What do you think about when you think about October?
The smell of wood smoke? The crisp nip in the air? The brilliant fall foliage? The shushing sounds your shoes make through the leaves after they've fallen to the ground?
What about ghosts? Sure, there's Halloween, but what about the ghosts of the past?
I've always thought of the month of October as the perfect time to see some ghosts. As the leaves reveal their true colors, right before they fall from the trees, and things begin to slow down a bit, we can start to recall - or sometimes we have to imagine - what life used to be like, before all the craziness of modern life.
And if you find yourself in just the right spot during the month of October, you might just think you've fallen through a portal into the past - and if you're truly lucky, you might just see some ghosts of 1950s railroading in upstate New York.
That's what happened to me on a recent Autumn day, exploring the Rod Serling countryside along the Batten Kill River. Follow along as I share some of the memories with you . . .
|Evoking the old D&H, switching the feed mill near Greenwich Jct., NY
|Southbound through Shushan, NY - only the modern vehicles spoil the specter of a mid-20th century meet between two freight trains in small-town America.
|Two ghosts, divided by 100 years - Station built c. 1852, Locomotive built 1952
|21st century digital zoom softens the colors and captures an echo of railroading from almost 70 years ago.
|Our fading pumpkin of a locomotive makes its way over the railroad's namesake river and past a fading farm.
|A little paint, a little polish, and a lot of elbow grease, and this ghost of a car might just live to chase another train on another day . . .
|Grab shot tension
|New meets Old
|The gathering clouds and fading foliage provide the perfect metaphor for a farm which has seen better days.
|Heading back north from Eagle Bridge, NY
|Ghosts sometimes do cast a reflection...
|Cornfield, barn, trees, engine - all fading, evocative, beautiful.
|Only another unfortunately parked vehicle spoils the illusion of 1950s railroading, including one of the last (if not THE last) crossing sign of this type in the country.
|Mirrored Streaks of Weathering - Heading back to the Junction, and finishing up for the day.
I hope you've enjoyed this little portal into the past - and that it's inspired you to keep your eyes open, especially during this time of year. You may find a few happy hauntings of your own. And if you do, I hope you'll share them here . . . I'm always looking for new opportunities for a little time travel . . .
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