The Train to Thunder Bay


These images were made while traveling by train between Montreal and Thunder Bay Ontario in 1986 to work as a tree planter. The transcontinental railways built in the nineteenth century were instrumental in the radical transformation of a land which had been inhabited for thousands of years and the displacement of the people who had lived there.

There is something melancholic about riding the rails; the metronomic click-clacking over the tracks as the scenery rolls on relentlessly, people alone together in a confined space sharing a temporary destiny and then vanishing into their various destinations.

I thought a lot about my relationship to the landscape as I traveled. I left home with a sense of anticipation and a little sadness. Returning after six weeks of living and working in the vast areas of forest that had been clear-cut ‘civilization’ seemed very different - it was as though everything was strangely blanketed in a cushion of comfort and distraction which dulled the senses and the mind.

 © David Evans

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