Associate photo producer and photographer Tyler Metcalfe is joining the Millennial Trains Project, in which 25 bright young minds travel from Portland, Oregon, to New York, and share innovative ideas. Follow him on Instagram @tylermetcalfe as he rides across America documenting the project.
After traveling for more than 24 hours across the open plains of Montana, North Dakota, and Minnesota, the Millennial Trains Project arrived in St. Paul and marked the halfway point in our cross-country journey. During such a long stretch of travel in the limited space of a few close-quarter railcars, the nuances of train travel were brought to life in full force. Simple daily tasks—eating at a table, walking through hallways, showering—became fun challenges when attempted within the tiny confines of a rocking train car. On long turns, cups would slowly slide off tables. When passing fellow passengers in hallways, we mastered the art of flattening ourselves against the walls to squeeze by each other. Even showering became a sort of dance, as I had to shift my weight to the rhythm of the moving car, which rocked from side to side, threatening to slam me against the walls with every big jolt.
Though train life was full of endearing quirks and allowed the group to grow its bond, everyone seemed happy to arrive in St. Paul, where we were able to step out into the city and stretch our legs. We spent the next three days in St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Milwaukee, where we visited collaborative workspaces and city museums, met with local innovators, and became the first participants to ride on Milwaukee’s city bike-share program.