A trip down a railway memory lane

A trip down a railway memory lane

The day of my 50th birthday is fast approaching and I continue with my trip down memory lane and recall some things that helped me fall in love with trains. 

Where I lived in Dublin was close to one of the mainline rail station out of Dublin to the West and South of Ireland. Places like Cork, Kerry, Galway, Mayo and Waterford were served by the train from Heuston Station and still are today. My second job after I left school would see me get a job on the trains. And as I loved trains this was probably the best job for me to start my working life. Meeting people every day and working on something I loved. 

I got to travel to Westport in Mayo most days before moving over to the Dublin – Belfast line for about a year and needed my career on the railways working relief shifts on Dublin to Galway, Waterford and Sligo. I got to travel on nearly every inch of track in Ireland over my 3 years working on the train and it was a wonderful experience. 

But my love of trains started well before my working life started. The railway being beside me helped and getting a Lima model railway set for Christmas one year certainly helped. I had pictures on my wall of trains and I vaguely remember train wallpaper in my bedroom too. 

We went on a family holiday to Wales and got to go on a steam train and of course the Isle of Man had all sorts of railway stuff, steam trains, vintage electric and horse drawn trams. I just loved tracks and it’s something I still notice as I drive from place to place. 

Last summer on our drive to Michigan from Atlanta, and even though the day was tinged with grief (more about this on Friday), I noticed railway tracks wherever I could. Detroit was great for that and driving around I got to see and get an idea of how busy it must have been as a rail kink years ago.  

Well my love of railways will now manifest itself into probably one of my life bucket list items, a model railway layout in our basement. I had a small layout back home but I had to leave all my railway stuff behind when I made the move to the USA in 2015. 

Mann what an Isle! 

Mann what an Isle! 

So I continue my journey though life and today I am remembering my favorite holidays (vacations) from my past. I have traveled to numerous countries, and seen nearly every county back home in Ireland, with Giants Causeway the one big omission, but my favorite place has always been the Isle of Man. 

My first trip there I was no older than 11 or 12 and it started a love of everything on the island. A few hours by ferry from Dublin the trip over was always done very early in the morning, arriving on the Isle of Man as morning started, around 7am. This lead to some early morning fun when I would return to the island as a adult with 2 friends and my brother, but that’s a story for another day. 

As I said, my first trip was when I was 11 or 12, and it was with the local scouts. It was quickly followed by a trip with my parents, sister and brother as we had a family holiday together there. I would go again twice more with the scouts, once as a leader and once as a scout. 

So what is it about the Isle of Man I love? Well you put steam trains, old electric trams and horse drawn trams in one place and I am a captive audience. My love of trains is no secret and it was in the Isle of Man I was able to get close up to real working steam engines. 

My best trip to the Isle of Man was in 2011 and it was a birthday trip with a retirement from the military as well as my first lone  trip with Robert, my son, after my divorce in 2009. We had a blast, riding the trains and trams every day, going to visit old castles, seeing motor car racing and generally having a blast. To see Robert enjoy the Isle of Man as much as I have was a joy to behold. 

Someday I hope to return to the Isle of Man and share the memories I have with Leanne. Probably will only be a day trip or 2 but it will be worth it to have one more journey on the steam trains and electric trams.