Thursday, May 30, 2024

On Family and Hobby - The Balance

Tonight is the local school play - and somehow it is already my daughter Susie's last school play in this school, as she's bound next year for middle school.  Susie since she was in preschool has loved the play and loved the performance, and now here she is 8 years later - and even more memorable, she has earned the lead role this year.  What an opportunity!

Naturally this event has had a tremendous amount of lead up, and we are very proud of the work Susie has put in.  And also it gives me pause.  Now and again we find a photograph that is timely and my wife Kristen found this one, of Susie back in first grade. Her smile, curly blonde hair and confidence are so tangible here while she is seen climbing one of the trees at the local park.  Her mom took the photo, itself a blessing, and while it was taken just five years ago it seems in some ways a lifetime.  

And so it goes!  This is a success story, and what anyone would have hoped for, and here we are.  Kids grow quickly and it was a growing exercise for me to learn how critical my time around them is.  This is why it is important to put time into the balance between things in life.  Yes work is important, and yes I love the hobby that railroading has always been for me.  But there are a lot of things that depend on me, not just what I want to do in any given moment. Family is the foundation for those things, I am responsible for my family and therefore time with family must get the top spot.  What a wonderful stretch to be able to be there tonight for this show with our family and friends so close that they are like family, too.

More trains coming soon!  All part of the balance of life.  

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

A Special Guest

In the 80's and right through the 90's and 2000's, you didn't mention the hobby to railroad co-workers.  If you were a railroader you kept the hobby to yourself: much easier to answer for yourself if you weren't a 'buff'.  In a way it was almost silly: who would want to go to work if they didn't like what their work was?  

It turns out many of us that are railroaders love what we do, and many make it a hobby as well.  On this past fall's NJ TRANSIT 40th Anniversary Express trip, I had the opportunity to sit with many people that helped make the experience possible, and during a conversation with President and CEO Kevin Corbett, he asked about the model railroad.  I invited him, he smiled and said he'd enjoy it.  Then discussion continued on.  Well, months later, his assistant reached out and asked if we were still on for a session in May - "Kevin would like to attend."  

And so on May 11, 2024, Kevin Corbett, President and CEO of NJ TRANSIT Corporation visited the OC for a session.  And it was great.  Thanks to Heath Hofmeister for the photos!

Friendly and affable, Kevin made everyone feel at ease from the safety briefing - the start of every session - through the operation itself.  He came to NJT at a dark time, and his energy and optimism immediately allowed the railroad to start to get more done than it had before his arrival.  There remain major challenges, yes - but progress is progress.  

Thanks again for making the time and the trip, Kevin!  This is the latest example that the walls between hobby and profession changing.  The railroad industry will only grow and thrive because of railroaders passionately running a railroad for the benefit of customers and the public at large.  The new movement of financial raiders running Class 1 railroads is one that is not sustainable for the economy nor the public, and perhaps those that love railroading can work together to reverse the damage the financiers have created in the name of profit.  

Kevin took photos and shared them with friends and his family - even asked if he could return sometime.  It is a neat opportunity when we have the chance to have someone with Kevin's experience, rank, and ability visit us and watch the OC go to work.  Kevin's support has been indispensable for the creation of the NJT Heritage Locomotive Fleet - and now he can see where some of the passion that helped to create it lives, too.