Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Drive a REAL Train

Have you ever wanted to drive a real train? That's what I did while volunteering on the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority (MATA) trolley line in Dallas, Texas.

MATA trolley cars are operated by full-time and volunteer motormen and women and offers free rides in Dallas' Uptown. They run several cars from the early 1900s. Two of my favorites are the huge Australian "Matilda" and "The Green Dragon", pictured here. "Rosie" and "Winnie" are the other trolleys running on the line. There is even a little speeder, "Miss Daisy", that is used when track inspection and repair is needed.

I found out about the motorman opportunity in a model railroading magazine. The ad said something like "mine is bigger than yours". Instead of just operating a model train, you could be a part of a real railroad.

I filled out a volunteer application at MATA's Website (http://www.mata.org/volunteer.shtml) and their training coordinator contacted me with training details. He coordinated the times that were good for me with who was available to be my on-the-job instructor. I took the video training and it was absolutely awesome when my instructor let me take over the trolley controls - totally supervised in case I messed up.

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