Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Boji Ghost Train

There’s an abandoned railroad track in northwest Iowa that runs parallel to state highway 9/ U.S. 71. Abandoned railways are fairly common, but what make this stretch unusual is that there’s a train still sitting on the tracks. A full passenger train, sans engine. Oddly enough a caboose is trapped in the middle of the coach cars.

It’s creepy and fascinating.

Apparently, back in the day, the train ran between Estherville, Iowa and the Lakes Region of Okoboji, Spirit Lake, and West Okoboji, (and more than likely farther.)  Its final resting place is on private property just west of Superior, Iowa; a dot on the map between its two destinations. How it got there, I don’t know. (I’ve even tried to do a bit of on-line research but have had little luck.)

The train appears to me to have been going east when it came to a stop. The front section of the train is surrounded by trees and creates a backdrop for a farm place. Farm house and out buildings bravely stand between the train and the highway.  

This part of the train seems to have weathered better than the back half of the train. It still has some glass in the windows, stubborn white and green paint hold on to the exterior and it is less rusty than the back half.

Out in the wide open, the wide FLAT open, where ions ago glaciers pulverized the land, the back section of the train withers. Northwest Iowa is wide open and windy. Northwest Iowa is cold and snowy in the winter. Winter with a capital W. (Sometimes even more wintery than Fairbanks, Alaska.)

This part of the train is Armageddon-like. Zombie Train. The Walking Dead would kill for a train like this one. All of the windows have been busted out, either by man or nature. Rust presides over paint.

I’ve heard it glows at night.  When the wind howls from the north locals report hearing the metal-on-metal scream of breaks grabbing tracks. Specters try to break free of the train but cannot leave.  *Not really. I just made this part up. (Baazinga!)*

My imagination kind of goes Stephen King on me when I see abandoned crap like this train. Iowa is full of creepy rundown, forgotten junk. We’re still rural enough to have room for rot. 

Old corrugated tin silos stand watch over weedy overgrown farmsteads, shuttered three-story brick school buildings loom over small towns, acres of barren factories hang their once productive heads.  And there are barns. So many barns. 

I love going places and taking a look around, even in my own state. I don’t have to go far to find fodder for my imagination.

And if you know me, you know I’ll file this train in my memory for future use in a story. Everything I write has a bit of truth, a bit of real events, and real places entwined within the invented. That’s what it means to “write what you know,” I think.

Until next time, explore!

Be Good to Yourself.


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