Rosenberg Railroad Museum

Look at that Caboose!

I admit my ignorance; I had no idea what a caboose was until I visited the Rosenberg Railroad Museum.  This bright red MoPac Caboose went at the end of the train and the engine at the front.  It was an office of sorts for the conductor and brakeman.  This one was built in 1972 for the Missouri Pacific Railroad – don’t these railroad company names give you chills?  It brings back wonderful nostalgia of American movies for me.  With the addition of computerized systems, cabooses are no longer used on trains.

Tower 17 was commissioned in 1903 and was a fully working tower until 2004.  This is still the busiest junction in Texas, south west of Houston.  We could see the old Interlocker which operated the switches and signs but perhaps even more exciting we could view the current computerized map of the trains in that area.  There were soooo many and there was even a traffic train jam while incredibly long trains passed.  It is completely normal to sit for 20 minutes while a train passes at a railroad crossing in Texas.  I am always too amped to get annoyed at the delay; what are they carrying; which railroad company is it?  Sometimes you feel disorientated when looking at a train carrying cars when you are driving parallel on a busy highway.

The computer screen looks out of place…

Then there was all the old office equipment – it reminds me how old I am…  The little children looked with fascination at the antiques.  Does anyone remember duplicators, the precursor to photocopies?  You had to type/engrave a document and roll copies out in blue ink (that got everywhere!)  One little boy, in our tour, was 3 years old but looked 6.  He called his grandma, “Oma” which is the German version.  They were utterly Texan but descended from German immigrants, way back.  She apologized for his endless questions because he was really just a toddler.  He was adorable.

The Quebec

The Quebec above, built in 1872, was a luxury business cabin and fully renovated.  I can only imagine how lovely it was eating a proper meal while looking out at the Texas countryside.

Business Class Dining – ‘old school’

The museum was small but really informative with a miniature gauge railroad.  One of my favorite childhood memories was going on a steam train from St Enoch’s station in Glasgow to Dumfries, a city in the south west of Scotland.  The noise, steam and billowing clouds were so evocative of a different age.

Liiliput

This is one of the lovely historic buildings in Rosenberg with the Railroad Café and outside tables.  Perhaps it would be nice in the winter – the heat index was 108 degrees and even I was wilting.

Finally – the piece de resistance…

Whoo hoo – a real train passing at old Tower 17.  We could see it on the computer map just half an hour earlier – can I infuse any more enthusiasm into this train geek post???  This is the Burlington North Santa Fe Railroad Company (BNSF) whose headquarters are in Fort Worth, Texas.  The most common company I see is Union Pacific but I see others from Canada and Kansas.

Nikita and the flamingo

NIKITA

NIKITA

This is the adorable ‘poodle’ Nikita that friends of ours had brought from Azerbaijan to Egypt (via Kuwait). She was not 100% poodle but near enough that it made no difference. Our friends arrived in Egypt shortly after the second Gulf War broke out and had been evacuated from Kuwait. They needed to travel shortly after arriving and asked if we would look after Nikita in our villa.

I was delighted, Teddy not so much. At this stage we just had Mrs. Stripe, who was still very feral and living in the garden, so not our pet as such. Before we arrived in Egypt I had lost my mum and the two remaining elderly Scottish cats. I didn’t really lose them – they died… We had decided “NO MORE PETS!” Despite that, I really missed having little fur babies to cuddle.

So as indulgent aunt and uncle to Nikita, we spoiled her rotten. She came with her toys and food but we could tell that she, too, was traumatized by the recent move. Firstly, I insisted that she sleep in the bed with us, under the covers, because she might be frightened with new people in a new house. She was SO excited, Teddy not so much…

I noticed that she didn’t really play that much with her toys which included a pink stuffed flamingo. We decided that she might like a silly game. Our villa had an open staircase in the living area with a balcony. Teddy would steal flamingo and run up the stairs and dangle flamingo through the bars. Then he squealed in a high ‘flamingo’ voice, “Nikita, help me, help me!” I was at the bottom urging her to save flamingo from bad Teddy. She LOVED that game and would collapse in doggy giggles while rescuing flamingo. I would then praise her for her rescue skills.

Every day, when Uncle Teddy came home she would run to him with the flamingo in her mouth and the game would start all over. We had one small incident with jealous Mrs. Stripe who tried to scratch Nikita on the face – my leg got it instead. Finally mom and dad came back and I think Nikita was sad to leave us. The next week at work, Nikita’s Daddy said to Teddy, “You have ruined my dog. Why does she keep bringing me the flamingo and looking sad?” He probably wondered why Nikita wanted to sleep under the covers, too.

Ah, happy days and such a lovely memory especially since Nikita and her Daddy have both gone to heaven. Do you think they are playing the flamingo game in Heaven? Click on this link to read about my book, Letters from Cairo

Teddy and Nikita at the crime scene

Teddy and Nikita at the crime scene