Rails at sunset

DAILY POST: Winners and Losers.

Contrasting Views of Indiana Railway Lines, June 2004.

In a world of railway mergers and consolidation, we can divide railway routes into groups; survivors and losers. Some lines have prevailed while others have been abandoned and ripped up.

Of course, we can further divide surviving lines. There are lines that continue to function as busy corridors, while others may only exist in fragmented form, or as downgraded local routes. Often fragments have been sown together and so now old railway line serve routes that may be very different than as originally intended.

Putting these concepts on film presents a puzzle and a challenge.

Rails at sunset
I made this view looking west on Norfolk Southern’s former Wabash mainline at Marshfield, Indiana. This highly polished steel highway continues to serve as a vital interstate corridor.
Abandoned track
High summer sun scorched the ruins of the old New York Central Egyptian Line at the Indiana-Illinois Stateline. This is one of many Midwestern railways abandoned as a result of railroad merger and line consolidation and shifting traffic patterns.

In June 2004, I was exploring western Indiana with Pete Ruesch and with his help I exposed these two photographs. The ‘winner’ is a sunset view of Norfolk Southern’s former Wabash mainline at Marshfield, which serves as a heavily-traveled long-distance freight corridor. The ‘loser’ was a recently abandoned vestige of New York Central’s Egyptian Line at the Indiana-Illinois state line.

Both were exposed with Nikon cameras on Fuji color slide film.

My recent book North American Railroad Family Trees (Voyageur Press) discusses past and possible future changes to the North American railway network.

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