There's something magical about those old steam locomotives from years gone by.
They bring a smile to everyone, whether you're a train buff or not.
Today, diesel locomotives rule the world of railroading but every so often one of those old behemoths does a run, and occasionally it is in our area.
Such is the case this year for the Union Pacific Railroad.
In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, the Union Pacific Railroad will bring out its historic Big Boy steam locomotive No. 4014 and it will pass very close to Watertown.
The special train, pulled by Big Boy, will venture out on its circuit on Monday. It will depart the Union Pacific's steam shop in Cheyenne, Wyoming, at 8 a.m. on that day.
The train will work its way through Nebraska and Iowa in the ensuing days, stopping periodically for residents to get a close-up view. It then heads north to St. Paul, Minnesota, Union Station before moving to Wisconsin.
Right now the schedule calls for the train to stop in Baldwin from 9:45 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 23. That same day it will stop in Altoona at 1 p.m., spending the night in that city, and it will be on display from 2 to 5 p.m.
On Wednesday, July 24, the train is scheduled to depart Altoona at 8 a.m. and make its first stop in Merrillan from 9:30 to 10:15 a.m., Warrens from 11:15 to 11:30 a.m. and Adams at 12:45 p.m.
On Thursday, July 25, the train is scheduled to leave Adams at 8 a.m. and stop in Friesland from 9:45 to 10:30 a.m. It is also scheduled to stop in Butler at 1 p.m. but there won't be any public access there.
Now, this is the main line of the Union Pacific and that means the train will pass through Clyman Junction (just north of the village of Clyman) and Lebanon, and then Ashippun, before heading to the yard at Butler at 1 p.m.
It's anyone's guess exactly when the train will pass through these communities but it will be later in the morning on the July 25.
You may want to put that date on your calendar and if time permits, make a stop along those tracks at the right time. You'll find it rewarding.
JOE PINKIE AND THE CARDINALS
Joe Pinkie made another visit to our office earlier this week and he was in the mood to do some reminiscing about some of the great ballplayers that played in Watertown over the years.
Joe said he was saddened to learn the Watertown Cardinals were going to take a one-year sabbatical from the Rock River League. He said that's the first time in memory that Watertown didn't field a team in that league.
But, he was optimistic that the team would be reorganized and return to action in 2020.
Joe said, "Watching the Cardinals was one of my favorite things to do on a lazy Sunday afternoon. There was no admission and we always saw some good baseball form these young guys who were playing for the love of the game."
Joe said an added benefit has always been the food and beverage stand where a beer could be purchased for a low price. He said, "You can't beat watching a great baseball game up close and enjoying a cold beer for just a couple bucks. I have some friends who say they get to Milwaukee for Brewer games and tickets and they tell me about the beer and hot dog prices. I'll come back to watch the Cardinals any time!"
Joe then said he remembered some years ago an "old-timers" baseball game was put together from players who played locally years ago. He said that was quite a day.
We told Joe we'd do a little research to see if we could find something about that game of many years ago and maybe report on it here, depending on what we could find.
He said that was back in the day when Watertown supported two baseball teams -- the Hiawathas and the Cardinals. So, he has to be going back 50 to 60 years or more.
With those comments Joe said it was time to move on. He quickly left our office here at the Daily Times and said he was scheduled for a little discussion with three other friends, and of course a pint of his favorite lager.
And, off he went. Next time we'll have to remind Joe that the visits he has been making to our office over these many years would change a bit later this year when the Times officially moves to a new location on South First Street.