Monthly Archives: January 2013

Who EXACTLY was Bo John?

Bo John, the main character in “Bo John’s Train”, was a positive African American male role model.  There are men out there who are strong husbands and fathers.  There are men out there who set the standard for their little boys of what type of men they should be when they grow up.  These men also set the standard for their little girls as to the type of man she should marry.

Bo John was an outstanding example of exactly what any man should be- hardworking, honest, and kind-hearted.  He was a very proud man.  He had morals and values, and he insisted on instilling those morals and values in his children, nieces and nephews.  He was also a very jovial, happy go lucky man.  Always telling a joke or funny story, Bo John was always the center of attention as everyone within earshot was captivated by the unbelievable tales he would share.

Bo John's Train, Dana Walton, Army, United States Army, Bo JohnRobert Lee Walton Jr., affectionately known as “Bo John” by everyone he met, was a kind, warm hearted man.  He was given the nickname “Bo John” while in high school by his friends.  He was a triple threat athlete; playing basketball, baseball, and football.  He fell in love with my mother, Jacqueline, and they were married right out of high school.

After high school Bo John enlisted in the United States Army.  He was an Airborne Paratrooper in the 101 Airborne Division.  He jumped out of airplanes.  Bo John attained the rank of Staff Sergeant, spending time overseas in Korea. He spent seven and a half years in the Army.

During this time, he married my mom, his high school sweetheart.  This helped him make the decision to become a family man closer to home.  After the birth of his first daughter- me, he received an Honorable Discharge and returned home to be with my mother and me.

Bo John began his railroad career with CSX Transportation as a Train Man/Conductor.  He spent several years in this position before attending Engineer’s Training School Jacksonville, Florida.  Bo John loved his career as a railroad man.  He spent many nights away from his wife and children making an honorable living as a worker on the railroad.

After retiring from the railroad, Bo John was diagnosed with Cancer.  At the time of the diagnosis, the cancer was pretty widespread.  Although at times, there seemed to be little hope and he was in an extreme amount of pain, his spirits were always high, and he tried to comfort those around him.  Even as his daughter, I never really knew how serious it was until it was too late.  I have always wondered if he knew there was something wrong long before the diagnosis.  We will never know.

Bo John touched the lives of so many people…just by being himself.  He had a smile that could light up any room.  People still affectionately speak of him, and when they do, their memory is always accompanied by a smile.  I feel honored to have known Bo John personally, and even more honored to have been his daughter.


A Day in the Life of a Train Engineer

Do you love trains?  Trains are amazing machines and are loved by people all over the world.  These huge pieces of machinery are fascinatingHave you ever wondered what it would be like to drive a freight train?  These magnificent beasts are used to transport cargo or freight from one station to another.  Freight trains have the ability to efficiently move goods all over the country.

Bo John's Train, Dana Walton, Trains, Train engineer

Bo John

Have you ever wondered about the people that drive these trains?  These adventurous men and women who drive freight trains have a huge responsibility– not only to the companies whose freight they are hauling, but also to the people whose towns they pass though.  Much like the job of a truck driver, these people have a love for the “open road”.  There is an incredible opportunity for the peace and serenity that goes along with driving on the open road, or railroad, but there is also a huge responsibility that goes along with this profession.  The Engineer usually works alone and works long hours. 

The job of a Train Engineer is a very important one.  There are many factors that must be taken into consideration when deciding to pursue a career as a Train Engineer.  In order to be considered for a position as a Train Engineer, an individual must have at least two years of college and also attend an Engineer Training courseSafety is also an important part of this profession.  An Engineer must be concerned about the safety of his/her crew as well as the people who may be sitting at those railroad crossings waiting on the train to pass.

A Day in the life of an Engineer usually begins early in the morning.  The Engineer goes to the train station to prepare for the load.  He checks his paperwork, etc. and waits for the train to arrive so that he can switch places with the Engineer that is arriving at the station.  Once the train arrives, and the crew is switched out, it is time to move on to the next destination.  Attached to the engine are many cars containing all sorts of cargo.  Some trains carry fruit such as oranges, cars, coal, etc.  All of this cargo must be delivered to a company.

Bo John's Train, Dana Walton, TrainsThe train starts moving off slowly and then picks up speed as it roars toward its destination.  The Engineer has lots of gauges and controls to monitor to ensure that the train is moving along at a proper speed and that the engine is running smoothly.  The Engineer is also responsible to use his/her radio to stay in contact with the station.  Once the train arrives at its destination, it is time to unload the cargo.  The Engineer must drop the cargo at each company by causing those particular cars to “break away” from the rest.  This maneuver must be done at each company.  When all of the cargo has been delivered, the job is done and it is time to return to the station.  The Engineer may be gone for days at a time, depending on how long it takes to go to the destination, deliver the cargo, and return.

Bo John’s Train

Dana Walton, Bo John's TrainHello,

My name is Dana Walton, and I am the author of “Bo John’s Train”.  I am an Educator, currently living near Atlanta, Georgia. I have taught elementary school for over twelve years in the states of Florida, Georgia, and Maryland.  I have also taught in the United Arab Emirates in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.  I have one son, Ryan, and he is nine years old.  In my spare time, I enjoy reading, traveling, bowling, going to the movies, shopping, and clipping coupons.

I am so excited to have the opportunity to share this book with the world.  “Bo John’s Train” is about a train engineer and the way he has touched the people of a small townMy father, Robert Lee Walton Jr., was the inspiration for this book.  It seemed as if everyone in our town knew him.  His nickname was Bo John.  He was an engineer for CSX Transportation. He actually drove trains! I have some great memories of my father wearing his blue overalls, red and white handkerchief around his neck, and blue and white striped conductor’s hat.

bo john's train, bo john, trains, Dana Walton

Bo John (my dad and inspiration for my book)

I wrote this book as a tribute to my father.  He had such a positive impact on the lives he touched.  He had such a huge smile and he was always smiling.  He was a happy person and fun to be around. I remember the jokes he told and the many stories he shared about working on the railroad.  Our house was not too far from the railroad tracks, and he would always blow the train whistle as he passed our house.  When we were little, my mom would take my sister and I to see our dad as he passed by driving the train.  We would sit in the car and wait for the train to pass by.  My Dad would lean out the engine window and wave at us as the train roared by.  Sometimes he would tip his blue and white striped conductor’s hat as he rode on past the railroad crossing.  Although I miss him every day, I can still smile as I reminisce about my childhood and the love he had for his family, his car, and his freight train.

In December 2005, my father passed away after his battle with cancer.  This was a very difficult time for my family.  We still think about him all the time.  At family gatherings, people still talk about the jokes and funny stories he would share.  Bo John’s Train is my way of paying tribute to the man who is directly responsible for making me into the woman I am today.  He taught me how to be independent and how to love others.  He was a strong believer in education and I know that he would be proud of all of my accomplishments.  I also know that he would be proud to be the main character in “Bo John’s Train”.  Whenever I hear a train whistle, I think of him.  After reading this book, I hope you will too.