It seems that from pretty much anywhere in Denton you can hear the trains as they roll through town. The railroads crisscross our city along the east, south, and west, with a quick little jaunt downtown.
C.A. Bridges writes in the History of Denton, Texas from Its Beginning to 1960 “The coming of railroads may be called the most important single event in the first fifty years of Denton’s history.” The track that runs parallel to Mingo Road and through downtown reached Denton in 1881 as the Texas and Pacific (T&P) railroad came south from Sherman to Fort Worth. What we now know as our A-train route was also completed in 1881 as the Missouri-Kansas-Texas (MKT) railroad reached Denton from Dallas. The railroad track that runs along the western part of Denton and crosses Hwy 380 near Interstate 35 opened in 1955 as a cut off from the Santa Fe passenger line at Krum. The Denton Depot for the Santa Fe Dallas-Denton-Chicago service was located near where the Ben E. Keith distribution center is now. The last passenger train to stop at that station was in 1968.
It is a running joke at my house that you cannot get anywhere in Denton without crossing a railroad track. And for me it usually means that there is always a train on the track when I am running late to get somewhere. I don’t really mind the though, I like to watch them roll through.
Speaking of watching them roll through, there are some great movies that feature trains. Here are some that are available at the Library. (Descriptions are from the cases)
3:10 to Yuma – Infamous outlaw Ben Wade and his vicious gang of thieves and murderers have plagued the Southern Railroad. When Wade is captured, Civil War veteran Dan Evans, struggling to survive on his drought-plagued ranch, volunteers to deliver him alive to the train that will take the killer to trial. 2007.
The General – A locomotive is beloved by its engineer, who sets out to win the Civil War single handedly. 1926
O’Horten – Former train driver Odd Horten, who thrives on his routine and regimented schedule, tries to adjust to the freedom of retirement. 2009.
Once Upon a Time in the West – When the husband of Jill McBain is killed by ruthless outlaws in the old West, she hires two guns of her own to get revenge. 1968.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles – An advertising executive who wants to fly home to Chicago for Thanksgiving winds up in a cross-country trip with a salesman as his companion. 1987.
Silver Streak – A wild action comedy about a murder mystery aboard a cross-country train. 1976
Strangers On a Train – Guy Haines, a tennis star who hates his wife, is approached on a train by a stranger, Bruno Anthony, who hates his father. Anthony offers a plan: each could kill the other’s victim. No motive, no clue would link the two murders save the casual meeting of strangers on a train. 1951.
The Station Agent – A young man inherits a train station in rural New Jersey and moves there for a life of quiet solitude. He soon finds friendships and a sense of belonging that he never expected, and never thought he wanted. 2003.
The Taking of Pelham 123 – When the passengers of a subway train are taken hostage for ransom, New York City subway dispatcher Walter Garber must use his vast knowledge of the subway system to try to outwit the criminal mastermind behind the crime. 2009
The Train – Members of the French Resistance vow to stop a train, laden with stolen French art treasures, before it reaches Berlin. 1964.
For some reason, now I have a strange hankering to listen Johnny Cash.