Cliff Hudgins, who lives in Baltimore and commutes daily by rail to his job as an engineer at the Veterans Administration headquarters in Washington, has been riding trains in the Baltimore- Washington corridor for almost all of his 58 years.

Metro Scene's account yesterday of the old Washington, Baltimore & Annapolis Railroad electric interurban trains that stopped running in 1935 made his eyes light up.

The first train ride of his life, he said, was on a WB&A train from Baltimore to visit his maternal grandmother, Mrs. George Anderson, who lived in Lincoln -- a black community that was as sedate and pleasant and as countrified as a city boy could imagine -- in Prince George's County west of what is now Glenn Dale.

The electric train took him and his parents to within a short walk of the prefabricated home his grandfather, a teacher who died the year Hudgins was born, had ordered from a Sears, Roebuck catalogue.

Lincoln is still there, but to Hudgins, somehow it hasn't been the same since the WB&A trains stopped whistling on the right-of-way that is now George Palmer Highway.

"It was some years [after riding his first electric train to Lincoln] that I found out that most trains were pulled by steam locomotives," Hudgins said.

Some readers might ask what is a steam locomotive.