There is a museum in St. Louis where little boys and little girls, and adults who are still kids at heart, can run around and view trains galore. The Museum of Transportation is located at 2967 Barrett Station Road in St. Louis County. For the $6.00 admittance fee, it’s a great little excursion for families.
While we toured the engines and cars, and took numerous pictures, the romance of the rail came to life in my imagination once again. We took a ride on an old trolley that used to run in Chicago before the elevated rails took over. That’s where our adventure really began.
My older brother went to the museum with us. As I enjoyed reading the advertisements inside the car, he struck up a conversation with one of the volunteers for the trolley. These gentlemen do all this for the love of the tracks. I listened into their conversation as much as I could, the ride was a little noisy, while my brother learned about the trolley in restoration.
Again, it’s volunteers that do all the restoration work. Restoring cars and engines are not cheap. A sign informed us that restoring a trolley car will cost around $300,000.
After the ride, we ran around, peaking into cars and daydreaming what it would have been like to ride them in their glory days. (Maybe that was just me, but I don’t think so.) We ran into that guy from the trolley again.
My brother said hi. the next thing you know, the guy invited us to look into the restoration building to see the two works in progress. It was both a thrill and an honor. The restoration building is off-limits to the public.
The trolley is in dire need of some tender loving care. But it is beautiful. There are two lights in the back that say “stop” on them. A detail as simple as that fascinates me. The single light in the front makes it look like a VW bus. (So does the rust.)
The engines, passenger cars, and caboose are wonders of technology. They are reminders of our past and possibly even offer insights into our future. That rusted out old trolley hidden behind closed doors was more beautiful to me than the trains that had already been restored. It symbolizes the love of the rail.
And to think, all it took to see it was one word: “Hi”.