To make for a more dramatic photograph, I used my FujiFilm XT1 with the rear-display tilted skyward, which allowed me place the camera at platform level.
The display’s heads-up detail includes exposure and a leveling information that makes it easier to set the camera and expose at arm’s length.
Standing on the platform of Portuguese Railway’s passenger station at Ovar (south of Porto on the Porto-Lisbon mainline), I made this view using a fixed focal-length (not a variable focal length zoom) 90mm telephoto. This lens and angle compresses the scene, lowers the depth of field, and owing to the relative proximity to the ground and focus on the trains minimizes the foreground.
Under a clear sky with a blazing sun over my left shoulder, I made this view of a Comboios de Portugal (Portuguese Railways) local passenger train pausing for a station stop at Valega.
This small town benefits from a regular interval stopping passenger service on the busy double-track Lisbon-Porto mainline that hosts high-speed Alfa Pendolino, InterCity long distance, and lots of freight trains on the same rails.
I felt like a Victorian explorer being led through forests by expert guides. Petri and Pietu Tuovinen, and Markku Pulkinen led me a long a disused track.
“There is a locomotive turntable here.”
Indeed! Masked by trees, hidden from view, and located off the end of a lightly used branch line at Ammansaari, Finland is the old turntable once used to spin light steam locomotives.
Few visitors are afforded the privilege of seeing this relic. It was like finding a Mayan pyramid in the rain forest.
I exposed these photos digitally using my FujiFilm X-T1. For effect, I set the camera to the preset that emulates black & white film with a red filter. For posterity, I also exposed a few color slides.
My old Contax with real black & white film would have served me well here.
At one time, just about every town in North America had at least one railway station. Tens of thousands of station buildings dotted the continent. Most were small. Often railroads would have their bridge and building departments draft standard station plans of various sizes and apply these where appropriate.
Steward, Illinois is a village on the former Chicago, Burlington & Quincy several miles east of Rochelle (where the CB&Q crossed the Chicago & North Western). It has been many years since this small standard-plan station hosted trains. It survives as a tie to the era when the railroad was the town’s lifeline to the outside world.
The May 1949 Official Guide of the Railways lists CB&Q train 52 stopping here at 7:32 am eastbound, and train 49 stopping at 10:51 pm westbound, while a mixed train could make a stop on request (no time listed).
Now the station has little to do with the main line running nearby. Dozens of BNSF Railway long distance freights pass daily. There are no passenger trains on this route—not since Amtrak assumed most long distance passenger services in 1971. But Steward probably had lost its local train long before then.