Wednesday, December 12, 2007

There Goes Another One!

I live and work approximately 200 feet from one of the busiest railines in the country. About every fifteen minutes throughout the day and night, a frieght train comes rumbling down that line (and often there are two trains crossing past each other). Living in a mobile home, a passing train will get your attention . . . especially at 3:00 a.m.!

I have always been fascinated with trains. My most special Christmas gift was an electric train set Santa (a.k.a., dad & mom) brought me when I was five years old. I don't remember it lasting long, however. I was too good at staging train crashes! And, I also had a tendency of leaving the current on and burning up the motor.

A thought struck me this morning . . . how many tons of stuff are these trains carrying past my house each day? One hundred trains (a conservative estimate) . . . most over a mile in length . . . how many box cars? . . . flatbed's holding cargo containers? . . . automobile transports? . . . tanker cars? . . . coal cars?

I once paused long enough to count the cars on a train hauling automobiles. The train carried 87 transport units (I don't know the official term). Each one of these units had eight brand new vehicles . . . high-end vehicles (Lexus, Mercedes, Land Rover, etc.). That's a total of 696 luxury automobiles! A conservative estimate on their cumulative value? $52 million! That's just one train! There were at least 99 others that passed by on that day. Wow!

A lesson? Not really. More of an observation on the consumer-driven, consumable society we live in. It amazes me how much stuff we, Americans, go through. We are certainly blessed. But, can we not say that we are also spoiled . . . spoiled by our own indulgence?

Don't get me wrong. I am all for the free market. I am glad that people are able to purchase a Lexus. Hard work brings great rewards. But, I'm still looking for the train that is carrying 87 boxcars full of Bibles :-).