End Of The Line


Ascending Cumbres Pass at dusk, I caught up with the train engine by pure luck. The crowds had long gone to back to the cozy roadside inns and warming watering holes of Chama and Antonito. The conductor and his men were working to shut the black beast down for the night. They barely noticed me as they worked together like a well oiled machine. The scene could have easily been played out the same a century ago. The chill in the air, the workers‘ garb, the black smoke emanating from the stack, and the hissing of steam were nothing short of iconic. The conductor walked the top plank shouting back and fourth with his men to be heard over the breathing engine. With his wrench, he tapped each metal tank before turning the relief valves. The escaping steam screamed past the conductor like the contrail of a missile and came within inches of his head. I was so intrigued by what I was watching, I almost forgot to raise my camera. Surly this was a “real man” job; not like some guy that drives around taking pictures…
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