Presenting the Railpictures.ca The Time Machine: A Before and after challenge: Participants can attempt to re-create the same photo taken at least 20 years apart, from the vast database of photos found on railpictures.ca. See our gallery of photos below – click a photo for the detailed description.

Remember folks – the more you have on the site the more likely you’ll get paired. Photographers of the classic era are much more likely to have photos paired and win awards – all you have to do is submit with us and wait for a young lad to go out and find a modern equivalent to your photo. Or if you’re really brave, see if you have a classic photo to pair with a contemporary shot. If you are ready to try, make sure when you submit a pairing, please name the photographer, and link to their photo in your caption or post the ‘share link’. If you do not wish to name the photo until it wins, you can post the link in the ‘note to moderators’ BUT contact us to let us know you’re trying for a time machine. We may miss it – and if we do – reach out to us and remind us. After reviewing the criteria and if we think it’s good we’ll include it after some time has passed (it can be days to weeks to months depending on our mood and how much you push us – hint hint)

Note: That the order of the photos is as follows: the rightmost photo is the original in the database. The photos to the left, (one or two or more) are the re-created photos. Note that Dave Beach brilliantly recognized he had the exact same photo as James Gardiner created 30+ years earlier, which is very hard to do! Well done to all who have participated. If we’ve forgot anyone or anything, don’t hesitate to let us know – we may slip the fracks – and remember, we reward effort and we want the recreated shots to be as exact as possible to the original. Usual photo submission guidelines also apply too.

This page is now a permanent fixture on the site. Winners will receive one award on their profile page, for each photo that wins, and an award displayed on the photo page itself.

For a photo to be added it MUST be nominated by someone. After a nomination, we will consider it and periodically add what we think meets the following criteria w – it could take days to weeks to months to do it so please remind us if we missed you or did not respond (We’re sorry if we forgot to respond, we don’t have a formal process for this!). Both the classic photographer and the modern photographer will win their photo award when chosen. How do you win? We will consider the following – keep in mind you have an artistic license of interpretation but look at the existing entries for a comparison:

  • How exact is the re-created photo to the original?
  • How close are the fine details lined up between both photos? Always overlay to make sure they are darn close
  • How many favourites, comments, or views did you achieve once uploaded?
  • What effort was put into the affair – was it difficult to achieve?
  • Was it re-created in-situ? Or in a museum setting?
  • How much time has elapsed between photos
  • Photographic difficulty – did one re-create a shot that took great photographic skill?
  • Artistic creativity – for those who wish to express themselves

For re-creationists – find a photographer you wish to emulate and search their work on this site. If you need to look by location, our map page would be a very handy tool.

For classic photographers – the more you have on here, the better your chances of being replicated. Send a few and do not hesitate to challenge viewers to re-create a shot if you think it’s worth asking for.

Do you know a photographer with a great photo you want to re-create, but the photo is not in our database? Kindly ask the photographer to join us, submit the photo and contribute to the challenge.

Have you taken the challenge? Announce it on social media, share your photo once approved and spread the word – the more favourites you receive the better your chances of being selected.

Contest rules:

  • For those who are recreating a classic: A photo must be at least 20 years old for it to qualify for a re-creation, or the minimum spread between photos SHOULD be 20 years. For example, any photo in 1996 qualifies as of 2016 – we won’t worry too much about exact dates. Similarly, if you upload a pair from 1991 and 1995, the spread is too thin.
  • You can go both ways: We allow you to either re-create a classic photo, or consider a current (contemporary) photo and upload an older classic that you have already taken. As long as the photos meet the guidelines of what constitutes a valid time machine photo.
  • IMPORTANT: To qualify, once you think you’ve re-created a photo pair, you must add the photo page link to the re-created photo, name the photographer, and mention the time machine, all in your caption. If you are not comfortable with this unless you ‘win’ – then add it to note to moderators then *contact us to remind us* or we may miss it.
  • All are welcome to either re-create the patina of the original photo or interpret in some other fashion. Aka: Black and white conversions are permitted if desired.
  • Yes – you have artistic license to visually interpret this as you see fit – but the same Railpictures.ca rules for acceptance apply for single pictures!
  • The photographer of the original and re-created photo can be the same person.
  • We could add a third or fourth photo to an existing pair, but it has to be from a different era. For example: A time machine pair could exist for photos taken in 2014 and 1985. A third submission from a feller in 1965 could be added, creating a photo trio.
  • We understand that there are probably a few before/after photos already in some peoples collections – and we don’t want to exclude you – please feel free to upload them, your work will be rewarded here.
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