On a recent visit to my parents hometown I discovered these two abandoned rail cars on a spur track just outside of town. I honestly don't remember ever seeing them although I was assured that they have been sitting here now for many years. At one point Hartwell had a thriving rail operation and as a child I loved watching the small switch engines sort the various rail cars into a train. Sadly all of this is gone now and the tracks have either been pulled up or have been overrun by tall grasses and weeds. And yet here these two cars sit and serve as a reminder of a bygone time.
Time and nature are beginning to take back the landscape. Paint is peeling and in some areas looks like the crackle of an old masters painting. I was quite surprised to discover the interior of the passenger car was in decent condition though a complete restoration would definitely take a little work and time. The windows had completely glazed over with a milky coating that obscured any views to the outside. Overhead the ceiling was beginning to fall apart but the original fabric on the benches was still intact.
Down track from the old rail cars, the original rail yard is completely overgrown. Abandoned rail switches are consumed by the spreading grasses and the once active loading docks are boarded up. Industry, such as this, comes and goes in small towns. Over time the thriving commerce that brought the trains in the first place changed, replaced by cheaper and more expedient options such as trucks. Sad really, but this is what progress often dictates especially in small rural towns where the margins of profit are often slim. I for one reflect often on my childhood days spent wandering around this old yard climbing on the engines and sneaking into the boxcars. I can distinctly remember the particular smells of the sacks of grain and cotton bales wrapped in burlap and girded by large metal straps. It was always busy and it was inevitable that you had to wait at the crossings in town as the trains moved cars back and forth. The memories of such places become ingrained in the pantheon of our experiences and I suppose this is why I like to photograph them. Now dormant and quiet, the sights, sounds, and smells are still there. Abandoned. But remembered.
Thanks for stopping by today. RHC