Sunday, July 1, 2007

Saying Goodbye To An Old Friend

Q Tower at Hyndman, Pennsylvania.

When I was in my early days as a camera totin' idiot, I photographed trains exclusively. And my favorite hang out was at the Q. A small, two-story interlocking tower, half a mile below Hyndman. Twenty to thirty trains a day pounded through Hyndman. What was the big deal? Hyndman sat at the bottom of Sand Patch Grade and heavy westbound trains would stop there to add power for the run up the mountain.

CSX train R-353 has the Hyndman Helpers on the head end as it makes it's run at Sand Patch Grade.

For hours sometimes I'd hang out in the tower, talking to whichever operator was on duty. Shooting the breeze about most anything but trains. Railroaders are a funny bunch; many of them don't like to talk about trains, so you talk about hunting, fishing, or sports.

As a photographer, I cut my teeth here. I even got my first helper ride here; in the spring of 1985. The ride was unbelievable, the sound was deafening. What a blast!

When I wasn't photographing trains I swam in the creek, or waded the creek fishing for trout.

Today, it's all gone. The helpers are added in Cumberland, a dozen miles to the southeast. All train movement through Hyndman is controlled by the dispatcher in Jacksonville, Florida. No more friendly operators to tell you what train was coming. No more helper engineers to ride up the hill with. Time marched on, and took my old friend with it.

One last view of Q Tower in a happier time.

Photo from the 'Bullsheet'

Goodbye, my old friend.

1 comment:

Ann said...

Great post! The picture from Sunday turned out very nice even wtih out your "old friend" there.