This Kodachrome slide has always resonated with me.
In North American practice, cabooses and stack trains were equipment from different eras that just barely overlapped.
During the mid-1980s, most class 1 freight carriers banished cabooses to operational backwaters. True, cabooses held out in rare instances (some can still be found), but they had been made redundant by technological changes and their once-standard operation finally came to an end as a side-effect of deregulation.
Another effect of deregulation was a more progressive environment that favored double-stacked container trains.
So, as cabooses were rapidly sidetracked, stack trains were becoming common on principal trunk lines. Since intermodal operations tended to run from terminal to terminal, these trains were among the first to lose cabooses.
I can count the number of caboose-ended double-stack trains I photographed on one hand.
I especially like this view in a snow squall of a Norfolk Southern train carrying an Norfolk & Western caboose on the back of a Maersk stack train that had just come east over the old Nickel Plate route.
The background is the colossal and completely abandoned Buffalo Central Terminal, designed by Fellheimer & Wagner, and constructed by the New York Central during the false optimism of the roaring 1920s, only to open on the eve of the Great Depression.
The other day, I was searching for some images for a book project, and I discovered a long lost yellow box of Kodachrome slides.
In the 1980s, normally, I was pretty good about labeling my slides. This box simply read, “Buffalo unlabled”.
I thought, “uh oh, what’s this . . . ”
Like, pirate’s treasure!
I’d managed to stamp my name on each slide. And, back in the day, I removed a couple of choice images to make Cibachrome prints. But other than that this roll was untouched. These haven’t been projected, or printed.
Unfortunately, my notes from the day also appear to be absent, so some details on railroad operations and exposure data have been lost to time.
The slide mounts are stamped November 1988, but these may have been exposed on October 28th, as I spent the morning making industrial images around Niagara Falls for a class project at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
I’d walked the old Skyway south of downtown Buffalo to make photos of the steel works. At the time I was impressed by the dramatic lighting on Lake Erie.
26 years after being misplaced, I’m happy to have these slides back in circulation again!