I see the train a comin’, a comin’ down the track.. no, not Johnny Cash but an invitation to-all-o-me from Railtown Yosemite.
Trains, of course, have always been much more than fuel-powered metal tubes transporting us from A to B.
And in the UK, they’re not even that, but more of that later.
United Tracks of America
In America trains grew the country and the navvies who hammered the tracks into the ground put those sounds to song.
The Railroad and its place in popular culture are celebrated in Railtown, Yosemite.
That’s in Tuolumne County (and that’s pronounced to-all-o-me).
Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in California takes you back (as its title suggests) in time.
And for those of us who are good with dates you’ll have noticed that makes this year its 125th anniversary.
Back to the future
That Railtown 1897 is still running its steam and diesel-trains, its roundhouse, machine shop and movie paraphernalia is down to the volunteers.
When the Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger threatened to close it to save a few dimes.
And this the home of High Noon, The Virginian, Back to the Future II and Little House on the Prairie among others.
Now the accounting skills in la famille Murty went elsewhere but it strikes me that the $5 and $3 for kids admission fee probably doesn’t cover the costs.
And that Railroad 1897’s steam funnels are being fuelled through financial donations.
And yes clearly those prices are not realistic for a national transport hub.
But why does it cost from £187.70 for a return this weekend?
And particularly when Scotrail pitches it at from £40!
And you’ll get an air return for £136.96 with EasyJet, considerably quicker and more comfortable.
And don’t get me started on on-peak and off-peak which we swallowed whole when they were introduced as Savers by Thatcher in the Eighties.
No, no, no…
But if you want to absorb yourself in the spirit of the Real Railroad yes there are volunteers and Steam Train lines across the UK.
Which is a great place to start.
The Big Country
But if you want to get out to the Big Country, the Oo Es of Eh then follow my path.
And I’m asking the peak-capped uniformed guard the way to-all-o-me from Railtown Yosemite.