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Richmond Hill, a railroad town
Richmond Hill Ramblings
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During the early part of the 20th century, many towns and cities across the nation were established and developed into mayor metropolises, due to the transportation system presented by the railroads. Just a few miles south of Savannah on the railroad, was  the origin of what is today, the city of Richmond Hill. The railroad with majestic locomotive engines pulling long lines of cars, with horns blasting penetrating sounds to warn traffic at crossings, are all a part of it.
 The Station Exchange on Ford Avenue was developed, and intended to be a place where people, live, work and play.  Among its exhibits is a flatbed, railroad car on a section of railroad track. It is an object of esteem, and most appropriately representing how the city is associated with the railroad.
 One can’t visit, work, or live in Richmond Hill without paying attention to the rumbling, roaring sounds of trains passing through the city. Sometimes, when sitting out on my deck—the track being just 500 feet away— having a conversation with someone, some passing south bounds are nearly deafening. I’d pause and wait for the train to pass, then continue with the conversation. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
 The mesh of the wheels on the rails, the “clickity-clacking,” the rumble, and sound vibrations in  my house are common effects. There is always one of the cars that seems to have bad, squeaking bearings; they’re so hot, as if about to catch fire. Any time of day or night, a long freight would stop and pause for a while. I have often wondered what was the reason. It usually sets there tooting its horn a couple of times at a low tone; and then, the engine revs up and begins to move out on its way. All day, there is activity out there on the railroad. It tells me that the city is alive; there is commerce, transporting, buying and selling commodities.
 For a while, there is quietness until a lonely sound, miles away, of rumbling with a low pitched whistle. Moments later it is passing through.  I have an urge to write a letter to one of the engineers to ask him to toot, “shave-n-a haircut -- two bits,” to let us know it’s him. But, probably that would never occur.
 At bedtime, there are times when I have trouble going to sleep. I’d listen for a train far off. Straining my ears for that faint, smidgin' of a sound of wheels on a rail and its horn blowing a haunting sound, especially on a rainy night, is the thing that does it -- I’m waking up the next morning.
 Each engine probably has its own, identifying sound. Like a hunter who knows the sounds of his hounds, an engineer can tell which engine belongs to the sound of its horn. Hobos and vagabonds of yesteryear waited in concealed places along the tracks, listening for that sound. It was music to their ears. They would identify each train from the sound of its whistle, too, and the time that it would be due, so they could prepare themselves for boarding.
 Imagine how it must have been during the days of steam locomotives, the grace and splendor of huge steam engines barking all day, pulling long lines of loaded cars, engineers waving at bystanders at a crossing like the one at Ford Avenue, and how it must have been when smoke and cinders settled on newly washed clothes hanging out to dry in back yards.
  Today, trains coming through is  romantic. It’s a noted characteristic of the city. It’s a signature of Richmond Hill, and one of the reasons we moved here.

Bond is a Richmond Hill resident. He writes an occasional guest column for the Bryan County News.
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