14 September, 2011        animate/inanimate

Our wonderful and talented and generous friend Ariel took this beautiful photograph of the four of us together Sunday after the river:

Mackey is the black dog, Roux in the center, Turner with his tongue hanging out

Animate, for certain.

My friend Clark is a Renaissance Man and his interests are many and varied. He often guides me to the CSX tracks near Brown’s Island in Richmond to see if there are trains around. More often than not there are engines, sometimes several. Today a train parked there but we could only see the back. Have you ever spent much time around trains? I mean, really up close and personal? They’re inanimate but they certainly don’t seem like it. Even a hulking 100 ton coal car looks like a living thing. Maybe it’s the latent energy contained inside, although they have that animated look even when they’re empty. Look at some of what Clark and I saw today and judge for yourself.

This is the train from the rear, for perspective:

Looking east toward downtown Richmond

This is the final car; this one’s been on the rails awhile:

Old timer. This one's moved lots of coal.

Despite the somewhat worn appearance, this is not just any car – it’s “a CSX Quality Car”:

a CSX Quality Car!

Look at the springs that monster rides on:

If this was a car or a truck we’d say this is where the “rubber meets the road.” When hauling 100+ tons of coal, no rubber, no road:

Where the train meets the tracks

Identifying info on the corner of the car:

Identifying information

Like the first blossoms of spring or a newborn kitten, coal cars are delicate and sensitive:

Coal cars have feelings too.

Headed east to deliver its load:

Bye bye


About Jay McLaughlin

I am a rehabilitation counselor. I have many friends with autism and traumatic brain injuries. They help me learn new things constantly. I hike with dogs at the James River in Richmond - a lot. I've completed an Iron distance triathlon a year for 11 years. My most recent was in Wilmington, NC in November, 2013. I currently compete in mid-distance triathlons. And work and hike and take pictures and write and eat.
This entry was posted in Dogs, Fun, People, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!). Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to animate/inanimate

  1. Evelyn says:

    Great photos and captions – trains are SO cool and I love that “Quality” is emphasized with underlining. The photo of you and the pack is my favorite, of course – good shot and fun production!

  2. I too enjoyed that they chose to emphasize it was a QUALITY car. It’s not just ANY CSX car. It’s also funny to me, I guess it showed, that they wrote “Handle Car With CARE!” I mean, what could be more indestructible than a coal car? It was neat to me also, in a microcosm sort of way, that there are welding instructions printed on the side of the car. Welding instructions. Where you are supposed to ground the welder. That is so cool. There’s a whole coal-car-welding-subculture. With its own special set of rules and instructions. I would have never known. Thanks Clark! Another of my great teachers.

  3. I see these trains downtown all the time but never bother to examine them closely. Thanks for the great perspective pictures.

    • Glad you enjoy them! My friend Clark just loves trains and he takes me to look at them every week. Sometimes they stop there with the engines parked right where those coal cars are. The engineers talk with us – it’s really fun. It’s a neat place to go. I also have a bunch of pictures from last winter of trains parked there in the snow.

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