Stay off the tracks

Published 8:28 pm Wednesday, September 25, 2019

My wife and I appreciated the column by your reporter Brett Campbell regarding a loving mother and her “special” son who she drove to Thayer’s Crossing twice a day for some 25 years to meet the train he loved.

Paul Harvey was a network radio announcer who was heard on over 500 radio stations some 30 years ago. Mr. Harvey was known to be a person with feelings for his fellow man and his search for good stories involved a personal subscription to The Daily Leader. It paid off for him with his moving story about young Brad Tillotson.

When Mr. Campbell wrote his column abut Mr. Harvey’s broadcast, he mentioned an engineer who blows his horn almost all the way through town on the track next to The Daily Leader. If there is just one, or more, I say more power to them.

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In years past when the railroad operated those glorious steam locomotives, senior engineers developed their own technique to create individual sounds or melodies. Locomotive engineers were important people and local citizens would say, “here comes Mr. Jones” or “Mr. Green” driving No. 3 today.

Of course when the steam locomotives were retired, the whistles were replaced by horns and they took their place as warning devices only. The railroads did attempt to make the horns sound like whistles, though, by purchasing three and five chime horns.

Over the past 50 or 60 years or so, there have been a number of fatalities on those tracks through our town, one I witnessed a couple of blocks south of The Daily Leader office. Believe me, it is not a pretty sight. The train always wins. The fault is always the driver running under the lowering crossing gates or the pedestrian walking or standing on the tracks.

I am sure that Mr. Harvey and Mr. Tillotson and all the train crews would appreciate it if people would stay off the tracks and keep children close. Enjoy watching those magnificent machines and grumble if you will about noise and your small delays, but please be careful and don’t be another victim of a horrible accident.

— Jimmy Perkins, Brookhaven