Notus, Idaho - 2012
I think I was six, which would make it 1940. A warm summer's night enveloped the little village of Notus, Idaho, where my Mother and Father grew up and during daytime, while visiting my Grandparents, I simply ran across the road and played on the tracks of Union Pacific's main line. Can you imagine that today? I stood about 20 feet away from the tracks as huge steam driven freight trains roared past, shaking the ground beneath my feet. What absolute pure freedom and fun it was. Watching a big steamer coming down the line and seeing the semaphore change position was the thrill of my life.
My father grew up in the little Notus U.P. depot where my grandfather was station master, so the love of Union Pacific and the railroad ran three generations deep.
But my night in question was just a simple run of a streamliner flying through town with its monotone air horn blasting at the crossings. The front door to my Grandparent's house was open. It led to a screened in porch. As the swift train moved in front of the house, I could see the many lights of the passenger cars and dining car flick by. My Mother said, "That's the Portland Rose". I was so impressed. Probably, more correctly, it was the City of Portland going by. But whatever the name, it was an exciting moment for a little boy who loved trains. I wonder who those people were and where they were going. Many probably from Chicago on their way to Portland with lots of business to conduct.
The depot is gone now. So is the house. In fact, where I used to run and play is now grass, curbs, paved highway along with several new sidings and a main line of continual non-click rail. Of course, gone are the streamliners too. But as long as I live, I'll remember the glory days of passenger travel on Union Pacific's beautiful streamliners and a summer's night when "The Portland Rose" went by.