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Frosty the Brakeman: 1943

Frosty the Brakeman: 1943

January 1943. Chicago, Illinois. "Freight operations on the Indiana Harbor Belt railroad between Chicago and Hammond, Indiana. The Chicago & North Western Railroad yard." Photo by Jack Delano, Office of War Information. View full size.


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Love the unique architecture of the signal bridge

I have never seen one quite like that before. You'll note Louis Zerkel, rear brakeman, is carrying a flag as he returns to the caboose, probably having protected the rear of his train. The photographer is standing on its rear platform.

I love all the steam quite evident on this brisk winter day. Most of it is emanating from the engine pulling that freight train across the railway bridge in the upper background.

Railroading, unlike just about every other mode of transportation, operated 24/7 regardless of the weather. It would take an extremely major set of weather conditions to stop train movements. However, I must salute those operating personnel who worked outside both on the ground and in the cabs of steam locomotives. It must have been brutal.

Keep those Jack Delano railroad photos coming. They are an historical and irreplaceable treasure!

Blue Island

Looks like Delano is looking northish; the creek bridge just beyond the brakeman is at 41.64368N 87.68441W

Frosty ID'd

The man is Louis Zerkel, rear brakeman.

Shhhh, can you hear it?

If you're very still and quiet, you can hear, in the crisp cold air, the crunching of the snow under his feet.

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