February 28, 2009

Another reason to love Lynchburg - Kemper Street Station

David has always loved transportation. He loves cars. He loves trucks. He loves trains. He loves anything with wheels. He even likes things that fly such as airplanes and the space shuttle, but if we see them on the runway, he's most fascinated by their wheels.

I don't know. I can't explain it. But that's how it is with David.

When David was in first grade, his teacher told my wife that she would be surprised if when she arrived at old age David had not yet invented a new form of transportation that would change our world. David is an extreme boy—he lives all out on the edge—and things said about him tend to be extreme as well. But I think this teacher had a good grasp on both David's abilities and his potential.

When we lived in Northern Virginia, we regularly went to the Stafford train station to watch the Virginia Railway Express pick up and discharge passengers. We regularly went to the Fredericksburg station to watch the freight trains pass through at high speed. We took trips into Washington, DC, on the commuter trains and then spent all day in DC riding the metro trains rather than visiting museums or watching muggings.

But we haven't taken the time to visit the local railway station since we moved to Lynchburg. There are so many tracks around here that we see trains driving by quite often. But visiting an actual station is a different experience—and one that David relishes.

Today we decided to go to the local train station, and in good Lynchburg fashion this train station is wonderful and a delight to visit.

Because this is a commuter train station and today is Saturday, the station was empty. We saw an few people, but no one was waiting for a train. So we spent the first few minutes that we were there exploring the station, which is quite attractive and quite different from any station we have been to before. We also spent that time trying to lower David's expectations of seeing a train drive by today. David tends to get very excited about such things and we really didn't want him to be disappointed if no trains came by.

So imagine our surprise when David, who has amazing ears and can hear things no one else can, said, "I can hear the tracks singing." This is something he has always been able to detect long before the train shows up. He can actually hear the sound of the train coming through the tracks. And that's without putting his ear to the track, which could be a bit dangerous. A few minutes later the train came around the corner. David pumped his arm in the way boys do when asking a truck driver to honk his horn. The train engineer obliged by responding with about eight long blasts on his horn. David was overjoyed.

We stood on the platform for about a half an hour after the train went by, but no further trains visited us. But it was great fun while it lasted and we promised David that we will bring him to the train station another time when it is more likely that we will see lots of action.

It's so wonderful to live in a city where even the train station is surprisingly wonderful by comparison to any other cities we have visited. We love Lynchburg.

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