The Zombies Ate My Brains

Rescuing what might remain of the grey matter.

Prompting a Train of Thought

Trains fascinate me. Always have. I think it started when we’d walk downtown with mom and on occasion, when the wig-wags descended, we had to wait for a freight train to pass.

This is a picture of the exact shanty at the exact crossing circa the time I was a girl, courtesy a very nice man on a Facebook group I belong to.

In those days, an attendant stationed in an elevated shanty monitored the CP crossing at King Street. He would wave to us. That took the edge off the somewhat frightening experience.

When I first moved to town here in Brant County, several people suggested that it must be quiet where I live. Well, it can be, if the wind is blowing just so. On very still summer mornings, I can hear a cow “moo” from across the river, about a kilometer away. But more often than not, I hear constant traffic sounds from the major highway to the south and main arteries through town to the east and west. A set of train tracks runs through town, too. It’s usually not a problem.

Unless it’s bedtime, the windows are open, and I’m just about to fall asleep… mmm, you know that stage, right? You are nice and relaxed, comfy…


(something from the Rite of Spring or the shower scene in that Hitchcock movie… which, by the way,  I have not seen and plan to keep it that way.)

Enter the Loram Grinder and bid farewell to slumber.

***   ***   ***   ***   ***

All aboard! I extend an invitation to you! Tell me about trains, whatever this prompt might inspire. Maybe about a trip you took or one that you’d like to take? Are there any trainspotters in our midst? Or model train enthusiasts? Plenty of movies have been set on a train. Like The General, with my heart-throb, Buster KeatonPhotos, tunes, stories, and art. (Indeed, some boxcars are festooned with the most imaginative graffiti.) Feel free to share here in the comments or link to your own post.  I look forward to hearing from you!

The General - with Buster Keaton - click through for the entire movie.

The General – with Buster Keaton – click through for the entire movie.




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29 replies

  1. This is great. It brought me back to lying in my childhood bed, listening to the trains in the distance.


  2. You do know that Roseanne Cash has a song out called “My Baby thinks he’s a Train“?

    Oh, and I love trains. Have loved them ever since I first heard Lightfoot’s “Canadian Railroad Trilogy“.


  3. Childhood? This brings me back to last week! It’s pretty much the only urban sound I actually enjoy.


  4. Is that a track cleaner? No wonder it keeps you up at night.


  5. My house in NM is in an old railroad town. The train doesn’t stop here anymore but they still pass by. The tracks bisect the town and the term “wrong side of the tracks” takes on meaning. The wrong side, for me, is the side where I am not. At least I guess that’s the way it works. It can change several times a day!


  6. How gorgeous! Never saw one of those!

    (You have been reading Aussa [], haven’t you? Your questions at the end… I’ve been thinking of doing that, but it felt…awkward.)

    I grew up in Chicago, so, yeah…traaaaainnns.


    • Ya know, I thought I’d give it a shot, this “c’mon, let’s have a party” thang. Up until now, I felt the awkward. But, heck, I ❤ trains.

      I was at a dinner party at a friend's house. It was nighttime. I was seated next to the window which looked out onto the rail-bridge only a few houses away. Now, I had had a couple/three glasses of wine, so when I saw the lights and sparks, I wasn't too ready to draw attention to what might have been a wine-induced vision. But yeah. My host told me about the Loram Grinder. Isn't that a great name?


  7. I have neither seen nor even heard of one of these things, Maggie ! – the thought of trying to sleep through – THAT ! … in 2 words:


  8. “Enter the Loram Grinder and bid farewell to slumber.” Haha…cute. I know exactly what you mean! And I love trains too. There’s something so soothing about a train’s whistle blowing through hollers. It really does set a mood.


  9. Like you Maggie, I love trains. I could go on and on. Thanks for informing us about the loram grinder. I had no idea what was making that horrible noise from railyard at night. We are a few kilometers away from the rail lines and some nights it feels like the trains are right underneath our bedroom window.

    coincidentally, today while out hiking, I saw a piece of equipment on the tracks I had never seen before. It too appeared to be cleaning the track but was quite quiet. Maybe they bring out the noisy stuff only at night 😉


  10. I love this! You are right; there is so much art, music, writing, and lore that involve trains. One of my favorites is “Freight Train” , sung by Peter, Paul, and Mary. I am getting ready to check who wrote it.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I looked up the composer of the song Freight Train: Elizabeth Cotten, and I enjoyed reading about her! 😊 Thanks for the very enjoyable post, Maggie!


  12. Taking me back Maggie, to 1952 on a steam train. I was almost seven and was allowed to go with the brownies to Westbury. One had to be seven to be a brownie. I wet my pants and was wearing a yellow vyella dress, and felt totally embarrassed all day as a result . My first journey on a train, soot and all!


  13. One summer of drought, my younger sister and I were given the job of herding the family milk cow along a grass-lined lane so it could do some munching. We were bickering and ignoring the cow when we heard a train approach the crossing several yards ahead. We ran in a panic to head the cow in a different direction, succeeded, and stood to watch the passage of the train. As a freight car with slightly separated cars went by, a hobo stuck his head out and yelled, “Boo!” We shrieked and ran, leaving the cow to its own fate.



  1. The Cobalt Train Station – The Zombies Ate My Brains

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