2. First Street Walkway Trains

V TrainsButton - ListenWater from Clear Creek drew the railroad to Winslow.  The steam engines of the time required regular water stops which were often difficult to find in the arid southwest.  In December of 1880, the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad began to lay tracks near Clear Creek to create a major railway division point with maintenance facilities, offices, and eventually a roundhouse.  This new site was named Winslow after Edward F. Winslow, a railroad executive.  The first train came through Winslow on December 3, 1881.  In 1898, the Santa Fe Railway built a steam-powered pump house at Clear Creek to pump water across 6 miles of desert to the rail yard.

IofAW 36bTrains have always been a part of Winslow and they still roll through the rail yard every day at all hours.  Trains can be very dangerous.  You cannot hear a train coming until it has already passed you, which has led to laws about barricades and train whistles to warn pedestrians and save lives.  But those regulations were not developed for decades after the trains began flying through Winslow.

IofAW 17bMany people believe good luck charms are worth a little risk.  Pennies laid on train tracks and smashed by the train are considered to be very lucky if carried or punched and strung on a necklace.  Unfortunately, it does require risking your life to obtain a train penny.  Many people don’t know that instead of smashing the pennies, most of the coins are actually struck by the train and shot away from the tracks with the same velocity as a bullet.

cabooseIn the late 1800’s, a group of teenage boys risked their lives to put pennies on the train tracks.  They hoped to smash enough pennies to be able to sell some to the passengers who stopped in Winslow.  Unfortunately, one of the boys had been followed by his little sister.  Wearing her dress and bonnet, she was searching for tiny desert flowers amongst the scrub brush by the tracks.  A penny shot from underneath the train and hit her in the head, killing her instantly.  Since her tragic death, locals have seen a little girl, wearing a bonnet with a handful of flowers skipping her way along First Street along the train tracks.  Many people have started to run to catch the little girl just before she fades through the bars of the fence which protects children from oncoming trains.

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