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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.

© 2017 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Night Freight: 1943

Night Freight: 1943

Santa Fe R.R. yard at night, Kansas City, Kansas. March 1943. 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Jack Delano. <View full size. to see the light trails made by the yard workers' torches in this time exposure, as well as a phantom number (3167, at right) that must have been on a train that paused in front of the camera.


There's the moon

The streak in the upper left is a crescent moon, being occasionally obscured by clouds in a very long exposure. Nifty!

Diesel Switchers

For a long time, it was thought best to keep the new and high maintenance diesels in the yard, where they could do less damage if they broke down. Also, it was thought that diesel-electrics were not well siuted to hauling main line fast freight. The EMD (originally EMC) FT demonstrator tour had a lot to do with changing that attitude, by proving that a stock diesel locomotive design could replace steam locomotives in everyday road service all over the country.

Oh yes!

I'm surprised that all the shunters are diesel/electric. I would've expected that they would've been the last changed, not the first.


Best photo ever.




holy shitakies thats creepy

Phantom Number

The number 3167 was most likely from an engine. The boxcar numbers would not have been that large, and the font is the same as the other engines.

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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