Railroad Stories: Old Railroad Tracks Served as Playground

Children used old railroad tracks as place to play.

| Good Old Days

I grew up in a very small town in northern Iowa. The farmers put in the Short Railroad line to get their plant and animal products to the market. Six days a week, the train went east in the morning, and west in the afternoon - and those old railroad tracks were quite popular with us children.

In the spring and summer months, the main track and the switch track became our game station. Pump, pump, pull away and Red light - Green light were only a couple of games we played. Sometimes, in the spring, we would just walk along the tracks and admire the blooming flowers.

As we got older, the tracks made first and third bases for a softball game. The cinders between the tracks were hard on the softball, and on bare feet, if you didn't want to run home to get your shoes.

On Sundays, when the train didn't run, we would push the section car, "Dumpy," onto the tracks. Then we would push it and jump on. We'd have to keep doing this all the way to the bulkhead, where we picked cowslips and looked for Indian heads on a nearby hill.

It was great growing up in a little town. We had so much freedom and our own little playground.

Iona Burlile
Norwalk, Calif.

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