The Ol’ Locomotive

The Ol’ Locomotive

by Jordan Altman

It’s the last voyage for the old beaut! Oh boy, how well she’s served us! Being replaced by the new diesel engines, the longstanding steam locomotives, like Ol’ Ferrum, are taking their farewell trip. I’ve been her engineer for the past eight years, but she’d been riding the rails since 1889. This trip is to be my last as well. Retirement is being forced on us old guys to pave the way for the new. This whole world is a’changin’, and for me ‘n’ Ol’ Ferrum we are the last of our breeds.

The endless sky loomed above the wheat of the prairies, a place yet to be torn away by the rush of industrialization. The view always stunned me, seeing what the land offered was always the most rewarding part of my job.

We are riding to a scrap yard, where Ol’ Ferrum will be put to rest…hell, guess I’ll be joining her soon enough. It’s lonely out here at the train’s front, I’ve never had the time for any company, and at my age it looks like I’ll end up by my lonesome self. I never minded it as I rode the rails, but now it has a solemn pull on my heart. Me and this train are out of time here and we’re being discarded. I imagine this ol’ girl has seen quite a lot…ha, guess I have too!

The yard is a comin’ in and it’s time to begin slowing her down.

She moans and whines as Ol’ Ferrum deaccelerates. I pat her black iron and hushed soothing words. “All good things must come to an end,” I told my long time friend. All must come to an end.

I’m jarred by the sudden hoot of Ol’ Ferrum’s whistle. I hadn’t pull the line; it’s like she is callin’ out to me.

“You’re right! Let’s stretch our legs.” I stoke the flames and raced the ol’ girl up to full speed. “Not today. Today we ride. We will not be scrapped; we will remain free!”

As me and Ol’ Ferrum fly past the depot we both whistled in excitement. Yet, out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw a strange sign on the rail-side. I could have sworn it said ‘Kansas Exposition 1889′.

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Jordan Altman
Jordan Altman is a Geologist who has worked from the Land of the Midnight Sun to the Canadian Shield. Recently taking up creative writing, his adventures within reality are now being matched by those of his imagination. Jordan’s new novella, The Shaman’s Carving is now available at

3 thoughts on “The Ol’ Locomotive

  1. An attractive mix of nostalgia and whimsy. It stumbles away from its informal lingo in the second paragraph a bit. A few typos: ” Ol’ Ferrum deaccelerates.. should be “decellerates” and “I hadn’t pull the line” should be “pulled”. Finally, “We will not be scrapped; we will remain free!” seems a bit high-faluting. But good work. AGB

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