring us out of a nice peaceful moment.

I explored plenty of worlds walking down railroad track, watching the changing vegetation as I went.  I felt like someone out making my way through a journey on my own.  It felt like I was in my own little word that I created as I walked down the tracks.

As a child, we lived down this long driveway from railroad tracks and I still remember that we would put rocks on the tracks.  I thought it was cool to see how the train would knock them off or split them.  My dad of course would get angry and beat us for doing that claiming we would make the train derail.  I'm not sure it would have because these were small rocks.

There was one house we lived in that had a hill just beyond the train tracks.  Whenever we heard the train coming, we would hurry and run across to the other side sitting up on the hill and watching as it went by.  Knowing that we were close to the train as it went by and feeling the power of it was a big thrill to me.  Yes, we were careful.  We understood the risks, but we made sure we were safe.

I miss the sound of the train...

These are good memories of my childhood.  I often miss the sound of the train in the distance.  It became such a familiar part of my life and one that isn't marred so much by other events we went through.

I have always admired the power of a train as it chugged along carrying so many things from different parts of the country.  When I worked in a grain elevator, I remember working around the train cars and walking behind the inspector as they checked each car from above.

So when I heard that the Orange Blossom Cannonball was shutting down, I was sad.  I didn't get to ride on it often and I didn't have the history that others most likely did, but I felt sad.  It seems like a silly reason to close it down because the railroad line would not renew the lease since they needed to park freight cars in its place.  Come on - really!?

The Orange Blossom Cannonball is a fun ride and I think of the cars that were built from the early 1900's, just how many stories they could tell.  The people around the train and running it seemed friendly and nice.  It connected a beautiful downtown area of Mount Dora to another small town called Tavares, Florida.

It makes its last ride...

Today as I write this, it makes its last ride.  Today is the last day it will run.  This train has been around for over a hundred years and starred in movies.  It has built memories for many that will hopefully outlive the train.

However, it is a time of sadness for all seeing that it is coming to an end.  It is difficult knowing that many who kept this train running will no longer have this job.  I wish there was a way to keep it going.  I hate that a part of history is now coming to an end.

I tried to capture a video of its last days and hope you'll get a chance to watch it.  Feel free to share this video along.  I really worked to just capture a sense of what it was like to ride on it and be around it.  To see the video, click below.  Last Time Riding The Orange Blossom Cannonball.





So long, Orange Blossom Cannonball....  So long....


Hopefully the 15 employees that lost their jobs find something as rewarding.  They sure made this train was special and everyone I saw working there always had a smile to offer.




Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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