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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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Eastbound Freight: 1943

Eastbound Freight: 1943

March 1943. "Parmerton, Texas. Passing an eastbound freight on the Santa Fe Railroad between Amarillo and Clovis, New Mexico." Medium-format negative by Jack Delano for the Office of War Information. View full size.

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Caboose benches

The benches are on the roof of the caboose for the same reason that there are benches in the cupola of the caboose from which Mr. Delano snapped this picture. They are there to provide a place for the rear trainman to ride where he can see the train ahead to inspect for signs of problems: derailment, shifted loads, smoke, etc. Also, to pass signals to the engineer (remember, no radios at this time in RR service).

Though most cabooses had a rooftop cupola, or side view bay windows, for protection from the elements, in the rush to press cars into service during the war some roads didn't bother to enclose the seats.

Caboose bench seats

When or why would some need the bench seats on top of the caboose?

Boxcar caboose

Looks like one of the wartime emergency cabooses the Santa Fe converted from wooden boxcars. Here's a little closer look at one:

Safety first

The train we are "riding" is on the siding, and most likely not moving here. The man down the track, and probably another on the other side, is watching the moving freight on the left for any signs of equipment dragging or hot bearing journals. When the train passes, and they get clear, they will return to the caboose and proceed.

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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