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Edition #158, September 15, 2011

A Pump on the Main

Photographer: Paul Hoffmann

                                                                            Photo by Paul Hoffmann

A Pump on the Main

On a late winter night in March, 2010, I was at the Naperville Amtrak/Metra station where I live in west suburban Chicago, IL.  I was watching and photographing the night time action.  This night was as busy as any other.  It was so busy an eastbound train was waiting just west of the station for its window to continue east.  I was excited after he had passed to hear of an eastbound intermodal “Z” train waiting behind him in Aurora.  Just after the “Z” train passed, an outbound Metra commuter train passed it in the opposite direction having left Chicago 40 minutes earlier.  Since it was an express train, it wasn’t going to stop at the station.  As it zipped through the station at track speed, a flutter of paper was violently thrown around.  I thought it was garbage that had been revealed as the last of the winter’s snow melted.  Just a few minutes later, the East End dispatcher came on the radio to alert the eastbound “Z” train to stop for inspection and that the FBI would be there to investigate.  As it turned out, the Intermodal train was broken into while it was stopped in Aurora waiting for its turn east upon the end of the commuter rush. 

The next day, I was shooting the same afternoon rush, only this time, before sunset.  It was a strange sight, indeed, to see a women’s shoe laying on the tracks.  Most people probably didn’t even notice.  If they did notice, they surely wouldn’t have a clue why a women’s shoe was laying on the tracks.  But I knew!

Paul Hoffmann
Naperville, IL 

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Revised: 08/14/11 18:15:50 -0400