Below is a short, great overview video from Vimeo, of a discussion held in New York, with Christopher Brown, author of the excellent book: Still Standing: A Century of Urban Train Station Design regarding the notion of what civic life is in a democratically-inspired region/nation and its relationship to public life, transit, and political power.
As High-speed rail is on peoples’ minds in the United States, catching up with Europe and Asia, and South America as far as attention to railroads, is an interesting development. Most decidedly, it is about politics, money, and power. The way the people of power see themselves on the global stage, from the 16th century forward, has become an important aspect of how we are all, as citizens of the phenomenon of nationhood, see ourselves.
Ultimately, it is, as the video states, about how people may move between places in comfort, safety, speed, and enjoyment.
Richard Steinheimer (1929-) is considered one of the world’s greatest railroad photographers from the United States. Railroad photographers, artists, and videographers are the main people who have allowed our memories to be kept alive, and to be remembered through generations, of steam locomotives, steam trains and the reminiscing of the days when steam-driven trains were the major form of transportation on land.
He started his photographic career in 1945, when one of the most illustrious and powerful railroad companies–the Southern Pacific Railroad, ran their trains past his home. In 2004, he was diagnosed with Alzheimers disease and in 2007, suffered a stroke. His photography will remain in our heart/minds to remind us of the glory of American steam.
Southern Pacific 4194 at Night, Glendale Station, California 1950