Kathy & I like to seek out train stations during our travels, especially ones that appear to be historically significant or that have some amount of architectural uniqueness. That’s what took us to Fairbury, Nebraska on our recent trip.
When I photograph these train stations, they are usually locked up tight, so I mostly walk around the outside, documenting interesting features and taking overviews of the building and surroundings. Since most of these stations are in fairly busy towns I get my usual curious looks from passersby, but for the most part no one pays any attention to me.
The station in Fairbury houses a museum, but I knew when we were on our way there that – even if the museum wasn’t observing a Covid-related closure – that we would arrive well after their normal business hours. But as we pulled up, a good 30 minutes after closing time, a woman was coming out of the building on the opposite end of where I parked. I got out and started my usual walking around. The woman drove down to the end of the building where I had parked. I said hello and told her – as if she hadn’t made the assumption – that I was just a train station buff out to take a few photos. Then she said, “would you like to see the inside?” Uhhh, sure (it didn’t take me that long to say yes)!
As it turns out they were having some kind of meeting there that evening, and she had been there to make sure things were set up. With evidently nothing else to do she talked to me and Kathy for about 30 minutes while I wandered through and took a few pictures. She told us that a local train club was in the process of building a model train layout in one of the upstairs rooms and apologized for that room being locked, but otherwise I had the run of the place.
Not wanting to overstay our welcome and knowing that we still had several hours of driving left, we politely said our thanks and goodbyes, and headed off for the rest of our adventure. It was a special and unexpected treat to be able to get inside this old station, if only for a few minutes!