I could not have been happier with how this photo came out. As I mentioned in my bio, I’m not a professional or even learned photographer, but I do try to shoot during the “golden hour,” that first or last hour of sunlight during the day, creating a warm magical glow.
I have a bit of a train obsession, so there’s going to be more rail/train related posts…I blame movies like Some Like it Hot, White Christmas Dr. Zhivago, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (as well as guilty pleasures like Back to the Future III and the animated Anastasia) for providing either a romantic, intimate, or action packed medium for me to see some of the most amazing plots unfold. The chugging sound and low blow of a whistle would lull me to sleep in Pittsfield, even now in Worcester. Hell, the first time I went into Wegmans in Northboro last fall and they had a model train running above the middle of the store, I almost peed my pants. I friggin love trains.
This photo was taken on the old Boston and Albany (B&A) Railroad track part of Union Station. The MBTA Commuter Rail is on the other side of the station, and this one is rarely used, though the vintage Providence and Worcester “The New Englander” car utilizes this track. In the background to the right is the old B&A switch tower (I’ve read it called signaling tower as well). These towers housed a complex system of mechanical levers and signaling control panels so operators could manually position trains. The birds eye view of the tracks gave operators optimal sight to interlock tracks and send trains on their way.
As time moved on, just as the Blackstone Canal was made obsolete by the railroad, the need for a mechanical man-powered locking system for tracks was no longer needed. Computer systems control most train signaling, though a few switch towers still operate in the U.S. This one in Worcester is best seen as you approach Green Street from Foster, enveloped in green ivy.
And yet, above all that steel, that rail of progress, the earth ignites, swirling, blues, roses, lavenders oranges. Fire. Between the buildings and bare trees dawn dances with dusk into a feverish tango before night covers the city. At that moment, was anything more beautiful?
“Splendor of ended day floating and filling me,
Hour prophetic, hour resuming the past,
Inflating my throat, you divine average,
You earth and life till the last ray gleams I sing…
I too carol the sun, usher’d or at noon, or as now, setting,
I too throb to the brain and beauty of the earth and of all the
growths of the earth,
I too have felt the resistless call of myself…
I sing to the last the equalities modern or old,
I sing the endless finales of things,
I say Nature continues, glory continues,
I praise with electric voice,
For I do not see one imperfection in the universe,
And I do not see one cause or result lamentable at last in the universe.
O setting sun! though the time has come,
I still warble under you, if none else does, unmitigated adoration.” -Walt Whitman