Steel Road

A brief explanation of some of my original music inspiration.

From the time I was a very small child I had an intense fascination with almost anything railroad. I recall when my folks would come to a railroad crossing while driving around Mentor Ohio, I would practically throw a tantrum if we didn’t wait long enough to see a train come by. (They would probably say I always threw a tantrum if they didn’t wait long enough for a train to come through!) On rare occasions we might even be fortunate enough to see one of the very few remaining steam engines doing some switch work. There was something marvelous about those huge smoking, chugging engines! I still have a vivid memory of sitting in the car and watching in awe as one went go by! Every time I would see a train, I would hope that it was a steamer! Unfortunately when I was very young most of them were being retired so I didn’t have many opportunities to see them.

My brother Brad and me sitting on the side of a steam engine.
Dad and me ( and some kid that photo bombed before it was the thing to do……)
I guess when I look back at these I understand some of the fascination!

The folks would take us on an occasional train ride somewhere. I remember there was even a local nursery that had a small garden train that you could ride on around the property and greenhouses. The main line of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was about a mile or so from my grandparents house. I recall summer nights with the windows open hearing the trains chugging and whistling through the crossing at Route 615. The railroad was a main line with multiple tracks and often times there would be several trains. The slower one might be picking up loaded consist or dropping off empties and would “go into the hole” while the mainline freight or passenger would highball through. The railroad was busy in those days so we generally didn’t have to wait long to see or hear a train. I was too young to remember exactly, but I believe that every few hours a train would come through. I believe at night the train would come through on the mainline around 10:00 or 11:00 regularly. I guess these things all made a big impression on me.

My favorite toys were always railroad train related. Wood pull trains and tracks. Electric trains that dad would set up and “supervise” as I ran them. HO scale, O scale, eventually N gauge electric trains. I still have some of the electric trains my dad had when he was a child and quite a few of the ones that I accumulated as a kid. Even as an adult working in my shop, if I had time to do something creative – I’d probably make a train! Actually – I’ve made a lot of them!

My main source of creative energy has been music since I was in my early teens. Recently the two interests converged and it has resulted in several railroad themed songs. The more I write and sing, the more I feel inspired. I suspect this will be a major theme for some time to come!