Backyard Train

by kfrego

The train coming past our grandparents house in Raymondville was a popular adventure for all of us kids. The engine would blow it’s horn as the train approached the trestle from across the river. All of us kids would run towards the track to greet the engineer and crew as they passed. The train consisted of a single engine with a few boxcars and no caboose. The rail spur ran from Norfolk to Waddington at the St Lawrence River. The train only ran when delivery or pick up of boxcars was needed.

When we knew the train was coming we would place coins on the track. We would retrieve the flattened coins when the train went by. The engineer would toss a few coins out on the pavement at the road crossing and watch gleefully as we scrambled to get to them first. The engineer always blew the horn for the road crossing and all of us kids would wave and cheer. The train was a great distraction and we all looked and listened for the train when at Grandma and Grandpa’s.

The trestle across the Racquette River was off limits to us kids. We stayed away from it. There was also a trestle which crossed Trout Brook not far from the house. It was much shorter than the river trestle and us older children often crossed this trestle unattended. The trestle didn’t have any railings or walkboards. There was open space between the ties and we could look down into the creek and onto the rock ledges as we walked between the rails.

Grandma and Grandpa owned the abandoned railroad station across the road from their house. It was a fun place to investigate and play. It was in very good condition and just as the railroad left it when it was closed. The old four wheel hand baggage/cargo cart was still on the dock outside. It was a step back in time when you entered it. We didn’t realize the closed station was the precursor of the railroads end.

The local trains were part of the communities they served including Waddington………and the St Lawrence River was under construction for the St Lawrence Seaway which would allow sea going vessels to compete with trains for deliveries as far west as Minnesota on Lake Superior.