Wednesday, June 24, 2009

This Train is Bound For Glory

"This train is bound for glory,
Don't carry nothing but the righteous and the holy.
This train don't carry no gamblers,
Liars, thieves, nor big shot ramblers,
This train don't carry no con men,
No wheeler dealers, here and gone men..."

We're at track side on the CSX right of way in the Neck Area of the Charleston peninsula. CSX Railroad owns the track, but leases use of it to Norfolk-Southern. The trains just amble along this section of the system moving ever so slowly. They tend to block traffic for an inordinate amount of time in the view of most motorists. The train in the photo is just about to break to its left and cross the road right were we are perched. It will continue to wend its way south on the peninsula until it reaches the S.C. Port Authority's Union Pier.

When it reaches Union Pier it will both discharge and take aboard Porsche automobiles. We manufacture certain Porsche models in South Carolina and export them abroad. Porsche also ships some of their European made models into the U.S. via Charleston.
This train is bound for glory and the show room.

Old Woody Guthrie might well have been right about the train itself, but he'd be more than a little surprised to see that Tom Joad hobo types have been replaced by brand new Porsches for cargo. The American freight train was a central metaphor for Guthrie's Populist, arguably Socialist, pitch. Woody had written on his guitar a warning: "This Machine Kills Fascists ". The last Porsche model Woody could ever have seen was in 1967 when Huntington's Disease killed him.

The Grapes of Wrath have gone to vinegar as bitter as this irony would be for Old Woody to swallow. We'd have to agree that a few of the new Porsches might soon be carrying some of what the train to glory would not. Woody probably had to take a different train as well.


Blogger Eyebee said...

Interesting post. As a former railroad engineer, albeit passenger trains, I understand the value of railroads in moving large quantities of both people and freight in an economic manner (both financially, and economically).

11:35 AM  

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