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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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Frosty the Brakeman: 1943

Frosty the Brakeman: 1943

January 1943. Chicago, Illinois. "Freight operations on the Indiana Harbor Belt railroad between Chicago and Hammond, Indiana. The Chicago & North Western Railroad yard." Photo by Jack Delano, Office of War Information. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Love the unique architecture of the signal bridge

I have never seen one quite like that before. You'll note Louis Zerkel, rear brakeman, is carrying a flag as he returns to the caboose, probably having protected the rear of his train. The photographer is standing on its rear platform.

I love all the steam quite evident on this brisk winter day. Most of it is emanating from the engine pulling that freight train across the railway bridge in the upper background.

Railroading, unlike just about every other mode of transportation, operated 24/7 regardless of the weather. It would take an extremely major set of weather conditions to stop train movements. However, I must salute those operating personnel who worked outside both on the ground and in the cabs of steam locomotives. It must have been brutal.

Keep those Jack Delano railroad photos coming. They are an historical and irreplaceable treasure!

Blue Island

Looks like Delano is looking northish; the creek bridge just beyond the brakeman is at 41.64368N 87.68441W

Frosty ID'd

The man is Louis Zerkel, rear brakeman.

Shhhh, can you hear it?

If you're very still and quiet, you can hear, in the crisp cold air, the crunching of the snow under his feet.

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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