Fading Glory #14871

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The Story

In the very last light of day, this Strasburg Railroad steam train in sunset with vintage wooden freight cars heads homeward into the warm and colorful western sunset. The red sun glints off the rails and lights the wood siding of the cars, while the sky is filled with quickly changing and vanishing blues and pink. The locomotive smoke lights up from behind in the same way, adding to that sunset sky. At the end of these westbound rails lie the station and locomotive shop where this locomotive will be tended to by the evening shop hostlers. It’s their job to make it ready to go to work again the next day.

If you use your imagination viewing this image, time travel is indeed possible and you’re witnessing this train heading home for the day in the year 1908. The vintage wooden freight cars are lettered for the period, like the Maryland & Pennsylvania boxcar closest in the frame. The other freight cars and the old steam locomotive are also from the turn of the last century.

On this day, I was with a group of photographers and steam train railroading enthusiasts who love the living history of old railroads in action. We spent an entire day photographing up and down the line with this steam train pulling vintage cars, starting in the dark just before sunrise on a deep cold morning of late October. This train with a string of vintage railroad cars in sunset was taken as one of the last frames of a long day in the cold. It was great to have such a welcoming warmth and wonderful color from a sunset sky after a long satisfying day of shooting.

The sky can really enhance any picture, particularly a railroad shot. Would you like to see another Strasburg Railroad steam-powered train working at the crack of dawn instead of the sunset sky? There are some dramatic pictures of running at dawn in Black Gold #14845 or Smoke At Dawn #14866.

There’s plenty more information about this old fashioned railroading throwback on the Strasburg Railroad website. It shows special event schedules and regular tourist runs too.

Location: Strasburg, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Photo and text © Andrew Dierks

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