I’ve admired this image for quite some time, finding it in the Library of Congress’ collection of the Historical Section of the Farm Security Administration (FSA) color photographs.
It is anonymous, unfortunately, but since there were really only 23 or so staff photographers for this gigantic undertaking (including Esther Bubley, Marjory Collins, Mary Post Wolcott, Arthur Rothstein, Walker Evans, Russell Lee, Jack Delano, Gordon Parks, Charlotte Brooks, John Vachon, Carl Mydans, Dorothea Lange, and Ben Shahn, ten of which are truly monumental names in the history of 20th century American photography.)
I think that we could guess that it was done by the hands of a master.
It seems as though less than 2% of the 163,000 or so photographs made by this section during its eight-year run (1937-1945) were made in color, and I’m glad that this was one of them.
Abandoned subway stations, such as the ‘ghost stations’ of the Paris Metro, have long been sought out by urban explorers.
The narrow-gauge Post Office Railway (aka Mail Rail), inspired by a similar freight network built by the Chicago Tunnel Company, opened in 1927 and operated between the Paddington Sorting Office and Whitechapel Eastern Delivery Office.
The railway, which served eight stations along 6.5 miles (10.5 km) of track, was closed for financial reasons in 2003 after 75 years of operation.
But as the images show, the deserted network remains in good condition today.