Friday, October 22, 2010

Trains and Tunes

There've been lots of stories in the news lately about unused boxcars being parked on latent railroad tracks all over the country. There's just such a set of parallel tracks about two hundred yards from my house. For the past half year there's been a succession of boxcars parked on that track. They are occasionally moved around to access either the ink plant or the R.R.Donnely's plant. Mostly, they just sit there.

Dar and I were walking Breeze and Ariel along those tracks the other day. The gravel road that runs along those tracks also leads to the County Athletic Complex (softball diamonds and soccer fields). On the far side of the Athletic park is the greenway. The greenway then leads home. So we can make a big four mile walk or run of that route.

Anyway, as we were walking along that 1/4 - 1/2 mile of unused boxcars, one of us remarked at the skill and imagination demonstrated by the graffiti that decorated most of those boxcars.

One thing that we couldn't help but notice -- there was almost no obscenity in the graffiti. Neither the images nor the language was offensive.

Oh, I'm sure there's the possibility of some gang code or something that I didn't understand. But at least to this casual observer, there was nothing but some very pleasing, well rendered artwork.

It actually added a bit of interest to the walk. Like an outdoor art gallery.

But the thing that REALLY caught my eye...

Most of the way down that long row of boxcars something out of the ordinary happened to catch my eye. I couldn't believe it. There's sure enough a story in there somewhere, and I think I'd like to know what it was, because there in red paint on a deeper, rustier red box car was the lyric...

It takes a worried man
To sing a worried song

The historian, the novel reader, and the romantic in me is dying to know more about that bit of lyric spraypainted on a boxcar in the year 2010. There's a story there.

For enjoyable few hours, here's an interesting gallery on the same subject called "THE BOXCAR PROJECT"


  1. Nice post, John. A friend of mine made this great video of life on the tracks from the perspective of those who work there:

  2. I like the link. Thanks for sharing.