|The engineer showing Sophie how to toot the horn.|
On our next to last day in Kansas, we took a ride on the little train that runs at the park next to the zoo. It only runs about 8 hours a week and is operated by retired trainmen. Men who know a thing or two about trains, whose lives were spent on the full size versions of this delightful ride.
The train was a major part of life in my hometown. At one time, the railroad employed a good number of people there, but times have changed, so much is automated these days, and most operations have moved to Kansas City and other larger cities. But there are still the tracks that run through the middle of my small town. Every day, just as has been happening for over a hundred years, trains rumble through on their way to far off destinations. At each crossing they blow their horn, and at night, when everyone is quiet, you can hear the trains from just about any house in town.
The trains don't stop for passengers in my town anymore, but that charming little train at the zoo gives our children a chance to taste a little bit of that nostalgia. Tickets cost 50 cents for a couple trips around the winding tree-covered quarter mile track. Does anything cost 50 cents anymore? I would pay a hundred times that and still call it a bargain.