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About the Photos

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.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Routing the Rails: 1943

Routing the Rails: 1943

April 1943. "Switchman throwing a switch at the Chicago & North Western RR's Proviso Yard, Chicago, Ill." 4x5 inch Kodachrome transparency by Jack Delano for the Office of War Information. View full size.

On Shorpy:
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Yellow rails

The yellow paint indicated rails unsafe due to excessive separation under load:

"Areas marked with only white paint are less serious and are intended to flag the defect for further inspection within 30 days.

Places marked with yellow paint or both white and yellow paint indicate serious gauging problems that need immediate corrective action. As stated earlier, the standard American track gauge is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. The white paint marks indicate that the gauge of the track under load is up to 4 feet, 10 inches, while the yellow paint designates loaded track gauge that exceeds 4 feet, 11 inches, or 2.5 inches wider than normal. Track
this wide presents a high risk of derailment. ..."


(copyright respected - above quoted as fair use)

Pants cuffs

Notice that the Switchman has his pants cuffs bound up in 'leggings' or taped at the top of his boots to keep him from tripping or catching his cuffs on protruding metal parts on the cars or other equipment he comes into contact with.

Past blasting

Oldtimers here will fondly recall one of the earliest Shorpy conundrums: The Mystery of the Yellow Rails.

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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