Monday, April 24, 2017

The Tropicana Train - Music Monday #AtoZChallenge

It's been a while since I've blogged about my love of trains.

I grew up in New York City, and rode the New York subways many times.  Later in life, I was able to take a passenger train occasionally, such as the Autotrain, which runs nonstop between Lorton, Virginia and Sanford, Florida (near Orlando), a distance of approximately 900 miles (about 1450 km).

Auto Train poster in Sanford, Florida, 2013
To ride the Auto Train, you must have a vehicle with you.  The vehicles ride in special transit cars while you ride in comfort for (hopefully) the 16 hour trip.

On my trips on the Auto Train, there is one beautiful small town that I fell in love with from the first time I passed through on the train - Ashland, Virginia. 

The train tracks run down the center of town and you get a wonderful view of Railroad Avenue as you pass through the border of a college, a commercial district, and then residential homes.

But I had never seen the town, except from the train.  So, recently, I traveled to Ashland, VA to change that.
A downtown mural, Ashland, Virginia
Ashland calls itself "The Center of the Universe". I don't know about that, but it is an interesting small college town and what is called a "train town".  Yes, the trains run down the middle of the street several times a day.  Some stop.  Some don't. 
Some of the homes you will see if you ride the train through Ashland.

The train station, which doubles as the Ashland visitor center.

A train went through minutes after we arrived at the station.  Part of what the train was hauling was empty Tropicana orange juice train cars.  They fill up in Florida, and return, in what is called the "Tropicana Train".

Another view of the train.

I took this short video of the train coming.

You might say it was a Long Train Runnin'.(Thank you, Doobie Brothers.)

"T" on the Blogging from A to Z Challenge as I "travel through time and space".


  1. My dad worked on a train...Coffee is on

  2. I wish more train travel was available in this country. Heck I wish we had decent public transportation in Detroit.

  3. Not sure about a train running down the middle of town several times a day - but I guess we all have different claims to fame.
    Leanne | cresting the hill

  4. I never found Ashland all that exciting. But, then again, I spent days mesmerized by the Pennsylvania Railroad yards, hours walking along the Southern (now Norfolk-Southern) and CSX tracks (and a roundhouse!) in Charlottesville, the Gandy Dancer in Ann Arbor...

  5. My parents used to send their car on the train from Boston to Florida but they flew. I have trained a lot in Europe but in this country the few train trips, from Portland to Seattle or Portland to ski in Montana have all been flawed and not relaxing. I am glad your experience was fun. Very cool the town embraces their train proximity. I will be humming the Door Brothers' song all day!

  6. Your trip was really new and interesting experience....

  7. An auto train? Kind of like a ferry? That's an interesting idea. I'm so used to road trips I would not have considered it.

  8. Those trains go right past the town I live in and is actually less than a half mile from my house in Spartanburg, SC. I hear them everyday.

  9. Dad was the assistant to the president of the Monon Railroad (a small line that ran between Chicago and points in Indiana and Kentucky, including the town of Monon, Indiana) so there's something fascinating about a train for me. The trains were a big part of life in small towns like Ashland.

  10. That's our house! :D I was googling, looking for a photo of a tree that fell across the tracks a few years ago, and stumbled upon the photos from your blog. The house on the right in the photo above is our house. My husband and I love living in Ashland. Upwards of 50 trains a day come through. You get used to the noise. There's always something happening in this small town. It's a charming place.


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