Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

Revisiting History: Trains Of The Civil War

Welcome back to Legacies…On The Rails! This is my 9th installment for 2017 as we keep rolling down the tracks toward Spring! Today, we will be discussing trains and railroads of the American Civil War. First let me say that these days, I know some find it offensive to discuss any part of our nation’s history that they find suddenly uncomfortable. Well, I find that fact offensive because those who deny, try to blot out or do not understand or learn from history are doomed to repeat it. I will not apologize for visiting this topic and as a matter of a fact, the phrase I personally coined some time ago is: If you don’t understand where you’ve been, you do not truly understand where you are, or where you are going, or why.

I will never dishonor the memory of my ancestors (or yours) that put themselves in harm’s way or even lost their lives generally serving in our armed forces or fighting in any of the battles that have made our nation what it is, by avoiding study of, or discussion of these periods.Denial cannot erase historical facts. I actually make it a daily point to go out of my way to approach and thank any of our active duty military or those wearing their Veteran caps, jackets, etc. Have you thanked a Veteran today? The freedoms we enjoy as Americans are not free. I love the saying these days that only two have offered, or died for you, Jesus Christ, and our American Military! May God continue to bless and keep our Heroes! And though it may be your “right”, those who are choosing not to stand for the presentation of our Nation’s Flag and the National Anthem……you are dishonoring those who have or are currently fighting for your protection, and spitting on the graves of those that have died fighting for you. You disgust me!

Some do not realize just how vital the railroads were in the tumultuous years of the Civil War. Not only in the transportation of men and goods, but in the eventual defeat of the South. The Confederacy simply did not have the financial or material means to adequately maintain the railroads in their area. They only controlled 9,000 miles of trackage, while the North controlled 20,000 miles.

It also did not help that Northern troops were in the regular habit of burning or otherwise destroying rail bridges, (which, though I certainly do not condone slavery then or now, and understand the necessity, as the creator of the Facebook page Railroad Bridges, Related Photos & Video is kind of sad for me to think about). They were also in the habit of pulling up tracks, heating them until they would bend and tying them around trees, creating what was known as “Sherman’s Neckties“. The Union blockades of sea routes also kept the South from being able to obtain vital supplies to maintain the railroads. This all combined to keep Confederates from being able to ship their cotton crop, so they could not woo the help of European nations.

Unemployment rose in southern states as they had to let go of so many railroad workers. Confederates also usually destroyed as much of a town’s rail equipment as possible before retreats were done. I was actually shocked to see that in the beginning of the Civil War, the Confederacy actually controlled 135 railroads. But also in the beginning, in both southern and northern areas, most railroads were short lines that did not connect with continuing tracks, which made truly long distance rail transport difficult.

The Civil War was also the first time that a train mounted gun was ever created and employed, and the first time that train cars were used as makeshift hospitals. Both would continue into the two World Wars.

But fortunately for both sides, though the Confederacy still eventually fell, with the decline of their railroads playing such a huge role, in 1862 President Abraham Lincoln signed into law the Pacific Railway Act, authorizing construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. The Union Pacific built west from Omaha, Nebraska and the Central Pacific Railroad built East from Sacramento, California. The finalization of the Transcontinental Railroad was culminated with a ceremony on May 10th, 1869 as the two lines met in the
city of Promontory, Utah. When President Lincoln drove the Golden Spike to complete the line, it was attached to a telegraph wire that sent the news from coast to coast. It was the spike that was heard around the world. Four more transcontinental roads and 174 million acres for them eventually came to be authorized as well.

Here are a couple of my current reads on this subject at the moment. Nothing Like It In The World: The Men Who Built The Transcontinental Railroad on Amazon at:
https://www.amazon.com/Nothing-Like-World-Transcontinental-1863-1869/dp/0743203178 and The Union Pacific: Birth Of A Railroad check it out at the link:
https://www.amazon.com/Union-Pacific-Railroad-1862-93-Hardcover/dp/B00IGYPKXO/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1488725961&sr=1-1&keywords=Union+Pacific+Birth+Of+A+Railroad .

Probably the most famous American Civil War related railroad story is that of the theft by Union Soldiers and Civilian Scout James J Andrews in Northern Georgia April 12, 1862 of the steam 4-4-0 locomotive known as The General. It was built by Rogers, Ketchum & Grovesner in New Jersey. Part of my personal railroads collection are items related to The General. I have also been to the Walt Disney Hometown Museum in Marceline, Missouri https://www.waltdisneymuseum.org/ (Disney was a huge railfan) and even have friends that are from Marceline. and other friends that have worked the railroads that pass through it. There is a room in the museum almost entirely dedicated the Disney movie The Great Locomotive Chase. I also just purchased the movie on my Google Play Movies collection.

Here is a song about the chase by Robert W Smith that I also found on You Tube:

While the Disney film that starred Fess Parker (Davey Crockett) and Jeffrey Hunter who was the Captain Christopher Pike in the very first Star Trek Pilot: The Cage, was released June 8th, 1956 (cool for me as both my Mother Maureen Losh and my Son John W Losh III were both born in June), there was an earlier version called The General that starred Buster Keaton and Clyde Bruckman, that was released February 5th, 1927 (again cool for me, I was born in February).

I thought of posting the entire lists, but instead I am going to encourage you to do searches on Railroads Of The Civil War as well as books on the same.

I may do a later blog expanding further on this topic but I think we are off to a good start here. Hope you have enjoyed these beginning tidbits of info, and the videos I found and shared about Trains Of The Civil War.

I am going to start a couple new features that will continue from here on in the Legacies…On The Rails Blog and maybe even the Podcast.

The first is a Railroad Equipment Profile. In this feature, I will share pics I have taken of locomotives, freight cars, grain cars, tankers, cabooses, etc and their origins.

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This first installment Of my new Railroad Equipment Profile features the Dome Car Prairie View (Great Northern Railroad Empire Builder #1394 that I recently caught at the Kansas City Union Station. The following information on it’s credit goes to Trainweb.org.

Prairie View” – to BN 3/70 (same number), to Amtrak 9364. Was eventually used as an Amtrak parts car and was sold 5/93 as a shell (less trucks) to the BN. Stored Springfield MO (ex Frisco shops) until sold 1994 to Holland America Westours. After putting over $1m into it, car is now in service in Alaska. It carries the name “Deshka” and entered service in 1997. In 2003 Westours put all but 3 of their Budd domes up for sale as `”excess”. They kept 1394 because it required no coupler pocket modifications for the new Colorado Railcar domes and it has Budd braked trucks (from under one of the two 1956 Budd built Santa Fe business cars that were retrucked with 4 wheel trucks in 1989). Car transferred late 2004 to a new division called Alaska Rail Tours (defunct) with the other retained cars to begin service in 2005 in a non “cruise ship” travel/tour operation in Alaska. Sold 10/09 to Iowa Pacific/San Luis & Rio Grande. Renamed back to original “Prairie View”.

The Second is Railroad Old Time Radio. Anyone that knows me knows that I love old movies, old TV shows, and the radio versions of many of them. We will begin with Episode 17 of Gunsmoke. Set in Dodge City, Kansas, it was billed as the first adult western, and its radio show that starred William Conrad as Marshall Matt Dillon first aired on CBS on April 26th, 1952. (Again, cool for me as both the first date Anniversary and Wedding Anniversary for my wife Denise and I are both in late April (25th/28th respectively). This episode aired September 27th, 1952. My daughter Cara Losh was also born on a much later September 27th. I am loving these connections as I am not a believer in coincidence! Hope you enjoy it. We may start sharing Railroad Movies as well (which I kind of already did by sharing The General with Buster Keaton above.)

Thanks again for joining me! until next time, I want to again encourage you to accept the free gift of Salvation and forgiveness that the Lord Jesus Christ offers you and to follow Him each day of your life. My reading this morning with breakfast was in Romans 9-12 and the verses that stood out to me were Romans 10: 14,15 (NKJV from Bible Gateway)

14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

Well, if I don’t see you down the rail line, if I don’t see you here, I pray I’ll see you In The Air!

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Railfan Focus: Jim Matuska: Capturing The Railroad Passion on Canvas

Welcome back! This is my 8th Edition of Legacies…On The Rails for 2017 and my 35th overall which I am very happy about as I was disappointed in only having done 8 last year!

I have another treat for you today as I have been given the privilege of sharing the story of my good friend, Facebook Friend, Brother in Christ and fellow passionate railfan, Jim Matuska! There is not a day that I don’t scroll through my newsfeed on Facebook looking to enjoy the latest railfan pics, or latest railroad artwork from Jim! We also share common ground in our health situation, and enjoying tracking our steps as part of staying healthy.

So, I will let Jim take it from here. I know you will enjoy his story as much as I have, especially since it starts out with the railroad my Grandpa John Losh and his brother Leonard Losh worked for, so it is my first favorite out of all those I have family connections to!

My passion for trains started back in the early 1960’s when my Dad held me up to the window as the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad Town Job would rumble by our house on the south side of La Crosse, Wisconsin. The train usually had one SW1 Switcher and as many as twenty cars for the industries along this spur line. It ran from the CB&Q’s north La Crosse yard to CTC Herrington, which was located in the southeastern part of town. As time passed, I became friends with all the crew members on this switch job, so much so, they stopped the train and let me board the wooden CB&Q way car. I rode along as they performed their duties at the local industries. More time passed and soon I was assisting in the switch moves themselves, under the watchful eye of the Town Job’s conductor.  These experiences meant more to me than anyone could know, a young kid that liked trains, running an SW1, blowing that Blat single chime horn and ringing the bell, I was hooked for a lifetime.

This particular crew enjoyed the fruits of my Mother’s labor as I traded homemade strawberry jam for fusees and railroad chalk.  Imagine my Dad’s dismay, when he wanted fresh jelly on warm toast and all he found was a bunch of chalk and fusees! Soon enough school took me away from the Town Job and the crews retired or took different jobs, so I peddled my bike to the Northside to sit and watch the trains in and around Grand Crossing.  I hung around the now Burlington Northern roundhouse and took many photos at the time. I wish I knew now what I didn’t know then about all that first generation power, the pool power, and the different paint schemes, and so on. More time passed and I now traded my bicycle for a car and set my sights on the Grand Crossing interlocking tower; where the Milwaukee Road’s double track crossed the BN’s single track at grade with all the operations being controlled by the man in the tower.  Soon enough I was throwing the levers and bending the iron and the tower man was handling the radio work, talking to the trains and dispatchers. I was hanging orders for the Milwaukee Road trains and hooping up orders to the Chicago & North Western trains that ran between Winona and Tunnel City on the Milwaukee Road. If there were issues with the interlocking, I would walk the intended route and flag the train through, two short whistle blasts told me they saw me and they were moving. What a life for a kid that loved trains, the working man and the railroads.

I took a Watercolor class and as the teacher painted flowers, I was painting diesels.

During High School, I was in the Boy Scouts and completed my Eagle Scout where you have the opportunity the spend a day with an employer of your choice, I chose the Burlington-Northern Railroad. The Boy Scouts set me up with the Road Master of Engineers and Firemen based in La Crosse. He had arranged for me to take a train from La Crosse to Prairie Du Chein and back. After introducing me to the crew, I was sat down at the controls of two SD40-2s and 120 cars and proceeded to run it to Prairie Du Chein. What a thrill! The train I was supposed to bring back was late so I had to ride in the Road Foreman’s car back to La Crosse, I really didn’t care I was in heaven! After High School I worked various odd jobs and then I received the call of a lifetime, the BN called and offered me a job as a Brakeman and the same day Dairyland Power Cooperative called and offered me a position within the utility. Talk about a difficult choice. Soon I was working in the Transmission Engineering area of Dairyland Power, enjoying the trains in the Grand Crossing Tower on the weeknights and weekends, I had the best of both worlds!

All good things slowly come to a close, the Towerman I shared my time with retired and the now Soo Line closed the Tower. It was moved to Copeland Park next the CB&Q Steam Locomotive #4000, the Aeolus, Keeper of the Winds, and a wooden Milwaukee Road caboose. While at the power utility, I used my free time to draw trains in both pencil and ink. It was then I tried my first watercolor, but decided to stick with black and white artwork for a while. I drew up a set of seven pen & ink scenes and these were so well received, I did another set of three and started the model train show scene. Soon I tried watercolors again, it wasn’t pretty. I took a watercolor class and as the teacher painted flowers, I was painting diesels. There have been so many changes in the railroad scene in the last 40 years. This explains why I paint what I do: the history, what once was common, the railroads before the mega-mergers, the depots before they were torn down, steam before diesel, and diesels that were unique all to their own.

I accept all commission work if someone has a particular scene or railroad they are fond of and would like to see as a piece of quality art that makes any railroaders or railfan’s day. I have done many retirement paintings featuring the railroad where the retiree started with, and their name on a station sign somewhere in the painting itself. Almost all of my artwork can be seen on Facebook under Matuska RailArt page, feel free to stop by and take a look, I’ve also painted trucks, cars and vintage WWII Aircraft as well.

About the Author Jim Matuska

I’ve lived in La Crosse,Wisconsin all my life and recently retired after 39 years in the Civil Engineering field, which gave me my eye for details that cover many steam and diesel locomotives. My wife, Dorothy works at a local Bank and my son, Andrew, is a Locomotive Engineer for the BNSF Railway based out of La Crosse. I’ve always thought that Andrew is living out my dreams, but I have the memories. My artwork is all original, and I don’t make prints of my work because I want the person who purchases an original to have “the original”, not a copy. I paint what I feel unless it’s a commission where then I’ll do what I am asked. I like to paint the diesels and steam locomotives of the older Fallen Flag Railroads the best as they seem to bring back the best memories. I paint on 300# Paper which stands up quite well to watercolors and depending if I use hot or cold pressed paper, the desired effect of the colors being put down.

Here is some of Jim Matuska‘s artwork for you to enjoy. God has truly gifted him as an artist, and I’m sure I speak for all railfans in saying we are thrilled that he uses that gift to capture the history, the spirit and the passion that is railroading!  I also want to express my deepest gratitude to my dear friend, for allowing me to share his story here on Legacies…On The Rails! I’m honored and humbled! Please go check out the Matuska Railart page on Facebook, send Jim a Friend Request, and maybe have him commission some artwork for you. And as I’m famous for saying (because I truly believe it), You’ll be glad ya’ did!

 

As always, this is John LoshThe Losh-Man” reminding you that today is the day of Salvation! Jesus Christ gave His life for you on the cross of Calvary so that all of us can be forgiven of our sins and spend a wonderful eternity with Him in Heaven. But you aren’t born with it. We are all born in sin, in need of a Savior and though the gift is free, we must ask for it. We must ask Christ to come into our hearts and let Him be the Lord of our lives.

Revelation 3:20 says “Behold, I stand at the door and knock (He won’t force His way in, but He loves you and wants to be in your life). If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will (it’s a promise) come into him and dine with him and he with Me.”

So, accept His gift if you haven’t already, follow Him each day of your life through His word, prayer and a solid, uncompromisingly Bible believing, Bible preaching, Christ exalting church, and when it comes to trains and everything that is railroading, continue leaving Legacies…On The Rails! God Bless, and if I don’t see you at the railyard, if I don’t see you here…I hope Jim Matuska and I will see you In The Air!

 

 

Confessions Of The Pastor Assisting Railfan

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Welcome back to Legacies….On The Rails! I’d say after 9 months, it’s about time, wouldn’t you??? Well, as you can see from the picture above taken just last Friday 9/16/16 of the Illinois Terminal Heritage Unit (Norfolk Southern 1072) at the North Kansas City/Avondale, Missouri Norfolk Southern Yard, my railfanning of late has had a large emphasis on 1. Hunting the “Heritage Units“, which are specially decorated locomotives most in my current favorite model, the SD70ACE, that celebrate the heritage of what are known as the “Fallen Flags“, the railroads no longer in operation today. most of them have been absorbed by still operating railroads.

I am also enjoying getting pics and or video every chance I can of the Fallen Flags that despite being taken over by other companies, have either not yet repainted some of the fallen flag equipment, or maybe don’t plan to repaint some, again…to keep that no longer operating “road’s” history and heritage alive.

In the months since my last posting, I have caught nearly 10 of these specially decorated Heritage Locomotives. The one you see above came on a tip last Friday from my Facebook/Railfan buddy Darryl Hall Jr. He has tipped me off that NS 8105 (the Interstate Railroad Heritage Unit) may be at my local yard today or tomorrow and I hope to add it to my trophy list of Heritage Units caught so far.

Here are some more Heritage Unit Pics.

Here are some pics of those Fallen Flag equipment that are simply still in original paint that I have been catching as well. I also created a Facebook album just today on my page (John W Losh II) that features all these pics.

But, for you to really get the jist of my railfan exploits since my last posting, here is Episode 10 just recorded earlier this morning of the Legacies On The Rails Radio (Podcast) that I am actually planning on making a major part of this blog, so that I have to do less typing, since I already do a rough draft on paper, it is easier to speak than to type.

I hope to be reporting this Saturday as I will be heading from Kansas City to Columbia, Missouri to take my son (a Political Science Major at the University Of Missouri) to the Mizzou/Delaware State football game, and plan to make some railfan stops along the way, including Blackwater, Mo (home of the Iron Horse Hotel) as I have been there twice before, but have not had time to stick around long enough to catch any trains there, but should most certainly this time.

Until next time, continue to follow the Lord Jesus Christ with all your heart, mind and soul, and when it comes to trains, continue leaving Legacies….On The Rails!

 

Local Rail-Fanning And Out Of Town Trips Yield Much More Than Expected

As I sit here listening to Tim Harrison and Craig Bisgeier on Model Railcast Show #210, http://themodelrailcastshow.com/2015/06/mrcs-show-210-the-rose-knows-op-special-with-mike-rose-and-lawrence-order-swu-safe-wiring-unit-with-larry-eggering/ , that they were kind enough to mention me and the Legacies On The Rails Podcast in, I have to tell you that the last time I thought of doing a posting on here, I though “Well….I don’t have much to share except for a few local pics”. Even though I had more than enough pics to share from my usual local haunts of the KC-Front St KC Southern Knoche Yard, and the North Kansas City located BNSF Murray Yard, and  Norfolk Southern to also finally discovering where Mid-America Car is off KC’s Riverfront Rd just across from the Knoche Yard and getting some shots there. Too many to share everything. We started vacation on the weekend of June 21st and I don’t return to work until July 10th, so lots more time for rail-fanning.

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Then, my wife and I taking yet another get-away just the two of us, returning to Branson, Missouri and on the way there, I caught some pics and even a short video from the BNSF Yard in Springfield, Missouri.

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Once in Branson, we did not initially plan to, but later decided to again ride the Branson Scenic Railway.

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Once on board, all the Branson Scenic Railway staff like David, who has been with them since just after our last ride in July, 2014, after retiring, and driving around the country solo is his RV for a while, but finally settling in Branson to be near his sister who is a local resident,and who really loves all the people he meets on the BSR, and John, who was in the Kansas City area for thirty years before retiring and loves trains, and people, and Karen, and David, all took really good care of us.

They seated us with Norman & Carrie Bruggeman from Waterloo, Iowa who are newlyweds, having just gotten married the previous Saturday in Waterloo, after four years of traveling together as he drove a truck, and later we sat for a bit with Dale & Joann from Cincinatti, Ohio.

While in town, we checked out various antique malls and thrift stores, and I picked up a few items for my growing railroad collection. I also picked up some from the Trade Fair Mall (Antiques) in Osceola, Missouri both on the drive down and the return trip to Kansas City.

Speaking of my collection, I have now rearranged how some of it is displayed, and have had some of my pics turned into 8 x 10’s that have now been added, and have also used 3 x 5 index cards to place near the various trains and train cars that state what railroad they are from, and its history-which has been just that, a great history lesson for me. Some of my recent acquisitions include items relating to  Canadaian Pacific’s The Dominion Steam Locomotive, The St Louis-San Francisco Railroad, New York Central, and New Haven. If you really want to see everything, I would suggest, if you are already my Facebook Friend, check out my albums under Railroadin’ and My Railroad Collection. If you are not, send me a request at John W Losh II. You will also see that I have now also began to modify postings of other friends’ rail photos as well as my own, to further share my faith in Jesus Christ by taking the Road # from the various trains, and finding scripture verses to post that correspond to the Road #.

I then, upon my return to Kansas City, had to meet a buddy that I had sold some of my sports card collection to in the past, as he was buying some more that I found in my rec-room closet, and I knew that right near there,I could always find freight cars sitting on a siding, so I took a few moments to go shoot them.

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The next day, we had to turn around and leave for Columbia, Missouri where our University Of Missouri student Son lives and works, as our Daughter Cara was a State Finalist in the National American Miss-Missouri Teen Pageant. Here is a video I put together using my new favorite app Viva Video, of pictures from the weekend, both at the Pageant, as well as time with our Son.

And, though Columbia is practically a ghost town as far as railroads go, I was able to find some free time, and drove a couple exits east on I-70 and found some freight cars outside a Honeywell facility, as well as a cool locomotive outside Colt Transload.

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But then on Sunday, I was able to be in what is what I call my “Home Church Away From Home” of Renick Church in Renick, Missouri where my Cousin Robert Turpin (the one I told you early on is largely responsible for starting me on the Genealogy journey that has led to the rail-fan in me coming to life) and his family attends, which was great because though I have been in his area numerous times over the past year, just for a few hours here and there, his schedule had not been allowing for us to get together and had really missed him and his family. I was privileged to have him introduce me for the benefit of those who may not have known me, and to let them know that I was taking pics to turn into a video, and I also got to lead the closing prayer at the end of the service. Here is the video.

But as far as being a rail-fan is concerned,the best….was yet to come! I soon found out that as Manager for two Fastenal Stores in the area, Robert services all the local railroads, and that his family’s current home in Huntsville, Missouri has railroad tracks actively used daily by all the same Norfolk Southern and BNSF trains that I see come through the Norfolk Southern Yard here locally. He was even able to take me to the Norfolk Southern Yard in Moberly, Missouri, as well as showing me the exterior of the local rail museum in Moberly that includes a Wabash Caboose and a Pullman car on display. It is my hope that this recent re-connection we made will lead to him nailing down a weekend soon for me to come stay with them, as we could pretty much just set up at the edge of his backyard and shoot pics and video all day long, and who knows where else he could take me.

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Here is a video I put together from my pics from all these recent rail-fan excursions. Again, using Viva Video.

Now, during that same weekend, I had hoped…to meet with Tom Conboy of the Terminal Talk Model Railroad Podcast, https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/terminaltalk-model-railroad/id595057410?mt=2 but his schedule of church commitments just didn’t allow us to. And, as the Assistant to Pastor Russ Steel of local New Life Baptist Church, I certainly understand what it is to be busy in ministry. Here are some of Tom’s recent videos.

And, since I was there, here are some pics that Robert posted earlier today of a Loram Maintenance Of Way train that he caught near his home.

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I jokingly stated on Facebook that this is what happens when your Rail-Fan Cousin comes to visit for the afternoon-he has been assimilated! But, I am have yet another out of town adventure with lots of rail-fan potential yet to come. This Friday, July 3rd, I will point the Legacies On The Rails Cruiser in the direction of West Plains, Missouri, via Springfield Missouri where I will return to the Jefferson Avenue Foot Bridge that my wife and I visited in April, 2014 which is a great Rail-Fan site. This is before heading to my Hotel-the Super 8 in West Plains, where I will stay for two nights to attend my Losh/Worley Family Reunion (the 41st Annual) at the Lions Club Hall in Willow Springs, Missouri on Saturday July 4th. Willow Springs, from what I’ve read, has 20-30 + trains a day passing through, via tracks that are right near our reunion location and that’s just what I know for sure is on my agenda at this point. Indications are that there is a BNSF yard in West Plains, and the list goes on. So, the towns of West Plains and Willow Springs will be assimilated-resistance to Legacies On The Rails is futile!

I also hope to record more Legacies On The Rails Podcasts along the trip. Here is the link to all the current shows.http://www.podomatic.com/podcast . One of them is not a Legacies On The Rails show, but I needed somewhere to Podcast the audio of a speech my daughter gave at the National American Miss Pageant, so be sure and check it out as well.

Let’s wrap up with some Woody Guthrie-This Train Is Bound For Glory . 

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I’m John Losh, thanking you for tuning in again, and hope you will continue to as we continue to leave Legacies……..On The Rails!