A Railroad sort of Town

You wouldn’t know the boundaries until you spotted a sign these days.

But once upon a time – soon after the cholera epidemic of 1849 – a ring of independent towns – the early suburbs – formed around St. Louis.

According to local lore, one of them was established by a train man. And as recently as the generation ahead of my own, I heard of commuters to downtown taking the daily train from the station across the tracks from city hall.

The tracks remain. Every day they are used by freight trains delivering coal, rock, and boxcars of other goods. And Amtrack pauses but a moment on its journey across Missouri.

I sit in my car, behind a few others, and wait. 1, 2,3,4…I count the freight cars. 52, 53, 54… the warning bell at the crossing continues to clang. 104, 105, the final car passes and the long black and white crossing bars raise for traffic.

Placed with a good view of the modern, sleeker models as they glide through town.