Aw SFA, that is a special memory for me -- I was seven years old in 1952 when they took the steam locomotives off the train lines in rural Washington State. My father took the whole family to ride on that last day of trains pulled by the steam locomotive, and I have always remembered.
It was a tradition that the man in the caboose would always return the enthusiastic waving of the little kids, too.
Then they brought in the Diesel engine. The steam donkeys for logging in the forest were also replaced with diesel, and they had much less power...steam engines somehow captured everybody's heart.