Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Pump House, Portola, October, 2012

I decided that this series of photographs that I am making of the Western Pacific Railroad Museum in  Portola forms the base for a project that I wanted to create for a long time. I think it will focus on the era when I worked at the railroad which was the post-steam period. It was the era of the first and second generation of diesel locomotives. It was an era where brakemen and switchmen still climbed on top of railcars to set or release brakes. It was the era where the sixteen-hour law was still in effect, and where men sometimes worked eight on, and eight off, or went to fifteen-hours and fifty-nine minutes a shift so that they/we would not "go dead-on-the-law", and have to rest for ten hours.

If there was any one career that suited me to a tee, it was railroading. I left it after ten years, but it never left me. I thought that many of my troubles came from the lifestyle that I adapted while railroading, but in hindsight, I think it was just me going through what I had to go through, and that it was not the railroad's doing.

I cannot reclaim the past. I have lived a good life, and I would not change any of it, but what I am saying is that railroading is in my blood, and it cannot be filtered out. Perhaps I can honor this somewhat dormant part of my being by creating this opus. I am not interested in creating a fictional account of what could have been,  but I do intend to share some of the soul of the railroad, and of myself.