Notes from a train ride in East Texas

The sun appears timidly behind rain clouds at first and with more conviction later. I sigh with relief; there was a chance of rain in the weather forecast for East Texas but luckily it went away.

We roll past pine forests, meadows yellow with wild flowers, cows grazing in the fields, a few houses. Most are rundown shacks with rusty old washing machines, tyres, old trucks on cinder blocks and other trash strewn about the yard. A Confederate flag dominates one of those yards.

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I see the same black pickup truck at two or three railroad crossings. Maybe its occupants are train enthusiasts. Or maybe they have nothing else to do on a Saturday morning in the country. Hard to tell.

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There are a few deer feeders and hunting shelters strategically places in the fields. It’s not fair, I think. The deluded deer don’t stand a chance against the laser telescopic sights used by Elmer Fudd wannabes. I wonder if killing a defenceless animal in cold blood makes them feel more macho.

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The whistle blows hard and the train stops at Maydelle, halfway between Rusk and Palestine (which in Texas rhymes with teen). Train robbers! The re-enactment continues in Palestine with the Lone Ranger saving the day.

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At the Palestine Depot, a passenger asks the Texas State Railroad volunteers “What’s the significance of the flag at the front of the locomotive [next to the Texas flag]?” “It’s the Irish flag because today is St. Patrick’s Day” “But it isn’t the Mexican flag, right?” “No sir, it’s the Irish flag” “But what’s the difference with the Mexican flag then?” I sigh. I think there’s almost no difference except the colours and the fact that the Mexican flag has the national coat of arms on it.

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Between the whistle and the bell the din is almost unbearable and is giving me a headache. The train slows down, then stops, then starts again. Some adults and mostly unattended children lean out of the windows trying to see what’s going on. As it turns out, two white donkeys are trotting along the tracks and are refusing to move aside. Nothing doing, they seem to say. We creep along behind them. We are fifteen minutes late.

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Read a version of this post in Spanish here

About Ana O

Hi, I'm Ana. I'm originally from Argentina but I'm currently living in Dallas (USA) with my British husband. I'd like to share my experiences as an expat and as a traveller.

15 thoughts on “Notes from a train ride in East Texas

  1. How neat! I had no idea you could ride a train in Texas – I’ve only ever seen the insanely long ones transporting things. Never been to East Texas either. I heard that it’s quite something 🙂

  2. I like scene snippets like this, Ana. 🙂
    As for those donkeys, they seem to be trying to run away from the train but are nevertheless staying on the tracks, hehe.

  3. I’ve made and cancelled this train ride multiple times due to the weather so kudos that you got to do it!! You stayed overnight right?? Where? We always book the campsite therefore cursing the weather I’m sure!

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