A journey to the Holy Land’s disused railway stations begins with a sonnet of concrete. Digital and disposable camera photography by Elisha Baskin.
(for the full, four part project, click here)
There is an old railway station in south Tel Aviv. It isn’t really so old by local standards, being 80 years younger than the city’s first train depot. A concrete edifice of the 1970s, it would hardly delight all eyes. “Tel Aviv south” is no Milano Centrale, oh, and it hasn’t served any lines since 1993. It’s useless.
Nevertheless, not only do I take off a hot September day to head there, but I have company. Elisha is a history adventurer: an archive detective who finagles rare film footage, photos and sound bites related to this country’s past. I told her I plan to explore the country’s disused train stations, and she sent me a strange array of ancient photos related to transport in the Holy Land. They were stunningly random. Here was spectacular company for a random historical journey.
“And the first station is just down the street from your hood,” I mentioned.
“Just past the Kibbutz Galuyot highway bridge.”
“There’s a station there?”
Behold how the past evades even its greatest lovers. Then again, South Tel Aviv Station was invisible from its beginnings. That is what sealed its fate.
I would build on the moon
Here is the brief chronicle of a civil engineering folly: the city’s first train station was opened in Jaffa in 1892, when only Jaffa existed. At one time you could board a train there and travel north to Damascus and as far south as the Sudan.
Following the war of 1948, that station became disused. The young State of Israel...Read More