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Welcome to my cyber neighborhood coffee shop! Grab a mug of your favorite beverage and a cozy chair to read and comment a bit. Be sure to try a piece of black forest cake or tiramisu. Try both; cyber-cake is calorie free!

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Monday, March 3, 2008

Monday Mug Shot (2/18/08)

This week I’m not doing the Mug Shot. My mugs are not the only ones in the house. David asked me why I didn’t do any of his mugs on for the Mug Shot. I told him because I don’t know the stories that go with the mugs he already had when I moved into this house!

I have drunk coffee, tea or hot cocoa from “David’s Cookies,” “The Cornell Homecoming” and the “Norfolk and Western” mugs, but the story from my perspective starts and ends there.

“This is David’s Mug. I brewed Peppermint tea in it yesterday afternoon. It was good.”

:::crickets chirping:::

Not much of a blog, huh?

So, for this week, I’m calling in a guest writer for the Mug Shot. He is a professional writer, owner of this mug and the wonderful man who shares his address with me! Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you David!!

Monday Mug Shot

“Constitution State Special”

Full 360º view of mug

On May 3, 1990, I was a guest of Conrail -- along with a whole bunch of other Connecticut media and businesspeople -- for a marketing/promotional train ride between Hartford and Danbury, Connecticut via New Haven. I was a reporter for The Middletown Press, a small-city daily newspaper, at the time and while my primary coverage area was in the lower Connecticut River valley, I also covered the occasional rail-related story. At the time, Conrail provided freight service to several shippers along the Connecticut coast and was the only interchange connection for the Connecticut Central Railroad, which operated in the Middletown area, so my work angle for the trip was to interview people about Conrail's future plans for those areas and how it and Conn. Central were getting along.

The fun part, of course, was just riding the Conrail business-car train, known officially as the Office Car Special, on a route that included some "new" mileage for me -- the line between Derby, Conn., and Danbury. At the time, a bridge over the Housatonic River at Derby that had been damaged by flooding some years earlier had just been repaired, and Conrail had begun running big freight trains over that line again after an extended period of relative dormancy. The highlight of the train for a lot of riders, me included, was the "theatre car" at the rear, which had a big plate-glass window and staged seating from which one could watch the miles roll away down the track.

Among the sights to be seen from that window were the occasional railfan photographers who showed up to document this fairly rare move. While I photographed the Conrail business train on numerous other occasions, being on board prevented me from getting many pictures of this particular Office Car Special, and never on the Danbury line, which Conrail sold off at the end of 1992 to a shortline railroad. But I did get this nifty coffee mug as a souvenir; I would later learn that Conrail had a whole bunch of those blue mugs with the train around the bottom, but the lettering was specific to this trip.

-David, guest blogger

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