While attending the Rock Island Train Festival at Rock Island, IL, I was in the rail yard getting video footage of NKP 765 as she simmered in the July heat. Since they were waiting in the yard, the crew beckoned a young lad to come up and see what the cab looked like. As he sat in the fireman’s seat, I grabbed my camera and took a few photos. He was trying with all his might to pull the whistle cord, but he was just too small to make more than a light “frrrrrt” sound.

The crew demonstrated how the whistle should sound, with a roar that could be heard for miles. The young man tried again and again, pulling with all his weight, finally getting a few passible but short toots.

My Lasting Memory

The sight of the little guy reminded me of a lasting memory of mine. It was another summer day, probably in 1953 or ’54, when I was a youngster invited into the cab of a giant Great Northern steam locomotive on the siding near my home. Dad took about 4 seconds of movie film of my tiny head in the large window. I don’t remember the details too clearly as I was only 3 or 4 years old, but I do remember my excitement, and the massive size of the machine, and the steep ladder steps to climb to enter the cab.

I hope this kid was as impressed as I was. My lasting memory never went away……


Lasting Memory

Pulling the whistle cord on NKP 765, Yard Goat Images Photo

Thousands attended the Rock Island Train Festival. They got close up looks at modern and historic railroad equipment. they rode trains. For many who attended, a lasting memory might be the hot summer days, the smell of coal smoke in the air, the hiss of steam, the sound of the whistle.

A Lasting Memory on DVD

If you missed this one-time railroad event, or even if you were there, you may be interested in our DVD program Steamin’ Summer, a three-part DVD series with scenes of the Rock Island Train Festival, the many excursions, plus visits to the Little River Railroad, the Silver Creek & Stephenson Railroad, and the Monticello Railroad Museum. The DVDs also make great gifts!

Thanks, Steve Mitchell, Yard Goat Images


Lasting Memory

Steamin’ Summer 3-DVD Combo