I’ve been thinking about that question since I posted the video of my father’s outdoor railroad on Sunday.
There’s something about trains.
The visual of seeing things, going places you can’t by car. Of simply being able to enjoy that scenery without the responsibility of driving. The clickity-clack of the wheels. The gentle sway of the train cars like a rocking chair or hammock set in motion.
Maybe it’s in my blood.
My grandfather worked for the railroad in Canada. My father even put in his time back when he was in school. And I grow up on tales of the family taking vacations on the trains. Day trips mostly. My grandfather would pack up the family, along with their bikes, and take the train a town or two away. They’d spend the day touring the town on their bikes, stop at a park for a picnic lunch my grandmother prepared, and take the train home again.
Sounds like a fun way to spend a day.
My mother recalls a family trip where they took the train coast to coast. She talks about racing alongside rivers and through mountains, barreling through towns and plunging into canyons. She remembers sharing a bunk with a sister and of NOT fighting over the lack of space.
Something I hope to do before the passenger aspect of trains is completely lost.
Is it the nostalgia?
Living on the Oregon Trail, we even tried to take a train from Portland to Astoria. Disappointingly, the train broke down about half an hour into the trip.
There are the Christmas trains. In Oregon you could take one up into the mountains, chop down your tree, and ride the train home again. There’s one here in Boulder City but we haven’t been coordinated enough to do it yet. Maybe this will be the year.
And boys…I’ve yet to meet one who wasn’t fascinated by trains on some level. All my boys had a love affair with trains. Thomas in particular. At one time we had five different versions of Thomas train sets! We were able to take each of them to “Day Out With Thomas” events while in Oregon including a ride on a steam powered train.
You would have thought their birthday and Christmas came all at once when Grandpa trusted them, each in turn, to run his trains for the first time.
Is it the chance meeting?
You’d think, with all these fond memories, finding books set on a train would be easy. Not so much.
Outside of classics like Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express or Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train, both thrillers, I can’t think of many stories that take place on trains. And other than Sloan Parker’s romantic suspense story Take Me Home I couldn’t come up with a romance.
So I went hunting on Amazon.
Midnight Train to Paris by Juliette Sobanet sounds like a romantic time-travel story.
Of course, both those authors had me at time-travel, but that’s only five titles with any bit of romance. Why is that?