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Off Track: 1943

Off Track: 1943

March 1943. "Topeka, Kansas. Wheeling an engine in the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe locomotive shops." Photo by Jack Delano. View full size.


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I really get a kick out of the work in even a modern locomotive shop. These things are so heavy (there's two bridge cranes of 80 ton capacity doing the work) and even the modern locos need to be picked up off their trucks for maintenance to their traction motors. Makes me feel like I'm doing nothing with a 4800 lb. capacity boom crane at work.

Richard Feynman Explains Tapered Wheels

Richard Feynman explains a few things, including why the train wheels are tapered.

Head Cover & Hands in Pockets

Looks to me like the gent in the fedora, with his hands in his pockets, must be the boss - Engine 3261 was a 2-8-2 Mikado Class built by Baldwin between 1917 and 1920.

AT&SF locomotive 3261

a 2-8-2,coal burner, modified with extended cab, disposed of in 1952.

Wheels are tapered to take turns

The wheels are smaller at the inside so that they can take turns without slipping.

The outer wheel rides up on the rail in a turn, causing it to act larger in diameter than the inside wheel, which rides on the smaller diameter area, for the duration of the turn. This allows the solid axle wheelset to roll without either wheel slipping due to the different circumferences they travel in the turn.

Head cover

Look at all those cloth caps and a few fedoras amongst the shopmen. Early in my career they still wore those caps, but today these men would be written up, maybe taken out of service for walking onto the shop floor without a hardhat.


Whiting is still in IL.18 miles south and they still make quality cranes. - Wonder if this one is still being used - I just had an inquiry for parts on a 1925 vintage Whiting.


Why are the wheels tapered to the outside as can be seen in this picture?

Whiting 80 Ton

I lived in Harvey IL my Dad was a Photographer there when I was growing up the Whiting Co. Was a major employer in Harvey for many years.

DC Crane

In the upper left of the picture what appears to be two upside-down rails is actually the power feed for the crane. The current collectors would slide over the rail to get the DC power. You see very few of this type as new codes prevent new installations to have this type of electrification.

In a Rut - Not!

Wow! Awesome! Thanks for finding and posting this beauty, open cylinders and all!

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