Monday, January 28, 2008

Albuquerque Railyard

My friends, Raine and Leighanna went to this site back in August. When I saw the images they posted in their blogs from their photo shoot of this old railyard, I fell in love with it. Subsequently, Raine had made several more trips and with each trip she made, I ached even more to go, but timing didn't offer a chance for me until this weekend.
It is hautingly beautiful. When they had gone, the gate to get in was kept locked and there was a security gaurd for the site. Yesterday I went with Raine and Leau; the gate was wide open (we did have permission to be there, though) and there were several homeless men and their dogs taking up residence there. And bullet casings on the ground (people stil see this as the "Wild West"). There were also some other curious people wandering around. Still, though, the property is huge and there are three large buildings with several smaller, auxillary ones.
Raine has since become involved with the folks from the Wheels Museum as I think that the ten year plus dream to renovate and make this site an active commercial site again is starting to take wing. For a glimpse of what it is to become, click on this link. Articles on trying to get this project up and running have been going on for quite a few years. I found some dating back at least 8 years ago (announcing this 'new' project).
You can feel the energy from a century ago within the largest building which is the first shot you see posted here of the exterior. The last shot is within the interior of that building (you can see a homeless man in the bottom left corner of the image). It is as though the workers were still there servicing the trains, keeping things on 'track', loading and unloading the cargo. These were not passenger trains. Even the smell of the kreosote and deisel oil permeates your clothing! Well, it did mine, anyway and I had to launder everything I wore after I got home!
I tried to research who the architect was as I think the design is simple genius. It is a successful meld of art and function; from the exterior lines of the building whose profile mimicks the line of a train, to the interior use of so many glass panes to let the light in. The large steel spans that repeat are reminiscent of Greek columns. It really is quite breathtaking even in its current state of deterioration.
It is tempting to just take photos that exclude the current spray art imposed on the building. It does jar the senses a bit to see this seemingly permanent imposition on these old glass panes. I suppose when the rennovation takes place, all that will change. I included two shots of the graffiti as the artists who did these knew what effect it would have with the color on the glass with the light passing through it.
I wonder why the architect chose to use so much glass and were these glass panes random patterns of color in its heydey? Or, were they all celar? Why are some of them colored? And, why shades of green (for the most part)? So many questions came up in mind...I researched the site for the Burlington Nothern Santa Fe Railroad (who is the company from which this railyard came from)and it was no help to me (but if you're looking for employment with them, the site is geared for that!).
One of the buildings on the property (it was locked up thank goodness) which Raine tells me is in the best condition of them all, will become the installation site for the Cradle Project scheduled for this June. If I can ever get mine done, I will have an entry in that project too.
If you go to Raine's blog to check out what she has posted on this railyard (and I encourage you to do so). She has multiple postings, so when you go to her blog, type in "railyard" on the search engine for the blog and it will provide you with all of her posts. Not only does she have photos, but she has created digital photo collages using images from the railyard and from some glass negatives from the turn of the 20th century. And her images are just as hauntingly beautiful as the building itself.


Regina said...

Wow - what a story! Some of the shots look a little art deco. It must feel somewhat ghostly in there - at least I think it would to me. And it appears that visiting it on a sunny day would be a must. Great shots - it's interesting to see how differently you and Raine see the place.

&rew said...

I love that picture of what it looked like to me, four tubes with stripes. The colors are just stunning. And the story is very fascinating - thanks for sharing. 7rew

killbox said...

Beautiful, Ive been there several times, its so big and so full of history, and echos of the past.

I collect some photos on flickr under Killbox, and help maintain a UrbanExploring group on LJ


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