Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A woman, a boy, a curious trunk in the December mists...that sign post up ahead...

   ...from a photographer's notebook


They certainly look “of the present” in their almost-matching stripes.

But there was something about that old-fashioned trunk…

And the side of the platform at the old Point of Rocks station where they’re standing on this misty Sunday evening.

There must have been another track closer to that platform, back when the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad still operated passenger trains along the “Old Main Line.” 

But no more.

At the E. Francis Baldwin-designed old brick station, the tracks of the Old Main joined the dual track Metropolitan Branch at a “wye” on either side of the platforms. After so converging, the broad main line continues  west to Harpers Ferry, and onward through Pittsburgh toward Chicago.

As I edited this image, from an Ektachrome slide shot on an early December evening, and looked at the contrast between the woman and boy…and that trunk…a sort of “Twilight Zone” scenario took over, as I imagined Rod Serling materializing from the mists.

The “Capitol Limited” has just streaked by on its westward course to Chicago. It no longer stops here. Only the MARC commuter trains do, but not on weekends. All that remains is a faint scent of diesel exhaust in the chilled evening mist, from the “Capitol’s” two speeding locomotives.

A woman…a boy…waiting… on a platform where no trains will stop…
with that very old trunk…a trunk old enough to remember swirling steam and coal smoke as a B&O local from Baltimore chuffs its way up the “Old Main” and stops…right there.

Amidst the swirling clouds of steam and coal smoke, the woman and boy climb aboard, as a porter hefts the old trunk from the platform into the  dark blue 1920s baggage car at the front of the train.

The signal turns green, a blast of the whistle…and with a great commotion of steam, coal smoke, and a rhythmic, syncopated CHUFF…CHUFF…CHUFF, the train eases away from the platform, past that signpost up ahead, disappearing in the winter mists…heading for a rendez-vous with a destination station...somewhere in the Twilight Zone.

©2014 Steve Ember

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