At dusk, with a clear sky and cold temperatures, I photographed this train passing through Brighton. The red flashing lights on the crossing gates reflected off of the moving cars; some carrying containers with “China” stenciled on them, some empty flatbeds, and many with graffiti scrawled with spray paint.
I never gave trains passing through Brighton much thought until my mom moved to town in the early 1990s. ”Where are the trains?” she asked soon after settling here. She had heard them from the patio of her new apartment. I drove to the crossing and showed her where the loud horns blared and the tracks rumbled, a half mile away.
She told me about her early years in towns on the main rail lines of northern Illinois, lines that brought cattle to the Chicago stockyards and virtually everything else moving to points east. Billowing steam announced their arrival to everyone’s delight as they brought goods, new faces, and newspapers from big cities in her pre-radio years.
I’m more aware of trains passing through town now. I hear them approaching and go to the tracks whenever I can.