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Shutterbug Special: 1900

Shutterbug Special: 1900

Circa 1900. "Detroit Photographic car crossing DL&W bridge over the Passaic at Millington, New Jersey." 8x10 inch glass negative. View full size.


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I've become aware of a very short line called the Emittsburg railway that was built when the town learned that the Western Maryland Railway was going to bypass it. So the town financed its own seven-mile, single-track line from Emmitsburg south to meet the new rail line at Rocky Mount. As a single line, it was designed so that the engine always had to run in reverse on half of the trips.

Push or pull

Well, at the moment, the train is stationary - you can see that the engine crew are watching the photographer do his work.

Locomotives work equally well in either direction, and pushing a short train is not a problem either, so there is no way of telling which direction they have been or will be traveling. The opportunity to turn an engine is only found at large terminals with a turntable, or at "wye" intersections, so it was and is sometimes unavoidable to have the engine running tender-forward. Furthermore, passing sidings are also not located very close together, so it may happen that pushing the train is unavoidable.

NJ Transit

The bridge has been replaced by a girder type, but the line is still in use by NJ Transit on the Gladstone Branch.

Push it real good

Is the passenger car in this photo being pushed by the engine, rather than pulled? And if so, why?


The initials meant delay, linger and wait, according to my commuter father in the 50s, apparently a current joke.

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