Choo-choo train didn’t beat me Saturday

Published 12:04 am Wednesday, May 10, 2017

As the train lurched forward, I got really nervous.

On Saturday, the Williams Station Railroad train was one of the many highlights of Mayfest.

Throughout the day, several children, along with their parents, rode the walking/running trail of Tom Byrne Park.

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During the festival, I performed my newspaper duties with breaks here and there. On one of those breaks, Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sheryl Vickery asked me if I could drive the train for the last hour.

“Sure!” I said.

Now, let me describe the train to you.

The locomotive is a John Deere lawnmower and it pulls somewhere between seven to eight little cars.

Before I got behind the wheel, I received some much-needed training.

As we went around the trail, I thought to myself, “this isn’t too bad at all.”

That was until I reached the road crossing where the main entrance to the park was located.

Right smack dab in the middle of each entrance to the trail is a metal pole.

My trainer gave me a heads up as to the tricky part, and let me describe what needed to be done.

Upon approach to the first pole, one needs to swing the train off the trail a bit and then drive straight through the right side of the entrance. Upon further inspection, that was the widest side of the entrance.

Once through and crossing the street, the train needed to be pointed straight ahead to the crape myrtles on the other side. Don’t veer off course because you could cause the train to hit the poles on either side.

Well, I managed to get through the trail and the tricky part without a problem. But, let me say that it was nerve-wracking that very first time.

In fact, my best lap was the third time around.

On the very last lap, I did get close to hitting one of the poles, but made it through without harming passenger or other vehicles.

Yeah, who knows if I’ll be able to drive the train again?

I will say this, it was pretty fun driving the train.