Iron Horses
July 22, 2014 8:13 AM   Subscribe

Iron, Steam and Coal. Photographer Matthew Malkiewicz captures the timeless beauty of the steam locomotive and steam trains - the steam, the tracks, the folks who run them and just the folks who love them. (Via Petapixel)
posted by caddis (4 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I organized an outing for a very hard working neuroscience lab a few years back that took the steam train along the Severn in the West Midlands. One of the lab members was a post-doc from China who brought two visiting Chinese friends with him. At the end of the day after the train ride I was lamely trying to make conversation when I asked them what they thought of riding on a steam train. They looked at me like I was crazy and said "This is a regular train where we are from".
posted by srboisvert at 8:54 AM on July 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

These images are magnificent. It's like the Holy Grail of steam train photography. I could spend all day on this site.

I'm not a railfan, so I couldn't tell you about the differences between models, or how train tracks are arranged, but there's something powerfully compelling about trains, steam trains in particular. Look at these beautiful machines. There must have been a conductor or an engineer or a lowly track layer somewhere in my heritage, the same way I can trace my interests in blacksmithing and metalwork to one of my most recent direct ancestors.

Then again there's something nigh-spiritual about steam trains. The sound of distant trains reminds me of the feeling I got as a kid looking up at airplanes, before my first plane journey, and wondering where people were going. Even though I associate trains with not only pastoral scenes, but also with the genocide of Native peoples and the ending of long-held ways of living, so there's that. It's not all nostalgia and romanticizing.
posted by quiet earth at 11:10 AM on July 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Steam locomotives are alive. See my profile for details.
posted by pjern at 11:47 AM on July 22, 2014

One day maybe we'll have fusion-fired steam locomotives. The coal/oil/wood fired ones are so dirty, but so beautiful. Clean steam. You heard it here first.
posted by klanawa at 6:08 PM on July 22, 2014

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