Bayard Summer Night

It was just a hunch, a guess made on the way back from a jobsite. Having been through Minerva, Ohio in the morning, I knew an Ohi-Rail crew was out, so I looked for them again on the trip back east and home. No luck finding them until they unexpectedly came out of the woods, rumbling back into town, heading for the Norfolk Southern interchange. Since the motors were both old, high nose, unrebuilt Geeps, I decided to follow them a bit. At the eastern edge of town, they cross Route 30 and, while waiting on them, I chanced upon a track repairman, who told me that they were heading out to pick up 35 stone (ballast) cars for the repair of the line south of town. After jawing for a bit, I lit out for Bayard where the Ohi-Rail meets the NS and found the crew doing their brake test.

I could imagine a group of friends sitting there around that fire pit, beers in hand, watching the moon and waiting on a train . . .”

Being that the spot and shot was pretty flat, I decided to work my way back up the hill, finding a nice little front yard with trees to frame the scene—I ended up with a bit more than I bargained for. The trees were nice, as was the hammock strung between, but note the deer skull next to the fire pit, the old 50’s metal glider and the very nice tiki face carved into the wire spool serving as a table. I’m thinking that there are some interesting times in this yard all through the summer nights. As I stood there, I could imagine a group of friends sitting there around that fire pit, beers in hand, watching the moon and waiting on a train,  just grooving on the Bayard summer night.

Kevin N. TomasicPhotographs and text Copyright 2017

Manitoba Trackside

The Scene in 1984

Among my nearly annual visits to the Canadian West, 1984 was a momentous year . At Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, I spent time trackside observing and photographing the many Canadian National (CN) and Canadian Pacific (CP) freight trains, as well as VIA Rail passenger trains that emanated from the provincial capital of Winnipeg, fifty-five miles to the east. At Portage, more lines (subdivisions) spread out. During that June visit, my genial hosts (aunt and uncle!) let me use their Toyota to visit many nearby Manitoba towns.

While the Western Canadian grain industry was contracting—undergoing major changes—I realized that the handwriting was on the wall for Canada’s wooden “country” elevators. Consequently, I made the effort to photograph them. While doing so, I noticed myriad trackside details that completed the Manitoba trackside scene. Read more

Railroad Town:  
Clifton Forge, Virginia

Driving into town on a rain splattered spring morning, Clifton Forge looks like dozens of other small towns scattered about the mountains of western Virginia. The only clue to the town’s past is a small sign pointing the way to the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Heritage Center.

Clifton Forge was once a booming railroad town. In the early 19th century, a settlement grew up along the Jackson River between Slaughter Pen Hollow and Smith Creek which eventually became known as Clifton Forge. Read more