“My career goal was to work for the Nickel Plate [Railroad]; however, when I graduated college the Norfolk Western had taken over the Nickel Plate and railroads were in decline.  The Austin Steam Train Association [ASTA] has allowed me to achieve my goal of working for the railroad and the Nickel Plate as we have 10 percent of the Nickel Plate’s passenger fleet.

The best part of working on the train is it’s the only time I can get away from work.  They can call but I do not have access to a computer so I cannot get on line.

[Volunteering with ASTA] is a great opportunity to travel and not have to go anywhere.  We meet people from all over just as if you were on a cruise or ridding the Southern Crescent.  I have met people from my home town and from places I have traveled for work.  We are also a family, spending a day on the train is a day of good fellowship.“  – John Phalen