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Edition #192  February 15, 2013

Happy Interlude in a Sad Time

Photographer: Rob Richardson

                                                                      Photo by Rob Richardson

Happy Interlude in a Sad Time

When the Nickel Plate #765 was in Pennsylvania recently, it was scheduled to go home via Norfolk Southern's Cleveland Line, which runs right past my house.  I told my parents about it, and my mother said, "I want to see it!"  Unfortunately, its route changed and she couldn't, but there was a second chance.

My parents are over eighty years old, and they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in June.  My father has been in failing health for several months, and lately, my mother has been spending most of her time at the hospital, by his bedside. I suggested that we could see another steam engine, the former CP 1293, which was running on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in September. She jumped at the chance.  

On Saturday the 15th, the CVSR ran an excursion beginning at their station in Brecksville, to be preceded by a photo run-by.  We got to the station in plenty of time. I helped my mother to a picnic table well back from the tracks, and went to join the photo line.  In due course, the locomotive came into view, chugging and puffing loudly enough to drown out the clicking of a couple of hundred cameras. It pulled down to the station, then backed up out of sight for another runby as I moved to a different spot for wide-angle shots.  Finally, it pulled to its boarding location.  As the passengers were climbing onto the coaches, I was taking my fill of detail shots.  When the train was ready to depart, the engineer blew a long blast on the whistle to make sure nobody was near the tracks. I was about thirty feet away from the locomotive, and just about jumped out of my skin.  I had no idea just how loud a steam whistle is!

I rejoined my mother.  With a huge grin, she said that she had a wonderful time watching all the people, and all the dogs, and the train!

My father, Niel Richardson, died on September 21, 2012, six days after this picture was taken.

Rob Richardson

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