The Tie Dyed Locomotive

List of GM-EMD locomotives

Start me up (Image via Wikipedia)

I’ve mentioned that when I become ridiculously rich from writing this blog I will spend the money in extravagant ways like on a blimp and a drone.

Because I tend to be a planner when it comes to things like this, I have made another decision on a purchase. A lot of thought went into this choice. I don’t want to be hasty with my ridiculousness, I want to maximize it. I think I am taking a giant step toward that with this choice.

I am going to buy a locomotive. Do you know anyone who owns a locomotive? Probably not, yet.

Etymology Of The Locomotive

Yes, etymology, the study of word origin, factors into my decision process.

Break the word locomotive down to its roots.  You get loco and motive, Latin roots for crazy and motion. Is there anything crazier in motion than a personal locomotive? I think not. It is even more excessive than owning a blimp.

The day will come when one of my friends asks another where I am and will be told “he just called me from the locomotive, he is almost here.” They’ll look at each other and laugh. At that very moment my loco motion will be validated.


Locomotive designs are understandably utilitarian. I am not an engineer, so I don’t intend to make a lot of structural changes to my locomotive.

The design of these vehicles does present one unique opportunity that I intend to take advantage of. Many have narrow walkways  with hand rails at the front and along their flanks. I’m going to have a small table and some stools welded onto the hand rail. I can sit out there and entertain guests while my engineer drives.

Engineering Department employees, 1962

Put down the slide rule, I've got places to go (Image by Seattle Municipal Archives via Flickr)

There is one other really great design idea that will distinguish my locomotive from all others. Before I tell you about that, I’m going to step away from design to mention my engineer again. I will have an engineer for the times I want to travel by rail but don’t feel like driving. My engineer will have a degree in engineering. In fact, I will insist on a person with a PhD in engineering. The idea of picking up the phone and saying “bring the locomotive around, Professor, I’m going to Chicago for a ball game” appeals to me.

Peace Train (image via

The piece de resistance of the design of my locomotive will be the paint job. Most locomotives are usually one color, often drab flat black. Mine will be different. Think tie dye. Yes, a tie dye painted locomotive. Very distinctive, very hippie, very cool. People will know I’m in town whenever they see the tie dyed locomotive, who else could it be?

What’s the point of being ridiculously wealthy if you can’t be ridiculous? I will be the most ridiculous.

Practical Issues

Locomotives are extremely powerful machines. We’ve all seen them pulling dozens of cars laden with tons of freight. Even with that load behind them, these vehicles really move down the rails quickly. Imagine how fast they could go completely unfettered by freight! I will take advantage of that speed.

Railroads are busy, to be sure, but I don’t think rail traffic is anything close to what we all see on the roads at rush hour. No accidents to go around, no traffic jams, no long red lights. I will get where I’m going with great haste, even if I don’t choose to take advantage of the great speed potential.

Detail of an Engineer and Engine at a Rail Cro...

A slow, drab locomotive not being driven by The Professor (Image by The U.S. National Archives via Flickr)

Some day, you’ll drive up to a rail crossing just as the lights come on and the arms come down. You’ll look down the tracks and see what looks like a train with a patio umbrella on the front. You won’t be seeing things, it will be a patio umbrella. My locomotive will scream down the tracks and be at the crossing before you’re ready for it. I’ll be relaxing under the umbrella, enjoying a beverage while The Professor drives.

Start waving as soon as the gates come down, I’ll go by you in a tie dyed flash.


38 Comments on “The Tie Dyed Locomotive”

  1. The Hipster says:

    Cat Stevens and I are on-board, so to speak, in support of your peace train idea. Tie-dyed works, as does purple paisley. I’m just sayin’.

  2. You mean you’ve ditched the Weinermobile idea? The problem with the locomotive idea is that the tracks are disappearing…we have to travel an hour to Moncton if we want to take a passenger train now (freight trains still stop in Saint John).


    • omawarisan says:

      No no, part of my ridiculousness will be my excess. Wienermobile, drone, blimp, locomotive.

      The beauty of my locomotive is that I wont be bound be schedules and stations. I can speed north, stop at the border, then take off again and stop in the middle of St. John. I woudn’t even have to say anything. Word would travel and you’d know I was in town.

  3. Todd Pack says:

    A locomotive seems impractical, at least for city driving. I could see using it for cross-country trips, especially if you bring the weinermobile getting around town. Or a jet pack.

    (Personally, I’d settle for a Lear jet and a personal chef.)

  4. Abe's Blog says:

    I’ve written about this subject as well (the way I will spend my blog money) but you have taken the cake. A locomotive! Most excellent, sir. Consider adding a sleeping car. Then you could sleep while the professor drives. You are going to be a trend-setter.

  5. writerdood says:

    I want a locomotive like the one in Wild Wild West. Oh, sure, it will need a renovation, but I liked the gadgets.

  6. We found him Captain!! says:

    I really like this idea……It has some other advantages too. For example, you don’t have to rotate the tires every 3,000 miles or do a front end alignment after going over a speed bump at 55 mph.

    I have a very colorful tie-dyed suit which has not been out of the closet for years. I would appreciate being on your train wearing my finest suit with spats and orange top hat. Please advise where to purchase tickets for a cross country trip.

  7. Make sure you fix your locomotive so it can travel on the track and off.

    I think your locomotive’s theme song should be “Do the Locomotion” by Kylie Minogue.

  8. Katybeth says:

    I love tye-dye!! You will need a matching hat and maybe shoes. Tie dye shoes are cool. Now for the important question… What kind of food will be in your dining car? Of-course locomotives have dining cars!! Gumbo might work on Tuesdays. Those cupcakes to die for need to be available at all times and little bottles of ice cold coke are a musf. A cook named Dinah would be a nice touch!

  9. Zahara says:

    I hope you will leave the doors to the box cars open for those times when you aren’t travelling at the speed of light. That way wandering bloggers can hop on board.

  10. madtante says:

    I was going to say I’d have a mule-drawn slough but google only provides this good hit. When I talk about growing up in an area that was cut off from civilization, I MEAN it. Mule-drawn slough should be “normal” in my book. Apparently they went out of fashion some generations ago…

    I like your idea of a cheerful locomotive, though.

  11. A well written post. I easily followed your train of thought and you didn’t get off track.

  12. Blond Stranger says:

    While I don’t disagree with thoughtsappear that “Do the Locomotion” would be a good song for a tie-dyed choo choo….I’m thinking your train’s theme song would have more of a southern bent to it….something Atlanta-ish perhaps?

  13. I love the Peace Train thing with the tie-dye. The 60s ended way too early. This would be a reawakening.

  14. linlah says:

    So I got to the break it down part and immediatley started singing Grand Funk. Yeah, that will be stuck in my head when I wake up in the A.M., thanks, Oma.

  15. Can you please make sure that you attach a car with one of those sunroof style roofs? You know, all glass for viewing the mountains and stuff? Actually…a sunroom style car would probably be more appropriate. It’s easier to gloat about being in (or attached to) a locomotive to people who aren’t when there are glass walls involved.

  16. planetross says:

    I’m going to have to paint my train paisley now! … so I don’t get confused … or more confused … or something like that. hee hee!

  17. Rob G says:

    How are you going to get elastic bands around the locomotive – perhaps that is why your engineer will have a PhD in engineering?

  18. Pie says:

    If you want a little rest, you could do worse than pull into Graham Central Station…

  19. maggie says:

    that sounds AMAZING. I’m completely on board with this plan.
    (though, there’s no railways in Newfoundland. But maybe the professor could come meet me in Sidney and I’ll take the ferry over and have a ride in the tie dyed locomotive??)

  20. […] I will spend ridiculously on things like locomotives and drones when my ship comes in on this blogging thing. But you can also look for me to support […]

  21. […] in. I’ve already told you that I’ll be making some wild investments like blimps and locomotives. I will need cash pouring in to keep my fleet going. That is why I will have to invest some of my […]

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