Saturday, June 16, 2007

Train driver’s view

P.J. Bailly sits still as stone, eyes focused straight ahead to where the horizontal ladder of creosote-soaked rail ties disappears toward Pittsfield. When he's driving the train, he's like the Lincoln Memorial with movable lips.

He's talking about how he loved trains as a kid growing up in Housatonic. He can tell you all about the trolleys that crawled in implausible curlicues, like a lady bug with a concussion, through South County nearly 100 years ago.

The guy's still got a one-track mind. It's the track that begins in Danbury, Conn., and runs all the way up to Pittsfield. Bailly is a train engineer for the Housatonic Railroad, the freight company based in Canaan, Conn. He's frequently driving as the train heads north through South County every afternoon and back down to Canaan every evening, five or six times a week.