GOLDEN, Colo. — If there is a train running at the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden, chances are Al Blount is somewhere on board.
If it’s a steam engine, chances are he’s the head conductor. If it’s a diesel engine, he’s likely the head engineer.
Blount grew up in California watching trains at a nearby rail yard. He dreamed of working on them, but when he got out of school, none of the railroads were hiring, so he joined the Army and went into electronics.
In 2002, Blount finally got his chance to join the railroad as a volunteer with the Colorado Railroad Museum, and he does a little bit of everything from engineering the trains to refurbishing them. His specialty is interiors.
“I do all the upholstery, seats and cab curtains on the locomotives, awnings, everything else, so it keeps me busy,” he said.
Blount is at the museum almost as much as some of the museum’s full-time employees. His schedule has him there twice a week, but during busy times like the sum and special events, he’s there even more. He really likes it during the weekends that Thomas the Tank Engine is running.
“During Thomas, we have 16 to 20,000 kids out here,” he said. “I have punched every ticket for all but the first year out here.”
Executive director Paul Hammond said it's hard to imagine the Colorado Railroad Museum without Blount around. He’s as much of a part of the landscape at the museum as some of the big engines.
“He is indispensable to our train operations, and that's why he's here,” Hammond said. “I think one thing that's universal is we all love him.”
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