As much as I love new technology and my gadgets I also like examining our past. I have started collecting vintage cameras (more on that in a future post), I love exploring old buildings or sites and love photographing old things.
We can’t have the present that we have today without building on what came before. With that in mind one of the subjects that I am drawn to as a photographic target is old things. A recent trip to the Radial Railway Museum in Milton, Ontario had me feeling like a little kid.
Maybe it is a stereotypical guy thing, but I am fascinated by trains. As a kid I had a train layout that I would spend hours playing with (we won’t talk about the psychological effects of how many toy cars were placed on the tracks or the deliberate derailments)! Even to this day I love to sit and watch the trains. On those rare occasions when one gets to see an old stream train chugging down the tracks it’s like I have been magically transformed into that little kid again or back in time.
Part of the attraction is the sheer awesomeness of the train itself. The engineering required in designing and building it and the majesty of it steaming along is fascinating. The other part of it is the history of not only that engine, but of rail transport in general. In many countries the rail system was and is an important part of its transport and communications systems. This is especially true in Canada where the building of the country was literally tied to having a rail link from the east coast to the west coast. Without that link there would have been no Confederation.
The Radial Railway Museum looks at a whole different aspect of the train evolution, but an aspect that is just as important. The museum’s collection is all about the trains that one finds inside cities. They are streetcars or trams. These are important because they provide an essential service of moving the citizens of the city around. Their collection is fabulous and includes everything from trams in perfect working condition to others that are rusting hulks. The best part of it is that they have a working railway with 2 or 3 trams running. Taking a ride on these is pretty amazing.
One is able to walk on, off and around all of the stock on display. This allowed for great photographic opportunities.
From a photographic point of view it was the old and rusty hulks that drew my attention. The combination of the engineering of the vehicles and the decay created beautiful patterns.
The decrepit boxcar and caboose seen above immediately drew me over. The patterns in the wood and peeling paint were irresistible. I would love to be able to hear the stories that these cars could tell.
This is one of the trams that they have sitting on the tracks. It looks like it has been time teleported directly from history to be with us today.
Check out the rest of my pictures over at my Flickr gallery if you are so inclined.