We have been fascinated by trains since we were kids.

 We were certainly not going to miss this. We boarded the vintage 1980's train at the Union Pacific yard in North Lake Charles.

 The conductor was the Mayor of DeQuincy.  Who would have thunk it! Dale, Chili and I were like kids again.

 We were riding in a Dome Coach called The Columbine. It was built by American Car and Foundry in 1955 and purchased buy Union Pacific in 1989. The car has been through several remodel jobs. We sat upstairs on a high observation deck that rocked and rolled as we headed down the track toward Echo, Texas. Chili suggested that Dale and I get on top of the train like in the old westerns. We declined.

During our trip we heard several startling facts about Rail Road safety. We even saw an idiot dart across the tracks just ahead of our train! Last year there were 106 incidents with automobiles and trains in Louisiana. Thirteen of those resulted in fatalities with 65 injuries! Did you know there are 5,600 highway-raid grade crossings in Louisiana? Louisiana was 5th in the nation in highway-rail collisions! Our ride was part of Operation Lifesaver. There are lots of safety tips on their website that could save your life.

When the ride was over I actually got to visit the train's engine compartment and meet the engineer.

 I was disappointed that he was not wearing the classic engineer hat but he was very nice and I actually got to blow the train's horn! It was so cool and something I have wanted to do since I was a little kid. Trains are very cool and very dangerous when not respected. Let's all be safe and bring those statistics down. Thanks to Union Pacific for the ride , the information and the cool hats they gave us,

 and Louisiana State Police Troop D for the invitation to ride as their guest!

We can't wait to do it again!