Big Wheel

Train wheels and engines.
Train wheels and engines.

Look what I found. Can I keep them?


I need them. It’s the season for giving. Give them to me. Of course, I’ll need a crane, some strong helpers and a place to store them. I’m pretty sure the living room is out.

Here’s the story. I decided to look around for more train pictures. You like them. I like trains. So I went looking for them in all the old places. Like the song says. I wanted to see my favorite streamliner. It was moved. Closer to the road. You’ll see it tomorrow.


We stopped. One of the cocker spaniels and me. I started taking pictures. Another car pulled to a stop. A guy with a camera. And, a dog. The dogs made friends. My new shooting buddy and I started taking pictures. Pretty soon a JPSO car pulled up. What is that, you ask? A Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Deputy. We held up our cameras. He nodded and waved us over. Basically, he told us how far we could trespass. After all, railroad property is actually protected by Federal laws.  Thankfully, he didn’t over react. That’s the way down here. He also met the dogs. He liked them. They liked him.

While I was googling around making sure that train wheels are really called wheels, I found a lot of new word combinations. You know, railroad terminology can be a little quirky.

Here’s a few words that I learned. All train terms that you can find when you look up “train wheel.”

Driving Wheel. Bogie. Pony Truck. Sand. Slippery Rail. Trailing Wheel. Wheel Climb. Wheel Flange. Wheel Tapper. Wheel Tread. Wheel Set.

This is a teachable moment. Google around. Tell me what these words mean. By the way, sand is pretty much what you think it is. The railroad definition is mostly about how it’s used.

The picture. The usual. I’m boring. Except that it was hands and knees time. And switching from the camera’s viewfinder to the lcd screen. Of course, the spaniel and her new friend thought it was time to play. So, there’s that.

Published by Ray Laskowitz

I am a visual storyteller. I've been making pictures for some 40 years. I travel the world in search of the right image. in the right light at the right time. You can reach me by phone at 505.280.4686, or by email at or For a quick look at my work please go to

13 thoughts on “Big Wheel

  1. I will forever be drawn to iron, rust, and train tracks.
    I had no idea it was trespassing to photograph on the tracks–our local sheriff had to show me the sign earlier this month. Ooopsies.
    I have taken hundreds of photos on the tracks (laying down, peering from above, straddling–you name it!). I’m so glad the rule follower in me didn’t find out the laws until after I’d taken those photos. Looking at my “gallery” makes me feel like such a rebel 😉


    1. Oh yeah, it’s a big trespassing charge. 🙂 All railroad laws are federal. Usually most local LEO will just tell you that and ask you to move along. I guess that I’m still a rebel (without a cause). I still work around rail yards and tracks. If somebody tells me I’m trespassing, I just thank them and move along. To the next place. A big reason for enforcement now is that so many people seem to have “discovered” tracks as leading lines and back drops for pictures. In many ways, they aren’t safe. Trains can’t stop on a dime. And, the few railroad companies that are still in operation have deep pockets, soooooo….

      In the big wheel picture, the place where trespassing starts is right when you pull off the parish road. Most deputies won’t enforce that. But, beyond those wheels is the first of the yard tracks. Cross that and they will.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In so many ways, they aren’t safe! I swear…I’m such a simple girl some times. It didn’t even dawn on me to think they were off limits until recently. Makes complete sense.
        That said, I just found a very safe, secluded, and abandoned mental hospital. It has “story here” written all over it! Can’t wait to grab my camera for that one!


  2. The problem is that so many people don’t pay attention. You can feel a train long before you hear one. But, they get so engrossed in what they are doing…

    You know I explore a lot of abandoned places. Here’s a few rules of THAT road. Try to bring a buddy. Bring a flashlight, your phone, and water. Wear some kind of hard soled shoes, long pants — even if the weather is hot. Some people add to that list; a hard hat, long sleeves rather than short.


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