A Special Car

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Milepost 815

On numerous occasions, I’ve talked about a lot of the neat things that come your way once people know that you are a train nut like I am. And that’s the short history behind this car.

It was only a month after my mother had passed away that we once again got a call from back home telling us that my uncle had lost his battle with congestive heart failure. Wow, two in one month. But you gotta do what you gotta do and we went home for visitation and his funeral.

My aunt was left with the task of the disposition of various things he had accumulated over the years and she decided early on that “all of his train things go to Dan.” Of this, I was most appreicative… not because he had a particularly large collection or because he had some exotic pieces, but rather because I knew that a reminder of the times that we spent running trains for his grandson would always be a part of my collection.

Shortly thereafter, we all met for dinner and she presented me with a box full of various & sundry “train things.” Among them was this SantaFe covered hopper by Athearn. I was with him when he bought this one; the roadname caught his eye because he had owned some stock in SantaFe at the time. I remember his concerns about assembling it as I believe it was his first train kit. I assured him that it was a piece of cake so he bought it and took it home. A couple of hours later, I stopped by and he was grinning from ear to ear… “There wasn’t much to it at all!” Inwardly, I knew that I had converted another modeler to kitbuilding!

There were some other goodies in that box but unfortunately, they had had some water in thier basement and most of it was ruined. Even this hopper car has a few rust spots on it and I did have to spend some time cleaning out the coupler pockets of the same. But I really wanted to hang on to this car because of the memories that it had. So today, it takes its place along side of a car from our former neighbor’s layout and one of the pieces from my first train set some fifty (gosh, has it been tht long ago??!?) years old. This old hopper doesn’t have any of the frills of today’s newer, more detailed rolling stock but you can’t buy the kind of memories that goes with it so you won’t find this one in my collection of stuff to get rid of. Hopefully, you also have some pieces that spark special memories of places you may have been and people you may have met… along the right of way.




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