Period Piece

The Alco RS2 in Lehigh Valley paint probably was the first thing you noticed about this image. But I see in this a nice period piece.

The grass growing between the tracks in the yard in Sayre, Pennsylvania, on July 24, 1973, says something about the lack of funds to do weed spraying.

Then again, maybe the railroad didn’t think grass and weeds growing in a yard was any big deal.

I also noticed the buildings across the street, which signify the type of working class neighborhoods that sprung up around railroad facilities or any other type of industrial facility.

Generations of railroads workers lived in those houses and patronized the stores, diners and taverns housed in commercial buildings in those neighborhoods.

Most of the tracks in this view appear empty although there may be cars out of view to the right or left.

Whatever the case, this suggests the state of railroads in the 1970s that would lead to the creation of Conrail just under two years after this image was made.

Lehigh Valley was among the bankrupt railroads folded into Conrail.

The story of the declining industrial base of the Northeast has been told many times and can be seen in its own way here.

Yet engine 213 goes about its business on this summer day because there are still cars to switch and trains to run even if there aren’t as many of them as their used to be here.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

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