While cleaning the other day I found some old photos of my first long distance railroad trip and I wanted to share. The photos have to be at least thirteen years old, I remember leaving from Penn Station and going down to Jacksonville, Florida, and then later leaving from DeLand station back to Penn. I don’t think I really cared all that much about trains back then, but I sure was mesmerized with that Solari departure board that used to be in Penn Station.


Most typical of me, there is a photo of a cat in there. I don’t recall much about the cat, but based on the fur coloring visible in the photo, the cat is a she (or a rare genetic aberration). I remember that cat hung out at the station, and of course I hung out with her while waiting for my train. Amusingly, the DeLand station’s wikipedia entry mentions the cat, and how she often will greet passengers disembarking from the train on the platform. Whether the cat is the same or not, or possibly a descendant of the cat in my photo, I have no idea. My grandmother is going to be heading down by train to DeLand sometime in March, so I told her to keep her eyes open for the cat. I could always call the station and ask about her, but then they would find out what you guys already know – that I’m just a tad crazy.

Those old photos were of course taken with a real film camera. Honestly, I never really liked film all that much. I’ve done the whole film thing, from shooting to self developing, which I especially loathed (imagine me, with my poor coordination, standing in the blackness of the darkroom attempting to roll my film onto the spool for processing and failing miserably). I never had much money growing up, and film and developing was always costly. Digital gives me the ability to shoot a million different frames of the same thing from various angles, and then decide which I like best – without worrying in my mind about wasting film exposures and money in development.

All this thought about my old photography is making me think about what my goals are for this year. What places I’d like to go see and photograph, and then post on this blog. The whole lack of a car thing makes some of this difficult, and it is likely I won’t be able to visit all of these places this year. But these are just some ideas…

Railroad Museum of Long Island – Riverhead, New York
Vanderbilt Mansions in Rhode Island – The Breakers and Marble House
Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site – Hyde Park, New York
Vanderbilt Museum – Centerport, New York
Sharon Station – Old Harlem station in Amenia
Craryville Station – The other remaining Harlem station that I’ve not been to

At the end of April I will be heading to Africa for a little bit of adventure. I’ll be going on safari in South Africa and Botswana, as well as visiting Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Victoria Falls. I’ll get the chance to photograph the Cape Town Railway Station, as well as Africa’s largest railway station: Johannesburg Park Station. I’m also hoping to take a Metro Train to Simonstown as well as a journey through the Karoo desert to Johannesburg on the Premier Classe Train.

Unrelated to trains, but keeping up with my desire to visit really strange locales, my friend has a strong desire to go and see Rabbit Hash, Kentucky. The mayor of Rabbit Hash is a dog. Along the way, however, we would stop at Cincinnati’s Union Terminal, which looks like quite the gorgeous building.

Most notably, I will continue with my station tours whenever spring finally comes and this snow has melted. It was up in the air between either the Hudson or the New Haven lines, but I finally decided upon doing a Tour of the New Haven Line. Just as I did with the tour of the Harlem Line, I will post a new station each Tuesday.

For now that is about all I can think of. I’m very open to suggestions for interesting places to visit, so if you have an idea, be sure to comment and let me know!

4 Responses

  1. Emily Elizabeth Moser says:

    You would like this, you're coming with me to most of those places!

  2. Tyler Trahan says:

    Very cool! I look forward to seeing your photos from Africa!

  3. Steve says:

    Well, if you do visit the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park, i’d be happy to buy you lunch.

    Other things to consider a visit too, the D&H canal that ran from Kingston to Hawley PA. There is a museum in High Falls, various locks around there and stretches of the canal bed are now a park down towards Port Jervis along the 209 corridor. And of course Roebling’s bridge over the Delaware.

    The Wallkill Valley Railroad which is a now about 50 percent rail trail, with a nice trestle over the river in New Paltz. Also, some of the O&W Kingston branch is a rail trail, with quite a few existing stations.

    The University of New Hampshire maintains a library of the USGS topo maps that you can view, they are from the 1890’s – 1940’s. They give you a idea of what old structures and rights of way were around.


    Enjoy Africa, you seem quite the adventurer.

  4. William Hays says:

    Don’t miss the president’s stone-and-wattle condo in Kenya. I hear it has White House china, courtesy of the Clintons.
    The D&H canal was constructed from Kingston, NY to Honesdale, PA. Check Manville B. Wakefield’s “Coal Boats to Tidewater”.
    You should consider staying home, instead of spending your money in ‘furrin’ places, e.g. Alaska and Africa. Wot’s wrong with Amenia and Ancramdale?
    How ’bout investigating the iron, and copper, mines on the Harlem and the Put?
    Wingdale, Tilly Foster, and Copake come to mind. Mahopac Mines intrigues me ’cause I have never been there. There were many branches and spurs to them, way-back… I’m still seeking info on the Tuckahoe Marble quarry spur. Hard to do from afar.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *