I can't believe we've already been back at home for almost a month! Maybe I can consider this an extension of the enjoyment of the vacation instead of garden-variety procrastination.
On the first day out, we spotted an odd little train with some very unusual-looking cars. Dh found a convenient park with a trackside view, and we stopped and waited for the train to come by. It took a little while, but it was worth the wait!
It turned out to be a rail grinder train, and it was pretty impressive close up. The loco was followed by a couple of passenger cars with their windows blocked off, then two tank cars, and a couple of tool cars (guessing). Then came the VERY loud rail grinder cars, emitting metal grinding sounds with showers of sparks and much smoke.
They took a lot of care to avoid starting fires. They laid down some kind of retardant, plus a guy rode on the back of the train hosing down the track.