Tom Wham's Rail Nut Page

Several years ago I read a book that I'd picked up at the Library Book Sale. It's called Zephyr: Tracking a Dream Across America by Henry Kisor. It's a great book that every rail fan should read. In it he desribes a character he calls the "Fucking Rail Nut" or "Foamer" which, I've finally come to acknowledge, I have been all my life and just didn't know it (although I try to be considerate of others and do not foam excessively.) The fact that I've been wearing striped bib overalls and engineer hats for the past 17 years might be clue.
It all began in the very late 40's (the onliest part of them I remember) when my family would travel from Chicago to Southern Illinois to visit my grandparents. This would involve a trip to Central Station (with the most enormous waiting room I'd ever seen in my life) and then a trip on either the City of Miami, or The City of New Orleans. Sometimes we'd end up in Centralia to visit my dad's folks or Carbondale, to visit my Mom's. In either case, both towns were rich with Illinois Central railroading. I was hooked by age 5.
In 1951, we traveled to Montrose to visit uncle Bob. While we were there I remember driving up to Telluride, Ophir, and Old Ophir (which really was a ghost town back then). One of my fondest memories is watching puffing freight trains on the Ophir Loop. We drove up to the Rio Grande Southern depot at Ophir where motor #6 (I didn't know this at the time) was idling and dad asked if this was a Goose. The guy said no and dad told me next year we'd ride one. When we came out in 1952, they were tearing up the tracks. Dad got some pictures of my sister & me in the top of an RGS caboose parked near Ridgeway and I gathered some loose spikes (which I still have somewhere.)

Soo Line 1003 visits Burlington Chocolate Fest

Galesburg Railroad Days

I visit the Soo Line 2719 on Wisconsin Great Northern at Spooner

Thomas comes to the IRM in 2002

Please help save the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

My Colorado Trips strangely resemble my Railroad Trips

The engine that kept the Cumbres & Toltec alive in 2003.

Links to other Rail Nuts


Foamer's Paradise

A Union Pacific Foamer

This page updated October 10, 2011

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