Clark, look at it this way. Suppose you found out the quiet, dull and
uninteresting guy in the next office was dating Scarlett Johansson. (If you
don't know who she is, insert the name of your favorite glamorous movie star
here.) You'd certainly view him in a new light, and have a lot more respect
for him. Mike's interest in passenger trains makes him a much more interesting
and (dare I say it?) respectable person.
Whether Mike views the parade of yellow and gray (or gray and
gray, or green) passenger and mail trains over Sherman Hill as a
hindrance to the real purpose of the railroad or vice versa is beside the
point - his interest in both freight and passenger equipment and operations
elevates him. He might even impress Scarlett Johansson with his Big Boy.