I grew up in a house across the street from train tracks. At one time they carried passenger trains, but during my childhood and still today, the trains carried cars or fuel or freight. As children we were able to cross over the tracks- always looking both ways for the headlight of a train, and occasionally seeing it in the distance but running across anyway. Sometimes we would stand and feel the air rushing by as the train passed and wave to the man who sat in the last car as we watched the train disappear down the tracks. Sometimes the train would idle on the tracks for hours, leaving us no choice but to use the tunnel or “underpass” that ran underground beneath the tracks.
It was dimly lit and dirty, empty liquor bottles strewn around or broken, and it stunk to high heaven. We would scream as we ran through as the echo was the only good thing about it, and somehow it made us feel safer, the sound reverberating off the walls and filling the empty space. After a young boy was killed trying to jump onto the train as it passed by, a fence was erected to prevent anyone from crossing the tracks. Now we had no choice but to use the underpass. Over the years it has been cleaned up and painted, but it is still a dank and unpleasant place to enter, and as I still live in my childhood neighborhood I sometimes do have to use it. I no longer scream as I run through, but I do still run. Something about being underground and not being able to see the staircase to exit as you enter from one side still unnerves me.
and out I go!