When we were kids, my mother forbade us to play near the tracks that ran behind our house; naturally, we spent a lot of time there, when she wasn't looking.
The tracks were a source of adventure. We had an idea of how dangerous they could be, after finding a dog that had been cut in half by a train, but we still were drawn to them. Mike and I used to hop on the slow-moving coal cars that ran on the north-south tracks behind our house, sometimes riding several blocks before letting go-probably, had we lived there a few years longer, we would've used them to get downtown.
When we moved to the Projects, the east-west tracks were closer, and we began a practice of using the tracks as a shortcut, 4-X, to get downtown; I did that for years, on out west and east sides of town.
We grew up with the sounds of the trains in our ears, and I have to admit, I miss it, just as I miss the feel of Lake Erie close at hand. There's a rail line near us, but the trains don't pass as often.