The Strange Appeal of Disused Railroads

38 thoughts on “The Strange Appeal of Disused Railroads”

  1. What a wonderful place to stop and explore. I love trains and am a sucker for nostalgia. So listen, be sure to book passage for two, and I’ll join you for tea and maybe a game of gin rummy. 🙂

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    1. Aye aye, you be the first in my list, love! What’s better than summery cocktails and a few gambles along the way? xx

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  2. Nice photos of this fascinating place. And thanks for including the old advertisements. Considering that all Rip van Winkle did was sleep for twenty years, it’s a bit ironic that they had a dinner train called the Rip van Winkle Flyer.
    Even the name Arkville makes the place sound old, like from the time of Noah’s Ark.

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    1. Thank you! Hah, good one. To think that sleeping for 20 years can earn you fame apart from escaping a nagging wife. Rip did well.
      Well put about the name of the town. It is one of those archaic little villages that time has left behind.

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  3. Lovely post with great pics. The obsolescence of railroads in the US was more intentional than mere happenstance or even of the direct result of technological advances. Just look at our existing commuter rail system (smh) and those of industrious nations overseas. The technology developed and grew–clean, spacious, luxurious (in some cases), fast, and punctual–but we chose not to keep up. We had a robust network that we allowed to deteriorate. We chose not to invest. Thinking back to all the novels and films, with settings on or around or involving a train, it saddens me to see these relics. It’s a reminder of missed opportunities. The US is a very, very large country that is exceedingly well suited for this mode of transportation, if only it was modernized…and embraced.

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    1. Thank you Justin. It is a shame that the railroads have been left behind to languish instead of serving those who truly enjoy the charm of old-world rail cars. I did not know that they were phased out intentionally. All they do now is provide a fraction of their erstwhile charm to eager tourists. Your expression — missed opportunities — possibly just about captures it.

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  4. A lot of disused railway lines in Europe have been re-purposed as cycling tracks. I, of course, heartily endorse this but they tend to remove all trace of their former use. Thank you for yet another beautifully illustrated tale. Have you by chance seen any of Michael Portillo’s Great Railway Journeys series in the States? I’m a sucker for them.

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    1. Thank you Sheree. I think it is a good idea for them to be repurposed. We did end up at one last summer. It was at the Jim Thorpe National Park and I was quite taken with the beauty of it, where cyclists and walkers soaked in the the quiet of the tracks.
      I am all for such recommendations. We love most travel shows, and since this promises rail journeys through the States, I am all for it. Cheers! xx

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    2. As usual my battiness precedes me, but we have watched Portillo quite a few times — his British rail journeys! I just looked him up and realised it 🙂

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      1. One of my favourite programmes. I particularly enjoy the European trips where he throws himself into local events with much gusto.

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      2. We have not watched the European journeys of his yet. We shall start soon. Which are your other favourite travel shows? Just to know if I am missing out on many. xx

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  5. It’s wonderful to read your posts about the railways and how they were such a vital part of traveling in the U.S. Lex and I have often wished we could have been travelers in the 1920’s and booked a trip with an overnighter and dined in the dining car. I suppose we are romantics when it comes to the past but that photo of the Rip Van Winkle Flyer dinner train is irresistible! – Neek

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    1. Thank you Neek. You would find us two in one of the carriages, Adi moaning a bit about the length of the journey, though I believe he could be persuaded to forget it with a few drams of whisky. The Rip Van Winkle train does look tempting – like it’s stepped out from an era that would have been opulent, in the truest sense of the term. We missed the boat with the 20’s, but who knows, we might have lived through it (even though I find the concept of being born over and over again a tad bit dubious). But it does not hurt to imagine. 🙂 xx

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  6. Wow! Reading your post was a beautiful nostalgic experience. I really enjoyed how you interjected bits of history about the railroad along with those flyers and then brought us back to modern times with your beautiful pictures. It is so nice that you took some time to explore on your own. Thanks for sharing this beautiful experience. I love old, abandoned places too. We recently moved to New England so I will have a chance to explore a new place now 🙂

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    1. Cheers Alana. You are kind. New England should be rife with such treasures, small beautiful places that will give you so many stories at one go. Have fun exploring it bit by bit. xx

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      1. Yes, I am excited and I love it here so far. Just a few moments ago I went to the grocery store looking for coffee. I was going to get the Starbuck’s Pike Place Roast (I am originally from Seattle, WA) but then I saw a Blueberry Pie roast and I went for that instead. I just made myself an americano and it tastes amazing with no cream and sugar necessary!

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      2. Blueberry Pie Roast coffee. My, that sounds out of this world! Don’t go making me dizzy with envy. I remember that you are from Seattle. Well, may New England bring more and more such beauties your way. xx

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  7. What a fascinating place to find. I can really see how such a find got the imaginative juices flowing – waving bears in the woods, and that spooky feeling. Isn’t it strange that our moods can switch so suddenly seemingly without cause? That too is fascinating. But should always be heeded I think. I too would’ve been running!

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    1. You get me 🙂 I think these are the treasures of travelling. Unaccounted for places that suddenly pop up along the way and thrill you to bits! Thanks Tracey. xx

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  8. Imagination is a double edged sword …. the heightening of the senses magnified by the minds eye viewing things we cannot see, things we cannot touch, things we have made up or maybe we have not. I would have run – like winged Mercury I would have run! But fortunately instead I am able to enjoy this eerie, evocative place through the power of your prose and your fantastical pictures. Vintage DD, vintage X

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    1. Now how have you been? Your presence has been missed on the world wide web. Thank you for your ever kind and lovely words, Osyth! 🙂 xx

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      1. I’ve been fine but preoccupied with all the wrong things in one sense. By which I mean, writing hasn’t gotten a look in. My husband declared last night that he must ‘make the space for my words’ so I guess you can watch this space because it seems the hounds are bearing down! Xx

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      2. That is one sweet declaration. I hope you get to slip in some writing in between, but preoccupation is necessarily good unless it is making way for stress. So carry on with your busy-bee days of summer, my lovely 🙂 xx

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  9. Beautiful, written. Your lyrical descriptions mean it is akways such a pleasure to visit your blog! And don’t be shamed of that weird feeling you described in the carriages. Coincidentally, I felt similarly when I visited an abandoned railway stop with derelict carriages at Linville recently.
    forestwoodfolkart.wordpress.com/2018/03/12/moore-meanderings-at-linville/ if you want to have a read.

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    1. Thank you Amanda and for the link too. I will stop by yours in a while. This thing of feeling unnerved I think says a lot about the imagination of humans. The mind is a powerful tool 🙂 xx

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      1. Imagination, you are right, is extremely powerful. It can convince some of us to feel unduly concerned at times when there is no real prospect of danger. I recently heard that a report that is a relict of our Neanderthal past that we have a brain focused on cataclysmic events so that we can be prepared to deal with the worst and find a way to survive. Not entirely always appropriate in modern life but it has been useful in the past and in those unfortunate circumstances some of us find ourselves in such as natural disasters.

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      2. Sounds just about right. Makes me think of the term, ‘primal fear’, but I might be off the charts here.

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  10. Love your ‘abandoned’ photos. It certainly has that middle of nowhere feel to it, and thank you for solving the Rip mystery- I shall sleep better at nights now. 🙂 🙂 I can understand you getting spooked too. Have a great weekend!

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    1. Thank you, Jo. I never thought of landing up in Rip land one day! I can be plain silly at times. A feeling created by an overwrought imagination, but I never linger.
      You have a fun weekend too 🙂 xx

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  11. I can’t believe these beauties are just sitting there. Some of them are gorgeous. Nostalgia has is a powerful draw, but I bet they’ve always been beautiful. When my son was young, we watched countless hours of Thomas the Train, so my appreciation for old locomotives is strengthened with a double dose of nostalgia. I bet they’d make great homes if someone decided to convert them. 💜

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    1. You are right. In the case of rail travel, the trains in the old days outstripped our modern ones by far. Luxury truly meant something then, I suppose. And as for Thomas the Train, I was inducted into it by the nephew who was a firm fan 🙂 xx

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