We spent two nights in Ogden, UT in order to have plenty of time to visit Golden Spike National Monument. Ogden is just north of Salt Lake City, a good-sized town but not as huge as Salt Lake City. Ogden has a rich railroad heritage, once known as a major passenger railroad junction due to its location along major east–west and north–south routes, prompting the local chamber of commerce to adopt the motto, “You can’t get anywhere without coming to Ogden.”
Ogden’s Union Station houses a large collection of historical locomotives in an outdoor display area, plus a museum full of historical artifacts in a space inside the museum. Located within the museum is one of the original “Golden Spikes” complete with its own Diebold vault.
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!
I mentioned this find in the previous post, and here are a few photos. The rotunda design reminds me a bit of the station in Hamlet, NC but that station is much larger. This station now houses the public library. I like to see these old stations repurposed and maintained as they should be, respecting their history.
There are rail lines all over rural South Carolina, and on our backroads travels we often find them paralleling the highway. Every time we go through a small town, we look for a likely spot for a train station. Many of them are long disappeared, but occasionally we come across one. As we passed through the town of Kline, SC we came across this old depot. Still in pretty good condition but could use a little TLC.
I’ve written previously about how Kathy & I like to seek out train stations on our travels through different areas. I hadn’t paid too much attention to train stations when we planned this trip to Florida, but almost by happy accident I realized that southern Georgia and Florida contain many examples of train stations. Here more so than in other states they seem to generally be in pretty good shape, many of them currently used as museums, social halls or offices.
While we were visiting the station in Avon Park, a volunteer at the museum there told us that the Silver Star passenger train passes through there daily, and that it would be there within the hour. He also mentioned that there is a station in Sebring that hadn’t come up on my search, even though the Sebring station is an active Amtrak station.
While we were in Avon Park, a CSX freight train came through, then we drove to the Sebring station in time to catch the Amtrak train making its stop there. We aren’t usually fortunate enough to actually see trains while we are at these stations, so to catch two on the same day was a real treat!
It’s not exactly an obsession, but one of the things I look for when we travel (other than lighthouses and covered bridges) is train stations. They are generally very easy to spot, as their architecture tends to be quite unique. They are usually, but not always, located next to railroad tracks. Sometimes they are still active passenger depots, but more often than not have been converted to offices, civic centers or meeting halls. I’ve seen some that are police stations, city halls and even restaurants. Most heartbreaking for me is when I see one in disrepair. It takes a lot of money to keep these places up, but they are an important part of history and I love to see them being used and maintained.
Kathy & I make frequent trips to Marion, NC to visit our friends at Bruce’s Fabulous Foods on Main Street in Marion. We stumbled on Bruce’s a few years ago and have been making regular visits ever since. This past Saturday we made our most recent pilgrimage.
I’ve had an ongoing love for train stations and enjoy photographing them. Not sure exactly why, but I do. We often plan trips around train stations just to check them out.
The station in Marion is one we had visited before, but with a new camera to play with it was time to stop by again! The light was a little tough and we were hungry, so we didn’t spend a lot of time but I got a few shots.