I have a weird fascination with all things abandoned and run down. The texture of the rust and weathered materials are beautiful. Also seeing the process of nature taking over everything man made is fascinating. When my friend Mike mentioned an abandoned Amtrak train parked behind his New Jersey apartment, I jumped at the chance to take some photos and explore with him.
Before we went he mentioned that it doesn’t show up on Google Earth. I didn’t believe him, but viola no train! The train is pretty old but it could have been recently moved there. Did Amtrak have it photoshopped out to deter the homeless or hoodlums from vandalizing or sleeping in it?
One afternoon on a cool fall Saturday, Mike and I set out with our cameras. There were about seven or eight cars in the train that begged to be explored, but unfortunately no engine. Each car was different than the next, but all were stripped down to the basic structure. We were very surprised the cars only had a small amount of vandalism and there weren’t any empty bottles of beer or liquor.
The sun was getting really low in the sky when we climbed in the last car. After 6 or so empty cars, we had pretty low expectations. But nothing in this car was touched. Tools and parts were strewn out on the work bench, personal effects were still in the employee lockers, everything was almost as it was when the car was decommissioned. I got the chills.
There were pay stubs littering the floor, all from a Mr. Jack Cawley, who has resided in multiple locations in the Bronx. But who is Jack Cawley? Was this his train car? Did he make repairs at the work bench? Was that his pillow on the middle of the floor? Why didn’t he take his pay stubs with him? We found more questions than answers.
After a quick Google search I found there is a Jack Cawley born in 1986 from the Bronx who played amateur baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals, Quad Cities River Bandits and Batavia Muckdogs in 2008 and 2009. There is a man listed as Jack Cawley has a Myspace Music page. And there is a John Patrick (Jack) Cawley born in 1903, who married Katherine Muldoon, there pretty wedding picture is located here. There are also 6 Jack Cawleys listed on Linkedin, and 10 on Facebook. Do let us know if this Jack Cawley is you!
Here are a few photos I took during my train adventure. You can see all the other ones on my Downtown Doodler facebook page.