I am pleased to inform you all that Railroading in America Magazine (RIAM) has it's first woman journalist joining our crew! Riley Ginger is a sophomore in college who has loved trains ever since she was a little girl. Riley is currently studying to become a professional journalist and is very active in the visual arts at school and in her free time. Sadly, due to time constraints, she will not be writing an article for Edition 8, but will have an autobiography about how she got involved with trains instead. A shortened version of Riley's autobiography is included below... it truly is amazing how she got into the hobby. Riley will not only be writing for RIAM, but will also be doing a lot of graphic design and visual arts for the magazine as well, such as designing postcards, banners, social media promotions, and editing photos for magazine editions. She will be assisting us with social media marketing because she has taken a class on communications, so be on the lookout for some impressive work by her on our Instagram/Facebook! Everyone at RIAM is overjoyed to have Riley on board with us and we can't wait to see what she can write and design for the magazine!
Here is the shortened version of Riley's autobiography:
"How in the world does a woman get into this hobby?" is a question that I’ve been asked all too frequently over the last several years. Well, my story isn’t all that different from someone else’s. I’ve always been into trains ever since I was young. I was born and raised just outside of Roanoke, Virginia, a city with a rich history of railroading. My childhood home was nestled between the Whitethorne and the Christiansburg lines, where trains of all sorts went by my house constantly. My parents and I would frequently visit the Virginia Museum of Transportation, where I would walk outside to the pavilion where Norfolk and Western 611 and 1218 sat. I could stand there and watch the locomotives for hours, even if they were just stationary and stoic. However, as many interests are, my enjoyment of trains slowly began to die off when I reached elementary school. It wasn’t “cool” to like trains, so I decided to pack up my wooden trains and VHS tapes in a box and stow them away forever. However, that mindset only lasted a few years, because when I reached about 12 years of age, something amazing happened.
I was resting in my bed one morning. It was a Saturday, so I had planned on sleeping in. However, at 8 a.m. sharp, there was a rattle and an ear splitting roar that sent me flying out of bed. I fell onto the floor in a discombobulated mess trying to figure out what in the world was so loud. There, before my eyes, was a long, black steam locomotive, whistle screaming and black smoke pouring from its stack. A long line of coaches trailed behind it as the engine rumbled and bustled up the tracks. The morning sun made the locomotive’s paintwork sparkle like diamonds. I had never seen a more beautiful, powerful machine in my life, and from that day forward, I was completely enamored with railroading. I later learned that the locomotive I saw that day was Southern Railway 630, a resident at the Tennessee Valley Railway Museum. I was able to see her four years later at her hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee.
I’m incredibly fortunate enough to have met such a wonderful group of people, who have allowed me to be myself and to have shown me the amazing sides of being in this community and for the opportunities I’ve been granted. That picture of me was just taken after an “At the Throttle” session at the North Carolina Transportation Museum with Jeddo Coal 85, where I ran a locomotive for the first time. It was such a fun and eye-opening experience. I’ve learned so much about the industry, photography, model railroading, and just being myself through this hobby. I hope to serve the community well with the pieces that I write and the photos that I take. It’s a small gesture of gratitude for the overwhelming amount of love and support this community has given me over the years."