|Back To The Future by John Fasulo|
| A number of years ago, I spent a lot of time in Central New York State. My girlfriend at the time was a student at Cortland, and I was there on a lot of weekends. One early Fall day, we took a drive into the country side going no where special. The air was crisp and the trees were just starting to turn color. In Livonia, I saw what I thought to be a fire; smoke was coming from behind a building. Turning the corner, I was surprised to see a steam engine sitting on a siding with steam up. A nearby sign and the name on the tender said, "Livonia Avon & lakeville RR. We parked and I got out the camera. It was early and there was no one around, but clearly someone was tending to this hissing beast. I snap a few pictures and before long, the engineer came out of the maintenance shed. He nodded hello and went about his chores oiling and greasing the engines driving rods and various fittings.
I took a few shots of him as he worked. Climbing onto the front of the engine, he proceeded to lift an electric fan from on top of the stack. As he desended from the engine I snapped another shot. We spoke for awhile and he asked me if I wanted to take a look in the cab. It was there that I took another shot of him, this one more of a portrait. After awhile, I said goodbye and we continued on our drive through the western New York countryside.
The following week when I developed the film from that day, I held the still wet film up to the darkroom light. I had two photos that stood out. The image from the cab of number 38 and the photo of the engineer coming off the front of number 38 were timeless photographs; two of the most memorable photographs that I've taken over the years.
Next week I'm going back to Livonia. Number 38 is gone, sold to a railroad in the south and in need of restoration. Kevin, the engineer, is still working for the L, A & L . I'd like to do another shot of him in the cab of an engine, although this time it will be a diesel.
We are older now, but both of us still have a passion for trains; Kevin runs them and I photograph them. Steam is harder to find, and certainly long gone from main line operations. But, as time moves on, even the common diesel that replaced steam has become special.
Now with security more prevalent on the class one roads, branch lines and smaller independent railroads afford great possibilities for photography. Have to go, I hear an Alco southbound from Avon.
|Engineer Kevin McGarvy 1974|
|Engineer Kevin McGarvy 10/21/06
It was a special day to have reunited with Kevin McGarvey after all of these years. Kevin is a little older, a little heavier and a bit more grey. He's now the CMO of the Livonia Avon & lakeville RR. The line runs all Alcos and one of them was a unit built in 1949, 57 years ago and still running strong.
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