The lovely spouse comes from a long line of railroad workers. Her father and paternal grandfather both were lifetime employees of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. As it turns out, her dad's maternal grandfather was also a railroad man.
In looking through some of the old photos we have, are a couple of pictures taken trackside along the B&O. These are in the railroad yard in Grafton, West Virginia in the late 19th or early 20th Century.
In both cases, the man on the right is the Lovely Spouse's great grandpa. I have no idea who the other man is. The B&O Railroad played an important part in the economy of the state of West Virginia, as it hauled the state's major natural resource, coal. I know railroad labor is very hard work, but if given the choice between that or working in a coal mine, I would definitely opt for the railroad.
In the second picture, the car on the left has a huge crane attached to it. Apparently it is used to load and unload the flat car to its right. It is also interesting that the flat car appears to be made of wood.
It is very interesting to look at old photos like this. It brings to life the people who came before us. We can see in their faces that although they lived in a very different time, they are not much different than we are. They worked to provide for their families, strugged to keep it all together, and although the technology of the age was not what we have today, we are not really different than they were.
It is too bad that photography is less than 200 years old. Wouldn't it be interesting to see pictures from the medival period, or perhaps from the Roman Empire or the Ming Dynasty? As usual, you may click on the photos to "biggify" them.