For as long as I can remember, my mother had a fascination and passion for the railroad. The railroad had been a huge part of her life growing up because her father had worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad from 1920 until 1963. Mom had pictures of various vacations that they had taken via the railroad, and great memories that she would share.
When I started in on my genealogy research, one of the first things I did was to contact the Railroad Retirement Board to request my Grandfather's records. What I found was that Earl Link joined the Pennsylvania Railroad on 25 October 1920 at the young age of 19. Earl worked his way through the ranks first as a signalman from 1920 to 1925, and then as a fireman from 1925 to sometime in the late 1940s. Finally, he worked as an Engineer with the railroad until his retirement in 1963.
Earl retired from his life's work due to a heart murmur which was apparently part of a heart condition that resulted from a childhood illness and would eventually claim his life in 1967, just a few short years after his retirement.
I never had the chance to meet my grandfather since he passed before my parents even met, but thanks to his life's work and the love of the rails that he passed on to my mother, everyone in my family has a special place in their heart for the railroad and you will often catch me with a bit of a "wistful" look when I hear a train whistle off in the distance.
|The picture above is an undated picture that my mother and I came across years ago. I have not yet been able to identify the occasion for the picture, but the man up in the window of the engine cab is my grandfather, Earl Link.|