"Behold, the days are coming," declares the Lord, "when the plowman shall overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him who sows the seed; the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it." (ESV) (Amos 9:13)




CHOO CHOO--The train is in the station at Trainland USA, 3135 Highway 17 North, Colfax, Iowa. Let me be your conductor today as I invite you to hop aboard for a "Lionel ride" across America.

I want to show you one more train--and it is a huge machine. Big Boy--the world's largest steam locomotive was built in 1941 as an important component in the Union Pacific Railroad System. This big guy weighs 1,208,750 pounds. Its route was between Cheyenne, Wyoming and Ogden, Utah until it retired in 1958. It now sits in Holiday Park in Cheyenne. I found this picture in my archives and here is where I fit in. I used to run by this train every day when we visited Jeannine's brother in Cheyenne. I would run from Bro Ken's home to downtown Cheyenne. Then I always did a water stop at Holiday Park to enjoy a short visit with Big Boy!


My View for the Month: Needless to say, I am a farm boy and I do a lot of rural Iowa things. I feel like I may have over-dosed you on farm tractors--so I thought this month I would "get on another track. All I know about trains, I have learned from books, such as Stephen Ambrose's "Nothing Like It in the World." That is history, of course, but I also realize trains are still an important part of Iowa agriculture and Iowa economy. I know this because on the way to the farm, I almost always get caught waiting for a "no end in sight" train. I always hope some of these rail cars are carrying grain, livestock and other Iowa products that supply foodstuffs for a hungry world.


Trainland USA is a magnificent train museum located just a few miles north of Colfax, Iowa. This great collection of Lionel trains and accessories is a great learning tool for railroad history in the United States. This display spans through three eras of rail development--frontier, steam and diesel. Now, as self appointed conductor for the day, I promised you a tour--so here goes. We start at one of my fave places, New York City, and on to our nation's capital. Then we continue through the coal country, on to the midwest and make a stop at Omaha. A trip past Sioux City packing plants and the Iowa rural area is a must for a Western Iowa farm boy like me. Next, we enjoy some sights (and even a circus) in the Old West. Finally, we travel through some oil producing country and wind up our coast to coast tour. Now for a  good night's sleep at the Ocean View Motel. From here you are on your own--I am hanging up my conductor's cap and catching the next flight outa here. I'm ready to go back to Iowa!


We exercise walk at Merle Hay Mall almost every day during the winter months. What a surprise it was to see this sign "GOT TRAINS" on a store front of a space that was empty just a few days ago. But this is not a run of the mill retail shop. There is nothing for sale here. The Central Iowa Garden Railroad Club leased this space during the winter months to share their display and hopefully encourage others to gain an interest in the hobby that is so dear to them--model railroading. It is fun to see all of those trains racing around the track, but better hurry. Come spring, they will be heading back out to the gardens.