I consider myself fortunate to live near a couple of old rail yards. One of them, the Tilton Railroad Station, still houses trains and they still come and go on occasion. The station house itself, has been restored and is used for events, year round.
Growing up in Northern Vermont near the Canadian border, I was used to the sound of trains, day and night. The night trains would roll into the station between the steep hill we lived on and Lake Champlain, several miles away. The whistles would echo long and haunting to fill my dreams
My first several birthdays were celebrated on trains. Because the downtown area of our town contained a large station serving several rail lines, a beautiful round house and many other Victorian era brick train buildings, the railroad was commonplace to me. My parents would sometimes bring me down to just watch the trains pulling in and out of the station. It seemed like we always had to wait for a train to cross, when we took frequent drives to the lake.
I thought everyone celebrated birthdays on trains, with the conductor wishing me a happy birthday and myself and a few friends riding through miles of countryside with balloons and cake! It was a shock to me at 6 or 7 years old to learn that my experience was rather unique.
Now, much of that train yard in St. Albans Vermont has been dismantled and the trains are no longer a regular part of life there. It saddens me and I guess I always get a little bit excited when I see a train nowadays.
When my brother Jon was home in December and January recently, we visited the Tilton Station together, with our cameras of course. Jon took some beautiful, textural black and white, as well as color images, many up close and detailed.
I was also having fun with the receding perspectives of all those cars lined up on the tracks, waiting for somewhere to go…