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About the Photos

Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • ROSES BY VINCENT VAN GOGH, 1890

Tune-Up: 1942

Tune-Up: 1942

December 1942. "Chicago, Illinois. Locomotive under repair at the Chicago & North Western shops." So that's what that little step is for. Medium-format negative by Jack Delano for the Office of War Information. View full size.

 

The Locomotive

One of twelve C&NW J-4 class 2-8-4 Berkshire types. Numbered 2801-2812, they were built by Brooks Locomotive Works in Dunkirk NY, a subsidiary of ALCO, in 1927. They were comparable in dimension and capability to the Lima Locomotive "Super Power" Berks being built in that era, and were the first 2-8-4's to come from a one of Lima's rival builders. Like all the early Berkshires these became obsolete within a few years as the builders' art advanced, producing ever larger locomotives with higher drivers to boost mainline train speeds. The J-4's were long-lived nonetheless, and spent most of their operational lives in the hills of southern Illinois. They went to scrap in the mid 1950's.

Jaunty

The headlight visor and the prominent bell - jaunty.

The Berkshire from Dunkirk

Ol' 2808 was a 2-8-4 "Berkshire" class freight locomotive, built by the Alco/Brooks works in Dunkirk NY in 1927. The 2800 class (numbered 2801-2812) had long careers hauling mostly coal trains, and were all scrapped in the early 1950's.

Before Fuel Injection

New points and plugs.

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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