Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railways… the connotation is warm. The combination is hot, for Warren Buffett, anyway. But I’m just playing with the words here. I know very little about the investment, the mess of money, the $34 billion changing hands, the back and forth shuffling of such commerce, all that’s on the line, the possibility of economic derailment… blah, blah, blah.
But when I hear the name, the brand, the icon Burlington, I think of trains, but then I think of coats and socks. Again, branding has scarred my brain. Oh, and Santa Fe, please. What has that to do with railways, I don’t know. It’s an unreal mockery-ville to the north of Albuquerque whose inhabitants are numb to the new-age artsy sweatlodge gift shop a-go-go status that brings in millions in tourist dollars along with the overly cordial presence of tribal-owned casinos along the way to and from the airport.
The railroads are things. The names of the places once closely associated with those things are memories, no more relevant than any arbitrary label invented yesterday at a marketing meeting.
Railroad companies have been named for places. Places have been named for railroad companies. I live in such a place. Frisco, TX. Never would anyone in San Francisco allow their city to be called Frisco. To do so would mark one as an obvious visitor. But here, in Frisco, Frisco is called Frisco. When we moved here in 1992 only 6000 other souls called this town home. Now the population is close to 106 thousand. Still, I cannot resist my favorite nickname for this suburb north of Dallas: Frisco, City by the Hay. There is still plenty of hay all over the place, even with the railroad coming through town.