Seattle Railroad Trains Click on thumbnail to enlarge image, view caption and use slideshow options. To return to this page click on the image background My photography in Seattle has included images of railroads and trains concentrating on detail rather than the broader view. Here, Sound Transit’s “Sounder” afternoon commuter trains will soon be heading south to Tacoma and Lakewood after boarding passengers at nearby King Street Station. The Safeco Field baseball stadium and a maintenance building stand beyond.. AMTRAK operate the long distance twin-deck “Empire Builder” to Chicago and the “Coast Starlight” to Los Angeles. Their “Cascades” services link Vancouver, Canada, with Eugene in South Oregon using Spanish-built “Talgo” tilting trains.Another Sounder train stands against a skyline south-east of the city centre. The usual urban America street grid enmeshes the rail tracks close to Seattle’s Elliott Bay shoreline. Safe islands on a grade crossing were used in Images 1 – 3 whilst public roads and sidewalks accessed the remainder. King Street station dates from 1906 and has recently seen completion of extensive restoration work to remove the dire interior modernisation applied some fifty years later. The now pristine original plasterwork and mosaic floors plus the installation of steam era styled high backed wooden bench seating enhance an architecturally fine passenger hall.This angled frontal view reflects a long standing style in railway photography. This worked very well in steam days when large driving wheels and their associated rod machinery were important elements in a composition. Here, it also shows the notched profile of the double-decked passenger coaches. The brown and white livery relates to advertising for the ‘Orca’ electronic card for travel on all Sound Transit rail, light rail and express buses operated by the Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority.A stretch of dirt road between industrial buildings and the railroad tracks provided close access and a range of subject matter varied in geometry and colour. The triple blue wave form on the nose of the Sounder locomotive runs the length of the train. Commuter services run north from Seattle to Everett and south to Tacoma and Lakewood. The rusting flatbed freight truck and interlink wire fencing provided foreground contrast.A slow-moving container train included this slightly more creative than usual imagery that’s nevertheless usually unwelcome on any surface. I’ve seen some brilliant pieces executed in both official sites and unofficially in derelict industrial buildings and elsewhere. One of the former I know offered a meeting place on Sundays where part of the ‘canvases’ were the blind arches in a railway viaduct and walls of abandoned buildings. The latter have recently been demolished and the graffiti artists’ future access is uncertain.This was very much a response to the line, shape, pattern, colour, texture and typography inherent in the subject matter. An image without the vandalising scribble and the fence would have been preferable: Image 02 includes an opposing and more distant view of this truck. Container dock cranes formed a high background to this area of railroad tracks, buildings and freight trains. Photographs of some of them are in the ‘Structures’ galleries.I’d been looking for images where freight car ends bracketed a fragment from their background and this was the best to emerge. The ends of two flatbed cars in a set are carried on a single truck particularly to enable pairs of double-stacked freight containers to be carried within the wheelbases. The influence of and continued liking for this shape dates from schoolboy use of a basic Ilford box camera using 120 black and white film; long unused, it rests stored in its brown canvas shoulder-strapped case.The Soo Line Railroad, originally the Minneapolis, St.Paul & Sault Ste. Marie Railway (Sault pronounced Soo) became a subsidiary of the Canadian Pacific Railway operating into the northern USA. The combination of the flow pattern, rusting steel and graphics appealed. The quoted roof hatches and, I think, bottom doors might give clues to possible cargoes and aid speculation on the pattern’s creation. The silhouetted leaf forms were unavoidable on a train parked without a locomotive and the prospect of movement to an open foreground.At the same site the gap between two covered hopper cars framed fragments of a locomotive and a façade detail from the building beyond. I liked the geometric shapes created and the layering of colours into the composition, but a fence-free foreground would have been preferable.An unfenced highway and sidewalk ran parallel to the tracks and this workshop. A square crop seemed a better image than the original 35mm format. Railway workshops and related sites often provide intriguing collections of related parts, tools and equipment in random and transitory ‘still life’ groups.