|The Mighty Texas Chief Departs Houston, Northbound to Chicago in 1949. A Five Year Old Boy On This Train Would Never Forget the Experience.|
|Houston's Union Station Outside (Above) and Inside (Below) Seemed Huge to a Five Year Old Boy|
I clearly remember this trip, for it was full of wonder as seen through the eyes of a little boy. When we arrived at Houston's Union Station, I couldn't believe how big it was. And there were so many people bustling around! And when I looked out the back of the station, there were all these different trains lined up, and passengers were getting on them and getting off of them---I was in a wonderland!
|The Huge Diesel Engine That Powered the Texas Chief Scared a Little Five Year Old Boy so Bad That He Remembers the Experience 61 Years Later|
As we prepared to board our train to Chicago---the Texas Chief, we walked alongside the engine back toward the car we would be riding in, and all of a sudden a huge rush of steam burst from the bottom of the engine. It scared me so bad that I can still feel the fear that washed over me back then. I was trembling at the thought of this great dragon of an engine, hissing fire and steam and causing me to tremble. I was so happy to get away from that beast and enter our car farther down the tracks.
|I Loved Watching America Glide Past|
My mom got us seated. By and by the mighty train began to lurch and slowly pulled from the station. I watched in wonder as downtown Houston passed by and receded. The train now began to pick up speed as it bore northward toward Fort Worth, Oklahoma City, Wichita, Kansas City, Fort Madison and Chicago.
|The Dining Car Was Another Wonderful Adventure|
|Another Part Of the Dining Car|
When the train stopped in towns to take on or let off passengers, I would watch intently from the windows. I was seeing America as it really existed. Of course, I couldn't sleep after nightfall, because I certainly did not want to miss anything.
And then there was the wonder and excitement of the dining car and the club car. We would eat our meals in the dining car, often sharing a table with other travelers we did not know. Everyone, it seemed to me, was friendly. The food, I recall, was excellent.
|The Club Car Had the Best Views|
The next morning, even more excitement began to build as we neared Chicago. I knew my grandparents would meet us at the station, and I would soon be asleep in their home, my mind filled with dreams of huge hissing dragons, speeding trains and shouting conductors.