November 22, 2017. Colfax Train Depot.
I have always loved train travel. The idea of a traveling community that passes through landscapes, towns, and cities in stasis. On this day, one of the biggest travel days of the calandar, I was in stasis in an important railway town on the transcontinental railway, Camp 20. Later to become Illinoistown and later renamed for the Speaker of the House, Schuyler Colfax by then Governor Leland Stanford.
The only statue in existence of Schuyler Colfax, later to be Vice President under Grant. Stanford named the town after him after a brief visit by Colfax. At the Southern Pacific Passenger Depot.
The east bound passanger train from Sacramento, worked it’s way up the valley into the station. The California Zephyr was running a little late. I walked over to my car and headed out towards Highway 174 to the Historical Viewpoint for Cape Horn. I waited and down below, the Zephyr passed and soon, on the distant hill, the train worked it’s way up the mountain and started up the grade towards the Cape Horn cut, high above the North Fork of the American River. The cars rounding the horn and disappearing from sight. I returned to the train depot to start working my Colfax sketch.
I was sitting on a bench at the restored Southern Pacific passenger depot platform as the westbound California Zephyr worked itself down from the heights of the Sierra Nevada, on it’s way to Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area. The train, now being headed by two underwhelming Amtrak diesels, paused long enough for passengers to embark and disembark, as relatives greeted or waved goodbye to those on the platform. And I was just in limbo, not on the train but wanting to be there, as the cars rocked gentle on the steel rails.
Eastbound California Zephyr rolling into Colfax station on it’s way to it’s final destination of Chicago. The old Southern Pacific passenger depot is on the left.