Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Traveling by Train

This is a train of molten sulfur, motionless, but soon to head south towards perhaps a huge paper mill in South Carolina. According to wikipedia: "Principal uses for the acid include ore processing, fertilizer manufacturing, oil refining, wastewater processing, and chemical synthesis."

These a two trains potentially holding hundreds of people are waiting to get somewhere. The one in the foregound is nearly 90 minutes late, heading towards downtown Richmond and eventually Newport News. The other is over two hours late. Why? There is one usable track between the downtown Richmond station, over five miles away, and this spot here. It is winding and has a grade. Despite two passenger trains holding hundreds of people both being scheduled, the heavy train of molten sulfur was allowed to travel up the grade at between 5-15 mph, and then prompty sat (as shown in the previous photo) in the way of everything for at least 30 minutes. All of the decisions were made by CSX corporation, the private freight railroad that owns all of this track. Similar scenarios like this are repeated daily across the entire United States, as the profit interests of such railroads trample any consideration for thousands who dare try to travel by train on crippled Amtrak.

This is the northbound Amtrak train, headed all the way to Boston, already two hours late.

Monday, May 21, 2007

71 Photos of Richmond, Virginia

75 Photos of Richmond, ordered geographically in clockwise motion. Starting on Chamberlyne Avenue, through the North side of town (Highland Park,) into the East (Church Hill,) to the South, back towards the center, and a little out on the West End. My effort is to capture the daily life of the working class in Richmond.

Taking a break.

Housing for the working class can be so dismal: A, B, C, D.

Despite the appearance, some guys were working on a car in there.

There's some kids playing here, but it's hard to see without enlarging the photo.

These two photos are of Mosby Court, a public housing complex above the Richmond City Jail, courthouse, and and some light industry. There's 458 units of housing here. I've just read another blog of a nearby resident who purchased an old house (there's plenty) and is refurbishing it. He has a post on Mosby Court as well, and casually mentions that owing to problems, it - 458 units of scarce, affordable housing - should simply be demolished and replaced with single-family homes. Such homes would obviously hold far fewer people, and would be much more expensive to own or rent. How callous.

"Marketplace #14"

This block looks hideous so I thought it would be fair to show one building being rebuilt. That Tyvek is $150-$200 a roll!

Siding installation.

Moody's Community Ma_ _ ?

Private apartments, sealed up. They actually look to be in quite good condition (siding seems fairly new, along with windows.)

A telephoto from atop the large railroad trestle near the James River in Richmond. The traffic now is drastically reduced from the days when the railroad had the gall to build this several mile long, well-built, elevated trestle.

How many other cities have mobile homes in them? The giant warehouse complex in the backround appears to be unused; perhaps it is to be for tobacco and requires little labor or transportation.

Baseball field.

These are all photos of a scrap yard at the end of Chamberlyne Avenue in Richmond. Alot of empty truck trailers were being cut up and shipped out, but all sorts of metal, including scrounged metal, is evidently processed.

This is the entrace to Lowe's. Every morning guys gather around here, sitting on the ledge, while contractors and others who need day labor pick and choose. A temp agency around the corner is little different. I've seen a huge line of people standing outside there at dawn hoping for work. Many are homeless, and the jobs offer little.