above: westbound Metra commuter train @ West 16th St. & South Union St. – Chicago 2019
One new image from my ongoing Light Rail series featuring commuter and freight trains that I’ve photographed (mostly at night) in and around Chicago.
My Light Rail series came about because I’ve got a long history with trains. My grandfather was a conductor on the Illinois Central Railroad and I grew up with many artifacts from his time punching tickets on that line, back in the day – 1930’s through the 1960’s.
I messed around with HO scale railroads and my Dad’s O scale stuff when I was a little kid, but never had a traditional train set like a lot of my friends had. Model railroading didn’t captivate me quite like traditional model making did. But I’ve already posted about that here.
When I was working in Detroit after college, every so often I would jump freight trains and ride them for very short distances – never more than a few miles.
Those short and illicit late night hops were as exhilarating as you think they would be.
I’ve talked to a lot of artists – painters, writers, musicians – many of whom have had great ideas on trains. The only explanation I have is all that stuff is coming at you while you’re relaxed, so somehow it kicks you into hyperspace in terms of brain function.