Main Index
History Index
Modeling Index

Trail Index

Index>Prose & Poetry>SRR Adventure

Sussex Railroad Adventure


 A child's view of a trip up the Sussex Branch of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad in the year 1915.

by David E. Rutan

Copyright © 2001 David E. Rutan


Josh's head spun around in excitement, taking in all the sights at the Netcong/Stanhope station. Living in nearby Port Morris, he had seen trains his entire life, but this was the first time he was to ride one without his parents. "Is this our train comin', Pa? Is it?"
Pa was at the ticket window talking with the agent, so Emily, Josh's older sister, took him by the hand to keep him still.

"Pa said the next one on that track is ours." She pointed to the shining rails near the concrete station platform. "Now be still while he gets our tickets."

Pa came over with the worn satchel and bent down to hand a ticket each to Emily and Josh. "Here you are. Now keep hold of them until the conductor asks."

Josh and Emily took the tickets, but their heads were turned toward the approaching steam engine chuffing up the rails to the station. An automobile putted across the tracks before the gate keeper lowered the crossing gate. The train whistle began sounding.

The ground trembled as the engine slowed and passed by, bell ringing and steam hissing from the cylinders as the pistons pushed the big driver wheels around.

The black engine was followed by the tender, carrying coal, then by a dark green baggage car, and finally, by a pair of dark green coaches. The word 'LACKAWANNA' was painted in gold above the row of windows. When the train stopped, the conductor, dressed in a white shirt and black suit, stepped off of the first coach and began assisting passengers from the train.

Pa stood up and walked to the conductor waving for Josh and Emily to come. "Morning to you sir."

"Good Morning." said the conductor.

Josh looked the conductor up and down, admiring the gold pocket watch on the long shining chain on his vest.

"This is my children's first trip on a train alone," said Pa. "I wonder if you could keep an eye on them?"

"Yes sir, I can do that," said the conductor glancing at his watch.

"Always happy to help. Where are they getting off?"

"We're going to Branchville to see Aunt Martha," Josh said.

"Josh hush!" whispered Emily pulling him back by the arm.

The conductor smiled. "It's all right, miss," he said. "He has a right to be excited."

Pa bent down to them and adjusted his brimmed hat. "I want you two to behave on the trip. And be good for Aunt Martha. She'll be meeting you at the station when you get there."

"We will, Pa," they said and each kissed him on the cheek.

"Good, now you'd better be getting aboard before the train leaves you here. I've got to get back to work at the store."
Josh and Emily climbed the steps of the coach and Pa handed them the satchel. Emily, hefted it in with them as they went to find a seat.

The inside of the coach was painted a cream color and the seats were wicker. Emily chose a seat at the end of the car by one of the open windows and plopped the satchel down beside her. There were few passengers in the car, so Josh chose the empty seat in front of his sister.

A moment later they heard the conductor yell,"B-o-o-o-a-r-d!"
The train's whistle tooted twice and their car lurched forward on its way as the conductor entered the coach.

(end of excerpt)

Contact the Author