The Conductor’s Guiding Hand

The Conductor's Guiding Hand - Osaka, Japan

The Conductor’s Guiding Hand – Osaka, Japan

I readily admit that there’s nothing special, photographically, about today’s posting. It’s just a snapshot of the conductor’s compartment, when I was busy shooting out the front window. However, I think it’s interesting as a behind the scenes photo. After all, how many people know how trains are controlled, especially in the United States, where commuter trains are not very common.

I’m not a serious train nerd, but I always have more than a passing interest in the design of control systems. One thing in particular stands out. You can tell that the train is quite old. I didn’t notice it as a regular passenger, because the trains are well maintained and clean, but you can tell from the dated but functional analog controls.

I take a certain pleasure in appreciating how long well maintained heavy machinery lasts. It’s in stark contrast to many of our modern and high-tech gizmos that get tossed for the next iteration, often within a couple of years. When is the last time we replaced something because it actually wore out? Nowadays, it seems like we stop using something because we either get bored with it or something slightly better replaces it.

There are, of course, new trains in Japan. I’ve seen sleeker interiors in the newer versions. But the well-worn wooden handle and layers of painted machinery possess an old world patina that is both quaint and beloved.

I also noticed the odd reflection off the window. Looks like a woman was standing just to the side of me, evidenced by this ghostly reflection. Nothing too mysterious, I hope. When I’m in Photography Mode, much of the surrounding distractions fade from view as I lock into my subjects.


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5 thoughts on “The Conductor’s Guiding Hand

    1. Hi Alan, thanks for you comment and visit.

      Not sure what the dead-man’s switch is. I’m guessing it’s something that will stop the train automatically, if the conductor loses consciousness?

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