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May 10, 2014
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for National Train Day 2014.

I like trains, they’re fun and they take me places…literally. It is such a nostalgic way to travel and there is something I just adore about the sound of a train clanking down the track. In fact, I am always excited when I happen to be in Ybor when the Amtrak rolls in. When my studio was there, I would stop whatever I was working on, open the windows and just enjoy the sound. Then there are the model trains. Mini things are absolutely lovely to me and mini trains are no exception. Some hobbyists create amazingly realistic settings for these trains. Their attention to detail and passion for the machines is something I admire and respect.

Well, I’m festive, so there was no way I could pass on celebrating National Train Day. First stop for the day was Tampa Union Station for their Train Day festivities. I was able tour vintage train cars, see a slew of model trains and get a snazzy conductors hat. The icing on the cake was the working LEGO trains, complete with a mini replica of downtown Tampa. The Regions building was outrageously good and it was completely new to me as I didn’t recall seeing it at Legoland.

After that, I took a trip to the Florida Railroad Museum for a ride on a real, full sized train. It’s a moving museum really. An 80 minute trek through Florida country with a stop at the old train yard proved to be quite relaxing and interesting. In the train yard sat numerous train cars with Florida history waiting to be repaired and back in commission. One of the cars even belonged to President Eisenhower…according to our Car Host. There was so much beauty in the decay of those cars. Under the rust, scratches and tarnish, I could get a glimpses of what they were in full glory, back when railroad travel was the quickest mode of travel. In those days, there was so much care and aesthetic thought put into creating functional items. Through the wear and tear, I could imagine what these cars would have looked on their first ride on the tracks, all shiny and brand new with travelers admiring their beauty. They may have aged, but the magic is definitely still there, for me at least. I was especially fond of one green and white engine parked in the yard. How I do hope they can get that one back in working order soon.

All in all, a rather splendid day. I saw some beautiful creations, learned some new things, visited parts of Florida I’ve never been to before and the weather was down-right perfect. Another festive outing for the books!

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