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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Locomotive Makeover: 1942

Locomotive Makeover: 1942

November 1942. "Illinois Central rail yard, Chicago. Locomotives in for repair at the roundhouse." Medium format negative by Jack Delano. View full size.

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Illinois Central Mountains

The engine is a 4-8-2, commonly known as a "Mountain" type. The railroad had 136 locos of this type, built by ALCo, Lima and the IC's own Paducah shops. I can't be certain but it appears to be one of the ALCo built locos of 1926. The IC never had any 4-8-4s.

Loco ID?

Comparing to other photos of locos, I will guess this is a 4-8-4 Northern type. Perhaps some real rail afficionados will chime in?

Tractor ID

1920's Fordson with French and Hecht wheels and aftermarket high tenstin mag. and probably Handy brand seat.

Minor rebuild

All of the lagging is still on the boiler so they must be checking the boiler tubes and superheater while they rebuild the driver wheels. It's amazing that the inertia of the connecting rods and just breaking can put flat spots on the "tires".

You can corner her here

This is not the round house, because there are no curves. It must be the back shop, where more extensive repairs than ordinary maintenance are done. Sometimes it really is in the rear of the round house.

"Head for the Roundhouse, Nellie. He can't corner you there", doesn't work in this building.

High Overhead

Most fans of steam -- among whom I must number myself -- must acknowledge that the ultimate triumph of diesel-electric units was due to their far less burdensome maintenance requirements in terms of both degree of difficulty and frequency. The real divas were the streamlined steam locomotives, from which many square yards of cladding and fairings had to be removed before anything more advanced than routine preventive maintenance could be performed. That being admitted, there was a romance to steam that diesels have thus far failed utterly to match.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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