Wow, there is nothing like walking under the stars across a train yard on a crisp winter’s night. I was alone among the old freight and passenger cars and I felt tranquility. The snow glistened under the yard lights, a clear sky revealed the stars and Venus who shined bright next to the cresent moon. There were no sounds except for a slow moving freight train rolling by. The best part was I wasn’t trespassing, I was volunteering by putting in my second round of hours at the Jackson Street Roundhouse last night in St. Paul.

I had gone out to assist another volunteer with covering and closing up steam locomotive no. 2153 (Northern Pacific) and we soon needed a cresent wrench. It was while I was going between the out building which housed the locomotive and roundhouse shop that I met my moment of tranquility. When I returned from the shop I climbed up on the front of 2153, wrapped one arm around the grab iron, and started turning the nuts to lock the smoke box door on the front.

I did a few other jobs tonight such as browse around the machine shop learning where the tools were, assist with sorting miniature steam locomotive parts (kind of, it was a tricky puzzle for all involved), climbed into the vestibule ceiling of Northern Pacific triple combine 1102 and worked on drilling holes for bolts on the car as well.

The roundhouse is huge with many shop areas and I think I am getting more comfortable going from area to area to find what I need.

About Chad Leigh Kluck

Originally from Nebraska, I am a history and railroad enthusiast currently living near Saint Paul, Minnesota. I enjoy trains, photography, and nostalgic memories, as well as the history of transportation, agriculture, eateries, breweries, and railroad towns. More...

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