Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

The power of a train August 6, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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TEN FEET AWAY, the train roared down the tracks next to The Depot Bar & Grill in Faribault. I could feel its immense power as the cars zipped by in a blur, rails rising and falling.



For a moment I considered my vulnerability with only a wrought iron fence and a slip of stones separating me from this mammoth machine.



Despite my flash of fear, I thrilled in the rush of sitting so near a train as I waited for my brisket sandwich and fries on the outdoor patio. I grabbed my beer, took another swig and felt the rhythm of the fast-moving cars.



What is it about trains that holds such fascination? The power certainly impresses. But I think it’s the history, too, associated with trains that appeals to us. Travel by rail opened this country to further settlement.



My paternal great grandfather, Rudolph, rode the train to Henderson, Minnesota, in 1890, four years after he arrived by steamship in Baltimore. And four years after that, he moved farther west and bought a farm from the Great Western Railroad just outside my hometown of Vesta.



I expect most of you could tell similar stories of your ancestors and their travel by rail. Trains link us to our past, to those who came before us to this land, this America.

© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


15 Responses to “The power of a train”

  1. Jackie Says:

    Now that’s close 🙂

  2. Dawn Rohl Says:

    Audrey, I love how you bring it close to home for all of us. Beautiful! Thank you, Dawn

  3. Beth Ann Says:

    Love trains and one of our favorite trips was when we took the train from Vancouver to Seattle. I still would love to take a longer cross country train trip –just gotta find the time. 🙂

  4. Don Says:

    I love trains and because of the fact that my brother worked for the Alaska Railroad my family and I have had the opportunity to ride in the engine while switching was going on in the railroad yard. What a great experience! Now that I know of the Depot Bar and Grill , and Faribault in general it will certainly be on my list of places to go next time I am in the Midwest. Since Minneapolis is always the destination and beginning point for my travels on the airlines, Faribault is certainly within driving distance from MSP for a quick lunch and explorations………………………….

  5. Don Says:

    Will do! Summer of 2018 next scheduled trip, I can’t wait!

  6. Valerie Says:

    I enjoy being so close to the trains at the Depot. It does remind you of how powerful they are! I have taken the train to Chicago a couple of times.

  7. I agree that trains are fascinating. I’ve ridden on a few in my time and I have really enjoyed it.

    I thought you might enjoy this story


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