John R. Hardy’s fascination with trains began with the CPR Goderich line which ran through his family’s farm in Huron County, Ontario.
As boys, he and his brother played in empty boxcars stored in a siding at the edge of the farm. In the fall of 1961, the track was laid for this book when John received a Kodak 620 camera as a reward for completing Grade 8 at Zion Central School in Colborne Township. He describes his camera work as “the backbone of my writing and my books.”
After working in agricultural positions in Ottawa, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, John returned to Ontario, where he was in the right place at the right time to photograph the trains and stations that appear in Rusty Rails.
In the last days of their branchline railways, his work schedule allowed lunch-hour visits with train and section crews, after-work camera chases of northbound freights, and holiday drives to photograph abandoned stations.
The photographs in RUSTY RAILS are a small sample of his collection, begun when he was thirteen years old, and assembled with the dedication of a true rail aficionado.
From his grandparents and parents, John inherited a love for the land and an appreciation of the challenges of farming.
His book, HARVEST DUST, brings the family farm alive again.