No Time to Waste

Part Three – The California Zephyr to Chicago

What the river does after a million years of work

My 1969 railroad adventure continues . . .

San Francisco has always had a special place in my heart. I lived there for three months in 1953, was the only non-Oriental in my third grade class, and as a curious eight-year-old soaked up the images of cable cars, street cars, Twin Peaks tunnel, and Golden Gate Park.

In 1953, with a family of four and luggage for three months away, the best way to travel was by train. From Grand Central Terminal, take the New York Central’s Lake Shore Limited to Chicago, connect with the California Zephyr to California, and see ground level America from sea to shining sea. For my eight-year-old curiosity, it was an exposure to travel and the USA that made a permanent impression on me.

The post war renaissance of long distance train travel was in full swing, and arguably the most aggressive effort to capture the travel market was the California Zephyr.

Read more

Back in the Day

The scene is winter, 1964.
The snow came down hard. Then, a man with a broom came out . . .

Modern railroading is amazingly high-tech. The BNSF completed installation of PTC, so it knows where every train is. LORAM units pass by, slowly resurfacing rails. Track gangs have laser sighting devices so track is always straight. Tier 4 locomotives maximize horsepower while minimizing pollutants.

It wasn’t always so.

Read more

A World Apart, A World Within

Mound, Louisiana

The Mississippi River Delta region has been the subject of books and portrayed in movies, but rarely have stories accurately captured the region, its people and its reputation as an agricultural empire.

To some, the Delta is flat, barren and less than inspiring visually. To others, it’s a wonder of nature, fertile and diverse. There is no question that the Delta has abundant agricultural and natural wealth, but it also has a heritage that can’t be duplicated.

The Delta is different than the agricultural areas of the Midwest and the open spaces of the Great Plains, but just how it is different is difficult to describe.

Read more

Editor’s Notebook

Town of Shenandoah, Virginia – January, 2019

If, like me, you came up in photography before the advent of digital, a photograph was a physical object; a print, or a slide. Photographs were distributed and seen as prints on photographic paper or in the pages of books and magazines. You could hang a photograph on the wall or fold it up and carry it with you in your wallet. It was a real object in the real world.

Read more

Anatomy of a Photograph
 The Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad

The Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad

Saturday, October 20, 2018 was the final day of the week-long Lerro Productions photo charter on the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad. The anatomy of an image: here are the accounts of Polson #2 steam locomotive fireman Martin E. Hansen, and photographer Matthew Malkiewicz.

Reflecting on a steam run as experienced inside the cab and from behind the lens

Martin E. Hansen

The night before the last day of the charter I was told that one of the firemen for the charter had to leave and go home early. Our trainmaster asked if I could fill in for him on the log train the next morning with Polson Lumber Company #2, a standard gauge 2-8-2 Mikado built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1912. Since I had just completed a week of hard work days in the shop with our restoration crew finishing the jacket, piping and other final installations on the Skookum locomotive, I was ready for a change and gladly accepted the assignment.

Read more