RRHX - Michigan Railroad History
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Re: 1959. Railfan memories including Durand.
Posted by Caz3 on 7/15/2017, 6:32 am, in reply to "Re: 1959. Railfan memories including Durand. "
Ben. While I spent a lot of time in Muskegon because my maternal grandmother lived there as well as aunts and uncles, I never got to explore the Henry St. engine house and yards. Because it was a long way from my grandma's house near downtown, the few times I saw that intriguing place was after evening outings to the Dew Drop Inn for their famous Friday perch or smelt dinners. Always successfully begged them to drive (slowly) past the nearby GTW engine facilities afterward. However, in 1958, I twice rode the train to Muskegon from Grand Rapids and back behind steam. I think it cost all of a buck 50 per ride. One of those rides was especially memorable. It was a Sunday afternoon. Was in the single coach of #56 on the way back to Grand Rapids. Dpt Muskegon 12:45, scheduled to cover the 38 miles to Leonard St. in an hour (arr 1:40). There are few curves on that line; but at some point, the engineer of the Pacific drawing that little consist of RPO and one coach that enclosed one paying passenger and the conductor needed to make up time, or decided to scare the c..p out of his passenger. What I remember is grabbing the arm rest of my seat in delicious terror as that coach felt like it was going off the tracks when it rounded one of those rare curves ..... going 90 mphs. I've ridden Bullet trains in Japan, Amtrak's Acela and the Burlington's Denver Zephyr at speeds of 100 mph plus. None of them came close to generating the surprising thrill of hitting 90 behind steam on The Good Track Road. I thought of that ride every of the many times I biked or roller bladed that ROW which, as you probably know, is now the Musketawa Rail Trail. Only old coots like me can fully realize or remember that that now peaceful, beautiful, bucolic place for exercising your legs and pleasing your eyes was once a race track for cigar chomping steam jockeys to see what their steeds were made of.
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