Everybody likes trains, right? Even sad, rusting ones, stripped for spare parts, living out their days in the midst of some derelict, overgrown terrain at the periphery of a provincial rail yard.
This one’s a pretty well known location, but surprisingly un-graffitied for the number of times it’s been visited and photographed and pawed over. Maybe the spectre of these onetime roaring behemoths muscling trains full of Belgian stuff down the rails of North-Western Europe takes away people’s desire to do vandalous things, or maybe most graffiti artists are young men, and all guys have a soft spot for locomotives. It’s just one of those things. Don’t ask.
Even the maintenance shed is an oasis of rot – although, judging by the condition of the roads in the area, that’s not so extraordinary. Some of those potholes must have been Belgian attempts to re-live the lost grandeur of lake Victoria and the rest of their ill-conceived African colonial adventures. And the weather – I’d spent all afternoon chewing my fingernails at the prospect of a gigantic high-level cirrus tent drenching just that particular patch of land in the usual grey, washed out colors of a cloudy European spring day. All the way over there, I kept mashing on the local weather report button of my GPS, growing ever-more frustrated at the rainy dark sky icon that kept reloading.
But walking down a manure-covered (!) slope, through underbrush and broken bottles was worth it, to have the decaying diesel monsters pop up before me through the twigs and leaves – in the surprisingly spontaneous golden evening sun.
I’m told the Germans ship all their derelict trains off to the East somewhere, out of sight and out of mind. They’re sure missing out on something.