Railroad Retrospective

For those of you who have been waiting for a collection that's devoted to the life of the railroad, this one is for you. This cache of negatives features the employees and machines of the Chicago & North Western Railway Company, which covered ground from Michigan to Wyoming and existed from the 1850s until 1995. Judging by the apparel of the employees, these images date back to the early 20th century. Clothing and context aside, I love the mystery behind these photos. There are few, if any, people in these images. That, paired with the soft ghostly light and the wide vacant train yards, gives this collection an almost surreal quality. Also, we have no idea who snapped these photos, which is another thing to love about them. Was it a photographer commissioned by the company? Or, an employee who brought his camera to work? Who was out there, snapping train pics and documenting the lonely yards and hard, cold tracks? Either way, I love the way these photos offer a peek behind the scenes of the railroad life.