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Western Railroad Discussion > Contest entries: vanishing

Date: 11/17/08 19:51
Contest entries: vanishing
Author: Evan_Werkema

I'm hard put to come up with a common theme for the structure photos I'm entering in the contest, except maybe that they are all reminders of a bygone era, and as such are slowly disappearing from the railroad scene.

1. Last chance. Capturing a scene like this 1990 view of a Santa Fe local freight stopped in front of a standard Santa Fe frame depot would have been relatively easy just ten years before, back when Santa Fe had hundreds of miles of branchlines and an impressive number of small town agencies. In that decade, a blizzard of agency closures and depot removals, along with line sales, reduced the possibilities to just a bare handful of locations in the middle of the system. Boise City, OK's extended #3 branch line standard depot would remain trackside for another nine years before being moved to a nearby museum in 1999. BNSF still uses the "main line" through Boise City, but the line from Dodge City that played host to the local would be sold off to the Cimarron Valley RR in 1996.

2. The Ghost of Martell. It's always seemed to me that a shortline or Class 1 branchline ought to have a depot at both ends: at the main line junction with someone to coordinate the interchange, and at the far end where the crew could come on duty and get their orders for the day. Of course, this kind of people-intensive railroading went by the wayside decades ago, and at places where a building is still needed, it's usually a nondescript portable of some kind. One shortline where a person can still find old-style wood frame depots at both ends is the now-mothballed Amador Foothills Railroad (Amador Central) in north-central California. That is to say, the structures themselves are still there; neither has been used by the shortline or its Class-1 connection for years. Up at the end of the line, the two-story depot at Martell, CA stands as a decading hulk amid the weeds, with a temporary chain link fence keeping out only those vandals who lack initiative.

Date: 11/17/08 19:54
Re: Contest entries: vanishing
Author: Evan_Werkema

3. Redondo Zirconia. Redondo Junction would only be a manned tower for another year and a half after this November 1999 photo. Today the tower stands boarded up, and the diamonds it watched over are gone.

4. Farewell old friend. It's the night of January 15, 1999 as a northbound UP train approaches the BNSF diamonds at Stockton, CA in a thin winter fog. The new CTC signals around Stockton Tower were placed in service three days before, and in just a few hours, the 3rd trick operator will go off duty for the last time and lock the tower door behind him. LEss than six months later, the tower itself would be gone.

5. Another favorite gone. 1999 was a bad year for a lot of my favorite spots in California's Central Valley. The platform in front of the ex-ATSF depot in Riverbank, CA used to be a great place to spend an afternoon, watching roadswitchers working in the yard as Amtrak San Joaquins made their station stops and intermodal trains for Richmond rolled through. The depot was shared by BNSF and Amtrak until October 30, 1999, when Amtrak moved into a new depot on the outskirts of Modesto further to the south. After that, a civilian no longer had an excuse for loitering on the platform at Riverbank for a few hours, particulary after the platform was dug up and replaced with a crude asphalt pathway. BNSF continued to use the depot until October 2003, when it burned to the ground. BNSF 4322 west pauses in front of the well-lit depot on its last day as an Amtrak station.

Date: 11/17/08 20:04
Re: Contest entries: vanishing
Author: RustyRayls

VERY nice collection of images!


Date: 11/17/08 21:00
Re: Contest entries: vanishing
Author: Yarddogh

I concur . . a wonderful collection . . with excellent lighting. Considering
those were originally photos or slides, they've digitized nicely. Impressive . . : >) ,
and thanks for presenting the history and details surrounding those situations. 'Dogh

Date: 11/17/08 21:44
Re: Contest entries: vanishing
Author: CimaScrambler

I think Evan is going home with the prize this time.

Kit Courter
Torrance, CA
LunarLight Photography

Date: 11/17/08 23:01
Re: Contest entries: vanishing
Author: wlj619

Great stuff.

Walter Johnson, Santa Monica

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