• Northwest London, near Denfield Road

    This wooden bridge is one of the first major landmarks that trains are greeted with when entering London.

  • Northwest London, near Denfield Road

    The bridge can only support a limited amount of weight, and exists solely to provide access to a few private properties.

  • Northwest London, near Denfield Road

    The railway tracks that run underneath the bridge turn sharply south-east toward the city core. The single track will run through the northern portion of downtown London, while the other two tracks will run through the southern portion.

  • Canterbury Park, near Hyde Park and Gainsborough

    The single track passes through Canterbury Park, overlooking a small playground and walkway.

  • Canterbury Park, near Hyde Park and Gainsborough

    A man walks his dog under the railway bridge, giving perspective as to how towering it actually is.

  • Canterbury Park, near Hyde Park and Gainsborough

    Look up!

  • Crossing the Talbot River, near Talbot and Oxford

    As the single track nears closer to the downtown core, the landmarks become more familiar – such as this massive railway bridge that leads over the Talbot River.

  • Crossing the Talbot River, near Talbot and Oxford

    This railway bridge also crosses directly over Oxford street.

  • Crossing the Talbot River, near Talbot and Oxford

    Everyone in London recognizes this sign – the Talbot street railway bridge is one of the only underpasses that can be used to bypass oncoming trains!

  • Leading to Richmond Row, near St. George and Piccadilly

    A freight train approaches the intersection of St. George and Piccadilly.

  • Leading to Richmond Row, near St. George and Piccadilly

    The railway tracks run only a few feet parallel to Piccadilly street, while trains barrel through.

  • Richmond Train Station, near Pall Mall and Richmond

    Now a restaurant, this building was formerly a train station in the core of downtown London.

  • Richmond Train Station, near Pall Mall and Richmond

    A quick glance around the back of the building reveals a passenger waiting area.

  • Complex Intersection, near Waterloo and Pall Mall

    An office building is mere feet away from thundering freight trains. Imagine working in this space!

  • Adelaide Junction, near Adelaide

    Having finally made their way through the city core, freight trains can come to a stop at a large junction just east of Adelaide street.

  • Adelaide Junction, near Adelaide

    Trains turn sharply southeast as they make their way out of the junction and leave London.

  • Riverside Crossing, near Riverside

    On the other side of London, the pair of tracks can be seen passing underneath a Riverside street bridge. In the distance, the tracks approach the Talbot River.

  • Riverside Crossing, near Riverside

    The pair of tracks cross over the Talbot River on a decorated bridge.

  • VIA Rail Station, near York and Richmond

    The pair of tracks enter the downtown core and approach the VIA Rail station, just southwest of York and Richmond.

  • CN Southern Ontario Operations, near Egerton

    Trains leaving London must pass through a massive junction located on Egerton street. This location is the base for CN’s Southern Ontario operations.

  • CN Southern Ontario Operations, near Egerton

    Trains are continually shifting across the street, making it a less than ideal route choice for drivers.

  • CN Southern Ontario Operations, near Egerton

    A CN worker crosses just one of the countless sets of tracks in the railyard.

  • CN Southern Ontario Operations, near Egerton

    The junction itself is massive. A quick glance south-east of Egerton reveals a wide space that extends for several kilometers. Trains then go on to exit London.

The Backstory Behind This Photojournal

My grandfather took a leap of faith when immigrating to Canada in the late 1950s, amongst thousands of other Azoreans seeking a better life. He was quick to find work laying down railroads just outside of Edmonton, and his years of experience eventually resulting in him passing down a piece of his labour to me.

From the moment I was born, I was inundated. I received small trains, built fake tracks, and played ‘railroad crossing games’ with my grandfather on a regular basis. My parents could have left me in a toy store while they ran errands – I would spend hours with their massive train set.

I was seven years old when my grandfather passed away. Shortly thereafter, my obsession came to an end. The trains, tracks, and associated toys were all stashed in the closet, left to accumulate dust. I had completely grown out of this ‘phase’ of my life – for now.

I spent five years studying at the University of Western Ontario, located in London (ON), Canada. Two of those years were spent living downtown. Those of you familiar with the city will also be familiar with the rumble of freight trains as they barrel straight through the core, at all hours of the day. The entire infrastructure of the city struck a chord with me – pedestrians regularly stood only a few feet away from these monstrous machines as they held up traffic for 10-15 minutes, and simultaneously blocked 5-7 major intersections.

While sitting on a bench next to the Souvlaki shop on Richmond Street, I spotted The Keg on the opposite side. It took me a few minutes, but I suddenly realized that this building was once a train station, and presumably a hub for all train activity. Inspired, I ventured out to all corners of London, capturing the paths that trains take during their journey through the city.

While trains and railroads are undoubtedly a cliche for photographers, I hope my backstory helps you to understand the choice of subject and why I found it so personally impactful to produce this album. Enjoy!

Directions/Orientation/Technical Specifications

This album assumes that the trains are moving from west to east. There are two sets of tracks which split apart as they enter the city, as depicted in the map below.

The album itself was shot entirely with:

  • Canon 6D
  • Sigma 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye
  • Sigma 24mm f/1.4 Prime
  • Canon 70-200mm f/4 Telephoto

This was one of my first major projects with the Sigma prime, so I was looking for just about every excuse to use it. Incredibly sharp, and arguably better than Canon’s equivalent offering – fantastic value!

Kevin Raposo · Creative Media specializes in photography and video production. Serving the Greater Toronto Area and surrounding regions.