Category Archives: autumn wood smoke


My model layout wanders it seems

Away from cherished themes…

What for you

Says “New England” too,

Beyond operational schemes?


MOXIE, barns red,

SPAGS and stores

With “colonial” decors,

Monuments to Revolutionary dead?

Dairies and granite quarries

In earlier days held stories…

Ice cream and views

Along the Turnpike count too,

And whaling ship stories!

Broad “a’s” in speech,

A Kennedy’s reach…

Where Plymouth Rock stays

And Sturbridge Village ways

Are preserved to history teach!

So for my small train set,

What industries are best…

Beverages and rock salt

Metals, food stuffs sought,

And historic touristy nests?

Gravel still travels by train,

Lumber and minerals same…

Environmental ire

Has dampened coal fired

Power plants, but garbage still flames!

A water-powered mill

And museum of trains fit the bill…

For small excursions

Of rich incursions into filling the local till!

Do you think I’ll have enough room,

I figure some things will die soon…

New England gives

And takes to live,

But survival cannot be assumed!

–Jonathan Caswell


He knows what the guys go through,

He once helped run steam trains too…

One more run–

A little more fun–

Before the season is through!

For us, little Number Twelve,*

An oh-four-oh “T” to delve…

Into steam

Locomotion…the dream

Of a lifetime…where we dwelt.

That EVERETT two-six-oh,

Is a proud steamer we know….

Dimunitive survivor

With dainty drivers,

“Just one more run…before the heavy snow?”


–Jonathan Caswell

*Number Twelve, running back and forth on a siding at the Flemingville, NY , station site.  I stunk as a fireman shoveling coal…so I ran the little engine under supervision of the “old heads”(experienced railroad men).


What do southern railroads ship,*

The mighty and useful wood chip…

Used for fuel burning

Or products discerning,

Or hauled to Europe by ships!

Not all wood chip trains are southern,

Burlington Electric*–another one…

Vermont’s goal

To burn less coal,

Making saw dust and chips “well-done”.

Trains take the chips to the plant,

Silencing critics who rant…

About wasted fuel

Train efficiency rules,

While barges on shallow rivers just can’t!

–Jonathan Caswell

(Photo is from Google Images…of wood chip loading into railroad cars on the GEORGIA WOODLANDS RAILROAD.)


It’s never too late:

Halloween celebrating…

It’s family fun.


Before midnight comes

And it’s All Saints Holy Day

Let’s kneel down and pray!


Vandelism squashed

Families took back the night

The nineteen fifties!


Little ghosts need rest

Tomorrow’s another day

Put costumes away!



Haiku inspired by the mind

Covered with…a mask


Gone all the candy,

Sugar high kids just can’t sleep…

Warm milk and stories!


Adults a grand time

Pushing the erotic edge

Skimpy means you’re cold!

–Jonathan Caswell


Not all these pictured are mine,

But I like the product line…

At Tioga Transportation

Museum, *two were stationed…

The place was “home” for a while!

ACTUALLY there were three,

Bought from AMTRAK to see…

Sixty-two and forty-four–

Fifty-nine we saw no more–

A leaser Fifty-nine  would be!

One–I think forty-four–

In AMTRAK colors before…

Being painted for the Valley–

Maroon for Lehigh Valley

Railroad, the history of which we adored.

Sixty-rwo, similarly  attired,

Started faded blue when acquired…

Both ran on our “main”

A branch line with freight trains,

Operating which  several youth inspired.

Was the best group I was a member,

Pleasant times I remember…

Taken under wing

By another to learn everything,

Oh…those Santa Trains…in December!!!

Insecure enough to collect,

Reminders of days elect…

Sense of belonging

Brings on longing,

RS-1 locomotives reflect!

–Jonathan Caswell

The Tioga Transportation Museum, in a restored former Lehigh Valley wooden railroad station, was located north of Owego, NY, a half-hour or so drive from Binghamton, NY—where I was living with my parents  and going to school.


Up here in the North East,

Autumn’s become a feast…

Of summer-like temps.

Foliage that tempts,

For a week at least!

I have a few days left,

To photo colors I think best…

A little green

Few dead branches seen,

But color on most of the rest.

And there are flowers to catch,

Before killing frost wrecks…

Color abounds

Perfumed air around,

The leaving of the last batch!

–Jonathan Caswell


Cooler nights in tune

With wood smoke perfume…

Gone is our stove

And treasure trove,

Of wood to warm up the room.

Electric–efficient, big bucks–

Missing those chain saw cuts…

Warmed you twice–

Chucking ashes then thrice,

We’d go back…no ifs “ands” or buts!

Still on cooler nights to smell

Fireplaces burning well…

Bittersweet joy

Splitter is unemployed,

Odor of security in the dell!

–Jonathan Caswell

(Outside wood furnace image from