A & P Bench Interview
How long have you two been benching graffiti on the freight trains?
A: Freights were always secondary to walls when i was out grabbing flicks. i first started taking train pictures in around 2003. My grandparents used to have a farm in a small southern Alberta town and it had a grainer that would get some boxcar action and a steady flow of hoppers on the CP line. The grainer has been torn down now and the town is basically dieing unfortunately though.
P: Been following trains for years, but only taking pictures of it since last summer.
Do you have favorite spots to bench?
A: The spot i mentioned above was one of my favorite places to bench just because it had a nice mix of cars and it was so quiet. There is a siding yard that is fairly close to my house which i bench most regularly. it basically gets traffic coming straight from the Vancouver area so its always exciting when the SDK wholecars roll through. probably the best place to catch them other than where they were painted. Right now i am in Jasper, Alberta and it is amazing! some of the pictures I’ve been taking look pretty cool with the mountains in the back. i was pretty blown away when i saw how the yard is set up. only problem is its CN which sucks.
P: There are a lot of spots I enjoy where I never get hassled and the sun beams on the right side facing out. One yard is dope because you can chill at the entrance and watch them build together lines and they are pulling piece out for you nonstop. That’s good vibes.
Do you have favorite artists that you like to catch?
A: I’m a big fan of simple styles with some nice flare to them and guys who change things up. I think Johste KP10s is one of my favorites to catch. Maple is a killer. Hoser FTB has a lot of nice styles. Always been a big Each2 fan, I used to catch his stuff everyday I went out in 2005 or so. Then there are all the classic dudes too. that Crispo, and that Mber & Much I caught I was really stoked on.
P: Lately I am digging a lot of people: Leqs, Noway, Arise, Koma, Cesu, Afex, Coma, the SDK boys, Servo, Aspekt, Crow, Sear, Nykel, Oreks, Hoek, Demos, Kamit, Seekz, Coupe, Dutch, Soy, the list goes on. Lots of people putting in good proper work and I am allways finding myself liking new writers each time I go out!
Is there a favorite type of freight you are pumped to see?
A: I love when hoppers are lined up. My favourite hoppers are the blue ex PBLX Pilsbury hoppers that were bought up by the SOO line. When you look at our stream you can see that a vast majority is made up of the CP grain lines. I really love those old orange QC boxes with the white stripe in the middle though. EEC also has some really nice old cars rolling for them now.
P: Red Canada hopper, hands down. They stand out, they are bright, and look hot rolling. I just like hoppers in general. That’s all we get around these parts. We once saw a reefer with Rei21 on it but I don’t think that will be happening again anytime soon.
How often are the two of you out watching for freights?
A: I’m always looking out for freights. I’ll check the spots maybe 3 times a week. I can flick probably around 150 pieces in a day if I go to all the spots around my way.
P: Lately I have been everyday, and its been hit and miss with those damn intermodals and Canpotex lines blocking my views. Most times I try to get out 3 times a week and A is out there scoping his spots or joining me quite a bit.
Is there a particular time you like to go?
A: I don’t really have a favorite time to go. I’ll go whenever I have time or whenever I feel we need some new flicks for our photostream. I treat our photostream almost like a job… Maybe because I don’t have one.
P: Right after work, sun is high, freights are moving, and by the time I finish benching, traffic has died down and its a quick drive home.
What kind of camera do you use?
A: I used to have an old Nikon film camera that got jacked one day so some of our flicks are from that. then my parents bought me this little Olympus point and shoot which was actually amazing. i swear it like smoothed out peoples lines and made everything look cleaner some how. Right now i shoot with a Nikon D70 with a few lenses and i sometimes also get out with the D700 but its pretty heavy.
P: A Canon Rebel T1i. It seems to do the trick and I decided to go with another Canon because I had the lenses from a previous one. I have been compiling lots of footage with it as well, but my computer seems to crash whenever I try to edit the huge files. Hopefully I can put out a couple videos by the end of summer with the footage!
Have you encountered any problems in the yard while trying to take photos?
A: For the most part I haven’t had any problems till I ran into freight fiend another Flickr user who likes to drive his van onto large piles of ballast in private malting facilities and get us yelled at haha. I had some farmers report my license plate and I’ve got some kind of temporary criminal file with the RCMP for trespassing on rail property so I only really bench the outside lines these days till that is up.
P: Yea some people don’t mind their own business and try to be a citizen hero. One time I crossed about 20 lines of the yard to get to the other side and the bull rolled up on me. I managed to talk my way out of a trespassing ticket. One big problem that happens quite often is when I am so tired and grab my camera without the memory card, get to the yard and realize I’m a moron.
Are there any items you like to have with you in a yard?
A: Not really. I like bread a lot. I find its usually something useful to have around. That and mosquito spray.
P: Sometimes beer, a streak, extra lens, another human being is good company. Lately Straight Up Bench and I have been benching weekends and we always pick up three burgers each from Dairy Queen. Always get suckered by that 99 cent burger sign.
What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen while out benching?
A: I mostly just see stupid shit not anything really funny. I yelled at some kids who must have been painting one night. There’s a lot of dumb kids who shouldn’t be in the lines these days so I didn’t feel too bad about heating them out a bit. told them to check out A&P bench haha. I’m sure P will talk about the rail deer getting it on, or the Fedex truck getting stuck though. He sees all the good stuff.
Do you have any last words you’d like to share with the Senses Lost readers?
A: Not too much. Just to respect the rails. People say “oh, the 90s were so awesome i miss that” well the scene today will probably seem like it was so good in 10 years too at the rate things are going. Give a big shout out to all the dudes who are also benching and taking the time and effort to let people know whats rolling through. I know I’m missing a few big ones but, Straight Up Bench, Bonus Focus, Freight Fiend, the North Dakota boys, BC Bench, Lady Bench, And the MLPS crew who all pump out flicks on the regular.
P: Less side busting and hate on the lines. Find a clean car or go over a hollow if you have to. Big ups to the other people benching along side us too. Lots of others putting in work and catching lots of steel too across Canada, because we can’t happen to catch everything at once so it’s good to see people catching the other sides as well. Also big ups to Night who rocked a steezy A&P Bench shout out on a recent freight!
Check out more from A & P Bench on Flickr