Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Lumber St. Special

Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nations' Freight Handler...

You said it Carl. But really, how much does Chicago really play with railroads and handle freight nowadays? Oh sure, there are still a lot of yards in Chicago, a lot of trains, a lot of freight. But it’s mostly passing through, or – at best – having a container dropped onto a truck for final delivery. The bones of a once mighty network of tracks winding though the city to long forgotten foundries and factories may still exist to some degree (and I’ve certainly tried to shoot as much of it as I can) but how much of that rail is still live, still being serviced? Well, it turns out Lumber St. is. It was summer and I was heading to one of my favorite photo locations in the City – the18th Street Bridge – when, while walking down Canal St., I looked over and saw this ex-Conrail geep idling on a spur right in front of the bridge. This wasn’t so much unusual as it was absolutely incredible luck and I quickened my pace to get on top of it before it moved. But there was no way I was going to make it time. Surely it would move just was I was getting into position. Well, as you can see below, this thing wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon – seems someone forgot that today was delivery day. In fact, I wound up shooting so many frames of this thing, I actually got bored waiting for the truck to move and finally just wound up leaving to head into Chinatown. Nothing like fully exploring the scene I guess. There is a bit of a postscript to this photo however. Awhile after posting it on flickr, I was contacted by a gentleman from the Chicago Architecture Foundation. Seems they wanted to use my photo for some exhibit they were putting together. Now, free = good only if I’m receiving and not giving but on the other hand: Chicago Architecture Foundation. Of course I let them use it. Oh, what was the exhibit? Their Chicago Model City project. What’s that? You haven’t seen it? Well you should – the photos are pretty good. 

The Job

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