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I had an uncle who lived across the street from me in San Antonio who was foreman of the city gas department.  He passed away in 1948, but not before he had taken me several times to the I-GN roundhouse across from the depot on Commerce Street.  We rode in steam loco cabs there, because his brother-in-law was the Master Mechanic of the I-GN in Palestine (Mr. Stark).  The gas plant was two blocks from the roundhouse.  I was hooked!

We always traveled by train in the 1940's and 50's - always the MP and B&O - north to Washington D.C. and New York City through St Louis.  My aunt went once a year to D.C. for FBI training, and we (mother, aunt, uncle, and little brother) always rode up and back in a heavyweight 12-1 Pullman.  In the late 1950's, we rode in MP Slumbercoaches for the same trip.  My last trip to the East on MP was about 1963 when my aunt retired.  

Then I started commuting WEEKLY from Austin to San Antonio and return to attend the University of Texas - on MP trains, of course!  I had a car in Austin and a second car in San Antonio, but I much preferred the train for the short 70-mile trips!  The cost was only $5.00 per trip, and the crews knew me well - I boarded southbound #7 in Austin on Saturday morning (5 a.m.) and on northbound #8 at 8:15 p.m. out of San Antonio on Sunday evening, arriving back in Austin at 10:00 p.m.  As a result, I rode on a single ticket more than 20 times!  I would occasionally check out a railroad book (loco cyc) from the UT library for the crew to read  on the southbound trains - they started their trip in Palestine at 9 p.m. and were really tired by the 7:30 a.m. arrival time in San Antonio.

Finally I started riding southbound in the baggage/mail car, since the crew in it were also very tired.  (In the baggage/mail car, there were also a number of barking sentry dogs in aluminum cages that were destined for Kelly Field training - these drove the mail guys CRAZY!)  I stopped the train at San Marcos (no agent in the depot) and put out sacks of mail to the postal employee who had backed his truck up to the track.  I got good at stopping so that the rear baggage car door was right at the back of the postal truck!  The postal guys on the train had to be waked up before we arrived at New Braunfels because 1) it had an agent in the depot and 2) there was a great restaurant that opened for breakfast there at 7:00 a.m.  They radioed their orders (and the guys orders on the head end) to the agent, he called the restaurant two blocks from the depot and ordered breakfast for everyone, and the train stopped short of the depot so the head brakeman could run over and pick up the food!

I stopped riding the train in about 1967 or so, commuting back and forth by car.  How could I not like the MP?!?!