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My interest probably started when I was very young, maybe 4 or 5 in the late 1940s.  We lived a few blocks from the Shaw Ave crossing of the Oak Hill line and Iron Mountain Junction (the original one).  There was a lot of traffic at Shaw, double main and two drill tracks with a manned tower handling the crossing gates.

The next step was when the Terminal Superintendents wife and my father's customer said that her husband was looking for young men to work summer relief in the yards.  This was my first year in college and it made a great source of income for tuition.

Studying engineering and structures, I ultimately went to work for a national firm based in St. Louis and my first assignment was a major bridge on the MoPac over the Arkansas River aat Little Rock.  From then on almost everything involving railroad transportation of freight.  So MoPac usually served as my go to source for various ways to address the current engineering project.