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Draplin Design Co., North America
November 10, 2009
Horror On The Rails
Posted at 03:09 PM


I USED TO WORK ON THE RAILS: Up in Alaska. One of these years, I’ll get my shit together and make a proper post or chapter on this site dedicated to my four grueling “summers on the rail” up there in the last frontier. Washing dishes and cooking. Ugh. It’s easy to get romantic about those long hours, you know, due to the surrounding beauty of Alaska’s interior and all. But man, I’m just gonna give it to you straight: That shit sucked.

I’m a pretty tough cookie, or so I say. In all honesty, each and every morning getting on to that train were some of the lowest points of my life. Getting up at 5 A.M. and knowing only one thing: For the next 40 hours, I am theirs.

Summers 1996, ‘97, ‘98 & ‘99: Horseshit rules. Politics. Fake smiles. Big hair. Nervous guys with mustaches and clipboards. And cook’s whites. Yeah, cook clothes. Those over-starched death traps used to mess me up good. Mean servers. Mean cooks. Spirited maintenance crew.

And ladies and gentleman, the cleanest, tightest and most-efficient dishpit ever to be run on those rails. Truth hurts, Fanning!

Nevertheless, here’s a beautiful set of train posters from back in the day, and you don’t want to miss these.

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HOW LOGOS CHANGE, OVER A CENTURY: Illinois Central Railroad Logos.

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EVERYTHING ABOUT THAT SHEET FIRES ME UP: A CSX Microscale Decal sheet to check out. So good.

And the Pennsylvania Railroad…all of it.

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I JUST LIKE SAYING IT: Railroadiana. Dig around in there. Tons of fun. Miles and miles of rail.

For instance, check their “baggage tags” section. Man.

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SIMPLY TITLED: “A railroad logo - Lima, Ohio”

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01. Old 97s - Too Far To Care
02. Backsliders - Southern Lines
03. Railroad Jerk - One Track Mind

There Are 4 Comments

While you were in the bowels of the train working your nuts off to appease the tourists, I was busting my ass on the rail (track laborer) making sure that shit was solid enough to run a mass of screaming steel over it. I spent most of my time in Girdwood, Portage, Whittier and Anchorage but I did a short hitch up in Talkeetna. Was in charge of the section from the Parks Highway all the way up to Hurricane Gulch. Summer of ‘99 made me one tough, broken individual. Cheers to the brothers of the rail!

Posted by: Mike Kirkpatrick on 11/10/09 at 6:46 PM

Damn. I grew up in CT and that logo above reminds me of this old bridge that I drive under that has a faded old Providence Railroad graphic on it. I need to stop and take a photo of it.

Posted by: Beau Colburn on 11/11/09 at 8:08 AM

Wasn’t even gonna dignify this rant… but you singled me out. Remember when I threw out your pancakes cuz they weren’t light and fluffy enough? I thought you were gonna cry.
As for other endeavors, either yer “on board” or yer not. Would love to talk shop, otherwise, I’ll see you in hell. Or somewhere like it.

Posted by: tyler on 11/11/09 at 4:10 PM

I have this same shot in front of my desk. I go to school in new york, grew up in hartford, and take the train back to new haven everytime i go home.

Posted by: Christopher Peck on 11/11/09 at 5:51 PM
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