As the New Year begins, a huge thank you to the friends and family that made this year all it was. And a very special thanks to Train Man. He arrived for a very early morning departure from Chicago Union Station with a radio in one hand and with the other he gripped the vestibule railing and hauled up his back pack bulging with train reference guides and an ipad ready for any unforeseen informational needs.
Train Man was fully immersed in the experience from the moment he stepped on board. To say that he loves trains is an understatement of grand proportions. He thoroughly researched our route, train consist and had uncovered a great amount of facts and trivia including an employee timetable presumably used for training that though 15 years old was quite accurate in regards to the timing of movements at every stop along the way. He kept the radio at his side and would respectfully fall silent to savor the announcement of each defect detector transmission. His abilities are a little different than most of us and that was the source of his super powers that hold lessons for us all.
- Be Who You Are
I spoke with his father briefly on the journey. He shared simply that his son’s very best trait was that he was entirely without guile. The beautiful congruency that Train Man exhibited between thoughts, words and actions makes me realize the value of that virtue. His process didn’t begin with hypothesizing what others might think and didn’t include any editing or strategizing. He simple shared what was on his mind. I’ve never formally studied radical honesty, but I have to think Train Man’s authenticity would have blown away the followers of that movement.
- Find You Passion and Live It
Train Man’s passion is, you guessed it, trains. And whenever he is able, he spends his time nurturing this passion. Your passion may lie elsewhere. As you’re reading this blog I suspect that a mention of Budd built, steam excursion, dome car, stainless steel skirts, or Durango & Silverton may raise your pulse a bit and that you may share a passion for trains. If that’s the case you should continue to embrace it and make time for that in 2016. Life is too short to stay away from what brings you joy, which brings us to the final lesson from Train Man.
- Share Your Joy
As the Stampede Pass headed towards Detroit through the Michigan countryside that day we hit a stretch of straight track that allowed the engineer to open her up and let her run. The speedometer mounted just below the forward facing edge of the dome crept towards 100mph and then pounced on 110mph. As the needle edge over 109 Train man exclaimed “I’m in Heaven!” I leaned close to my wife and simply shared “me too” with a smile.
Wishing Train Man and all the friends and family of private rail a very Happy New Year!