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:
Santa Fe freight about to leave for the West Coast from the Corwith yard in Chicago. March 1943. View full size. 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Jack Delano, who went with the train to California, taking pictures along the way with his Graflex Speed Graphic. Look for them here in the coming days.
Most locomotive portrait artists were consummate professionals who didn't allow things like light poles--or old ladies--to obscure their subject. Whoever took this photo wasn't on his game apparently. The old lady--a rather comical figure, is she not?--is probably the photographers wife, but I like to think she's lost and wandering around the Cincinnati Union Terminal service area looking for the ticket window. The locomotive, for those who care, is C&O Pacific type #492. Photo dated July, 1937. View full size.
On the inbound tracks at the Hinton, W.Va., engine terminal circa late 1940s are #300, class L-2 Hudson (4-6-4), just in off a passenger run from Cincinnati or Detroit; and #1612, a 2-6-6-6 Allegheny class H-8, used primarily in push/pull coal drag service over the Appalachians to Clifton Forge, Va. The engine crew at the left brought in one of the engines; not sure which one. C&O Railway photo. View full size.
B&M 4000, T1a class 2-8-4 smoking it up on the ready track in Boston circa 1930. Built by Lima Locomotive Works, Lima, Ohio in 1928. Considered ugly by most railfans due to the "Cobra Hood" Coffin feedwater heater mounted on the front of the boiler. Photographer unknown. View full size.