Showing posts from July, 2021

Sweeping Curves and Great Expanse

 Milepost:  1535.7  Finlin, MT Heading west from Butte we parallel the Butte Anaconda and Pacific and then keep pushing further west as it drops away behind us.  Looking back, the Rockies are seen as a compilation of layers forming the horizon line.  The varying shades of darkness give depth and great expanse to the scene from the old right of way near Finlin, MT.  We are nearly 1540 miles form Chicago's Union Station, have crossed multiple mountain ranges and found ourselves in the shadows of old stations and substations both large and small.  In these fields near Finlin, the old telegraphy and AC power lines seemingly fortify the old transcon on either side.  Look carefully in the distance of these two photos and you can see them sweep slowly away in broad curves as they fade in the distance.  The photo above looks south on this small stretch of north-south running, the photo below looks north. It is only a small stretch of north-south mainline that ends in sweeping curves at eit

Right Place, Wrong Time

  Sometimes it's not hard to imagine the way things were as we stand in the presence of what remains.  It's an uneasy feeling: to know that  everything  is set and right - but for the timing.  The location is right: the corn grows in the fields as it seemingly always has, warm summer days roll across the lands and in the distance, the Erie Railroad RX Round Lake Interlocking stands against the sky.  The only thing wrong is the year on the calendar.  Right place, wrong time. Standing above these cornfields of a late summer in Indiana, near the town of Laketon, rise these remains of the RX Round Lake Interlocking.  It's the haunt of old passenger trains like the Lake Cities and Phoebe Snow, the place where 20 cylinder SD45s hauled piggybacks with supporting E8s that were kicked down from passenger service when that ended.  Instead of an east-west mainline beneath the great signals there are only weeds, trees, and a familiar empty feeling. It's not just the tracks and trai

Of Semaphores and Streets

Decades ago, it was a time when a large and powerful few were still a small and local many.  These would consolidate, merge, and slip away until what is found today are huge and encompassing.  In communication they are the AT&T and Verizons.  In retail they are the Amazons and Walmarts, the Lowes and the Home Depots.  In railroads, the Norfolk Southern and CSXT in the east, Union Pacific and BNSF in the west.   A few others exist in and around these behemoths as well, like Kansas City Southern, Iowa Interstate and numerous short lines, although KCS has grown aggressively in and out of country.  Even now it looks to a merger with CN and has already assimilated the Meridian Speedway and works closely with Norfolk Southern moving containers across the I20 corridor between Shreveport and Atlanta.   The bigness of what we see about us today hide the stories of the smaller and unique things that came before them.  Indiana was known for an impressive network of interurban lines and was a