When GPS revealed that the UP special steam train was near Kyle, we rushed to the OfficeMax parking lot and ran to the open ground near the old power plant. The train was early. We could hear the steam whistle way down the way.
People who had chased the train from San Antonio in their vehicles were just arriving. Some of them had tried to catch the Special at grade crossings in South Austin, but police were barring access.
The windows were full of people waving. The engineers waved. The bell in front of the cab rang. It was about 10:25. Most people remained to see the regular Amtrak passenger train come through soon afterwards. All of the living-quarters near the station had crowded balconies. Nearby construction came to a halt as the two trains rolled into the station.
This special train will remain at the Amtrak station until Monday morning. I’m thinking about taking the time to be there to see it leave at about 8 o’clock on Monday and I’ll be sure to visit it at least a couple of times more while it’s here in Austin. Astonishingly, apart from the whistle and the bell, scarcely any noise came from the train, because everything is in tip-top working order. What a beautiful sight in motion! And it’s well worth seeing at rest. There’s plenty of parking near the station.