‘A line for everything’
I run the miniature railroad at Belleview Park (in Englewood). The locomotive’s name is C.P. Huntington. He was an executive of the Southern Pacific Railroad. This train is a replica of one used to haul materials to build the Transcontinental Railroad.
It’s a joy every day. It’s my job to make kids smile, to make them happy. I’ve got a line for everything. I tell them where we’re going, what we’re doing — we cross the highest wooden train trestle in all of Englewood, over the raging waters of Big Dry Creek. It’s as fun as I make it, and I make it a lot of fun.
I’ve lived in Englewood for 45 years. I’m retired from automotive repair. It helps a bit, I suppose — I’m familiar with the mechanical workings of the train. It’s a little four-cylinder, gasoline-powered industrial engine.
This railroad is a destination attraction for people all over the area. Grandparents tell me about bringing their kids when they were little. What little kid doesn’t love a train? Some families come back every year for a photo with the train.
I look forward to coming to work every day. That’s not always the case in life.
The ‘I dare you to hit me’ dance
When I’m running the train, I have to make sure the track stays clear. There’s a certain age of little boys who want to see what happens if the train runs over things they put on the tracks — sticks, coins, even branches and chunks of wood. Those wheels are incredibly expensive. Some kids will stand on the tracks and do the “I dare you to hit me” dance. I can’t daydream much. I’ve got to stay alert.
More than you can imagine
There’s some kids that are special needs. They enjoy this train more than you can imagine. There are two little girls. Well, they’re probably in their late teens or 20s now. They can’t walk or talk, but they get on this train and they just giggle and shake with delight. They’ll ride two or three times in a row. I’m not sure what their lives are like otherwise, but when they do this, they really enjoy it. When they come to visit, that’s a big day for me.
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