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Andy Fletcher
A Railroad Artist I Met on The California Zephyr
Taking the Central Pacific route across America this past summer was a great pleasure. On the return trip I was lucky enough to sit near Andy Fletcher, who I noticed was a celebrity among the conductors, who all knew who he was. Andy knows everything there is to know about trains and he regaled me with details about their construction, operation, hauling capacity and safety features.
Andy handed me a pamphlet that is free to all train passengers, which is an 8 page heavy cardstock, glossy 8 by 5 booklets which he assembles in the viewing care on one of the café tables and hands them out with a smile.
By the time the trip was halfway through I was in total agreement as to the railroad over the interstate as a less ecologically and psychologically damaging way of traversing the nation. One can well imagine how beautiful the view is through the Rocky Mountains and then find that he has underestimated the view, as a train can go where cars cannot and leaves a narrower trace than even a local state route, let alone the landscape maiming scars of an interstate.
Unlike driving on the interstate you can sleep, read, get drunk with a hot babe from the Jersey Shore, repent at breakfast with an Amish farmer and his wife, sit with a Russian hooker from California and gaze at the rock strata of Eastern Utah next to an Australian Geologist and not wreck your car while spending three days spanning the nation.
Andy has composed a 12 line poem to caption the trains and I'll give the first couplet here:
"This BNSF train brings lumber for building your school needs.
"This CSX train brings books everybody reads."
Thanks, Andy, my adopted granddaughter Emma, loves reciting poems and singing songs with props and mimes, so she'll be thrilled to receive your book Why We Need Trains.
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