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.
Vintage photos of:
1957. "The Birmingham Special gets the highball at Rural Retreat, Virginia." Gelatin silver print by O. Winston Link. View full size.
The six Saint-Gaudens statues, each weighing 22 tons, which are to grace the facade of the Union Station, are now being placed on pedestals at the tops of the entrance columns. Each of the statues was loaded upon a flat car for shipment to this city, and 20 horses drew the dray which hauled the first one to the station from the railway yards. -- Washington Post, Oct. 27, 1912
The Greek philosopher Thales, representing electricity, one of Louis St. Gaudens' six statues symbolizing "The Progress of Railroading" at Union Station in Washington, D.C. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.
January 1943. "Freight train operations on the Chicago & North Western Railroad between Chicago and Clinton, Iowa. The caboose is the conductor's second home. He always uses the same one and many conductors cook and sleep there while waiting for trains to take back from division points." Medium-format negative by Jack Delano for the Office of War Information. View full size.
Vesuvius, Virginia, 1956. "Sometimes the electricity fails." Gelatin silver print by Ogle Winston Link, pioneer of the photographic genre that might be called rail noir. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division. View full size.