Indirectly associated with the events of National Train Day, the former Santa Fe No. 3751 was going to pulling an excursion train from Los Angeles Union Station to San Bernardino, California as part of San Bernardino Railroad Days and Bicentennial Celebration.
It was perfect timing for me as I was going to be attending the National Train Day events at Los Angeles Union Station yesterday anyways so I altered my schedule a bit so I could see the 3751 leave LA.
I caught Metrolink #351 at the Upland Metrolink Station and took it into LA. Onboard the train already were a lot of folks that were heading to Los Angeles to board the excursion train and ride it back to San Bernardino. It added to the excitement of the day’s events and they were clearly looking forward to their trip and it spilled over to the rest of us.
As we pulled into Track 6 at Union Station I saw the 3751 majestically holding the point of the excursion train on Track 8. She was alive with steam and raring to go.
I exited the train and made my way to her track. The crew was making final preparations and the scene was littered with railfans already in position and the press covering the event. I unpacked my cameras and monopod and began to take some shots:
The train’s departure time drew near and as I completed my final shots, I noticed a man whom looked out of place because he looked like he belonged there - one with the 3751, if you will. He focused intently on every detail and sound in sheer silence. Folks passing did not garner even the slightest distraction of his pursuit to absorb what laid before him. He was one the treasures of on Track 8, one was the 3751 and the other was he, Jerry Brown, 81 years old and from Culver City, California.
I spoke briefly to him, so as not to take away from his moment, just to get his name, age, and reason for being track side. It turns out that he was there, in full steam regalia, as a steam enthusiast. He was not there to ride, nor for the National Train Day event. Rather, he was there out of love - and, perhaps, to remember.
Thanks Jerry, you made my trip.