ll aboard. I love trains. I started riding them when I was about five years old. We would travel from Los Angeles to New York on Santa Fe’s El Capitan and we changed trains for one of the New Central System trains and eventually for a Penn Central train when the former competitors merged.
The El Capitan was alway late, usually about three hours. That meant racing from one train station to another through Chicago’s Loop. Sometimes we made it. Sometimes we didn’t.
That meant waiting until the next train. We were already punch drunk from three days in a chair. But, Santa Fe’s trains were clean and modern. New York Central’s trains were worn, tired and a little dirty.
Waking up on the NYC train was wonderful. We were usually still a few hundred miles from the big city. The train tracks were located between a lush green forest and the Hudson River. Being awake early meant that there was fog on the river side. I had never seen such scenery.
Passenger trains never made money. They were often subsidized in one form or another. Even the famous joining of the tracks with a golden spike was subsidized by Abraham Lincoln. He thought the best way to heal and for the states to rejoin was physically join them with a national railroad.
The train companies were paid a dollar a mile plus three miles of land on either side of the track. That’s how so many towns were started in the upper mid west and west.
Still they really never made money until World War II. By late 1946 they went back to losing money. Moving people didn’t pay the freight. Moving goods paid the freight.
That’s why the El Capitan was so late. If the train was more than fifteen minutes late, it had to pull over and let freight trains pass. Do this repeatedly and, well, you get it.
Congress believed that we needed passenger service so they passed the Congressional Rail Passenger Service Act. On May 1, 1971 twenty railroad companies became one. The rainbow era began. In the early days Amtrak owned nothing. They leased passenger cars and engines. In order to keep the trains rolling Amtrak lashed engines together from multiple railroads. The colors were different so… rainbow era.
Amtrak still doesn’t make money.
he picture was made in Albuquerque, New Mexico during my time there. It was part of my Picture A Day project. To do it you make one picture a day for a year. If you want to learn something about yourself and photography you should do it. I liked it well enough that I did it for five years.
dds ‘n Ends.
The young woman who wrote the review on the 500 mm f 8 lens did respond. We had a nice exchange of emails. She said that she knew about the things I was talking about. I asked her why she didn’t write that. I got the impression that she received a press release and just wrote from that.
Good news. I spoke with a WordPress “happiness engineer.” It turns out that I can export my pictures and all of you to the new Storyteller. It isn’t even as complicated as I thought.
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