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Railways: re-imagining abandoned or obsolete infrastructure

High Line, New York City

The history of the railroad in the United States follows numerous themes in the growth of the nation. The first transcontinental railroad, completed in 1869, opened up the vast interior of the North American continent to expanded US settlement. By the late 1800s, the railroads in the New York area helped the Vanderbilt family create a vast fortune resulting in one of the great architectural masterpieces, Central Station. Henry Flagler extended a railroad along the coast of Florida dramatically changing the landscape as tourists flooded the sun-drenched beaches. By the mid-20th century, the growth of automobile industry and the interstate highway system led to a reduction in passenger rail use, and many rail lines were re-prioritized for freight while other lines were simply abandoned. In 1986, the Rails to Trails Conservancy was formed to convert abandoned rail lines to vibrant public spaces. And in 2009, the first portion of the celebrated High Line opened in New York City, leading numerous architects, planners, and preservationists to re-imagine abandoned or obsolete infrastructure in new ways. This photographer looks at the landscape of abandoned railways across the United States.


In pictures: the empty railways of America

By BBC News

June 27, 2017

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