Ghosts of Chessie

Inlaid into the floor of the waiting room at Prince, WV, is the C&O’s mascot “Chessie.”

Situated deep in the New River Gorge National River area is a little-known Amtrak station in Prince, West Virginia. In the late spring of 2018, my family and I used it as a jumping off point for a trip on Amtrak to Yellowstone National Park. The station is still served three days a week on Amtrak’s Cardinal line and is in CSX’s New River subdivision.

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Railroad Town: 
Manassas, Virginia

Former Southern Railway Depot, Manassas, Virginia

When you ask people what is famous about the city of Manassas, Virginia, what do you think their answer will be? Most of the time, the answer will be the two major battles of the Civil War. Besides, it was in the first battle where a Confederate general named Thomas Jackson earned the name ‘Stonewall Jackson’. The Manassas National Battlefield Park is the most visited historic site in Manassas, but what most people do not know is how Manassas came to be.

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Saturday Afternoon at JO

JO Tower

Many people have memories of their childhood. I am more fortunate than most to have had a father who took me to work with him. Of course he never looked at it like that because he would have preferred to be at home rather than at work on weekends like most people. When I think back to those days when my dad worked in the A&P supermarket in the dairy department part time, it brings a smile to my face. He would get up Saturday mornings and walk to the A&P and work from 9:00 a.m. till 1:00 p.m. Each week he would tell me not to come into the store to see him because it did not look right to the boss. Each week when I could, I walked down to see him anyway. I would try to time it to when he was cutting up those big wheels of cheese. There he would be in his white apron behind the counter, and I would pop in and say “Hi dad!”

He would frown and say, “What did I tell you about coming here!”

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Editor’s Notebook

I first came across the work of A. Aubrey Bodine about ten years ago, but it is only in the last year that I discovered his railroad photography. Trains: Photography of A. Aubrey Bodine was published by Schiffer Books in 2018. This is one of several books authored by Bodine’s daughter, Jennifer Bodine, and features 120 black and white railroad photographs taken by A. Aubrey Bodine, mostly in the 1950s.

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Northbound Union Pacific – Wolf Lake, Illinois – April 4, 2016

Orthodoxy states that a train picture should be taken during the bright light of mid-morning or mid-afternoon, the photographer shooting with the sun behind and the subject brilliantly lit. The photo should be taken at a shutter speed sufficient to stop a moving train dead in its tracks, literally, and the subject should be in sharp focus. There’s nothing wrong with that, and I’ve taken my share of such images.

However, I believe in throwing the orthodox out the window as well. Sunrise is a great time to throw the traditional train picture on its ear. The rising sun combined with partial cloud cover can make for a beautiful image, particularly in a rural region.

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