SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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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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Semaphore: 1920

Semaphore: 1920

Washington, D.C., circa 1920s. "Union Station signals and tracks." National Photo Company Collection glass negative, Library of Congress. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

K Tower

This is a fantastic photo of the place I have worked since 1990 - K Tower, Washington Terminal. It controls all of the former Washington Terminal signaled trackage. Semaphore signals were replaced in the 1950's with color position signals.

Richard Hafer
K Tower Train Director

Some things never change.

I work for the Long Island RR, and it seems that very little changes in train yards. The equiptment changes with the times but not much else. It's definitely a bit of a throwback occupation.

Riding on the Metro

I ride by here daily on the Metro. I believe this is facing west [it's north-northeast - Dave]. The landmark that stands out is the switching house, which is still there, and in the photo is at the lower middle slightly to the left. If I have my orientation, right, the Metro Red Line goes by on the left, where you can kind of see a train in the photo. This would be facing with your back to Union Station.

When I see the switching house, it looks like it's 100 years old. It's green-copper stained with some gray. Most of those tracks are still there, and there's now also some old electric train wires hanging overhead which may date back to the 50s (I am not sure).

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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