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City of Los Angeles: 1942

City of Los Angeles: 1942

Detail from Jack Delano's shot of the C&NW railyards in December 1942, and streamliners City of Denver and City of Los Angeles. View full size.


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Yellows, Grays, Greens & Brands

The photo displays equipment of two distinct "brands" at Chicago. The "Armour Yellow" and Gray, signature Union Pacific RR (UPRR) colors for its widely promoted "City" fleet of Streamliners. It was the work of Chicago & Northwestern (C&NW) to handle the moves between Chicago and Omaha, UPRR gateway for the West.

The Green and Yellow motive power units, in the signature colors of the C&NW "400" Streamliner, service lanes between its on line points. Premier service lane between Chicago and Twin Cities. For the Operations folks, I'll conjecture a hard and fast rule did not permit intermixing of equipment. IMHO, the scene is at the area "wash" line...



The most useful text on the subject of the UP "City" trains is William Kratville's "Union Pacific Streamliners" (1974). The windows on the unit make me want to say it's an EMD model E-6 unit, quite possibly LA-4 (the lead unit of a 3 locomotive set which was permanently assigned to the 1941 edition of the City of Los Angeles streamliner).

Red White & Blue

That is amazing detective work. How did you find that? I had been trying to figure the mystery out.

[I searched for "City of Los Angeles" and "streamliner" and "red" in the year 1942. - Dave]

City of Los Angeles

Below, a black-and-white photo of the red, white and blue City of Los Angeles, from the October 19, 1942, Pennsylvania Evening Standard. (The word "stamps" is just visible in the color photo above.) The caption reads:

STREAMLINED SELLING: A streamlined supersalesman of war bonds is the streamliner City of Los Angeles. Train was decked with banner urging purchase of war bonds and stamps. Inspecting it are Howard D. Mills of Treasury Department (left) and W.H. Guild, executive assistant, Union Pacific Railroad. Banner's colors are red, white and blue.


Red White & Blue

There is a RR boxcar "State of Maine" that is red white and blue. A photo of it can be seen at Their catalogue #3494-295

Red White Blue

War is hell, indeed...I "think" the red/white unit is actually red white and blue special paint promoting war bond purchases, I recall reading something about this one long ago but can't begin to be able to prove this now. Blue band is hiding in the shadow. Rare catch it is.


Can't tell you about the red and white one - it looks like a 'B' unit. It could be a leased locomotive ('B' units were unmanned diesel locomotives controlled from the cab of the 'A' unit) but that in itself was puzzling because before the war at least the Union Pacific's "City" trains all ran with matched sets of locomotives, with the name of the train (City of Los Angeles, City of San Francisco, City of Denver, etc) painted on each unit of the train. At that time you'd never see a 'B' unit from the City of San Francisco on the City of Los Angeles - let alone a mismatched 'B' unit. War is hell.

The middle locomotive (the one without a train attached) is a Chicago & North Western E unit, most likely an E6 like the locomotive on the City of Los Angeles. There's no indication of what train its part of so it could be either the C&NW's own "400" or one of the trains the C&NW and UP operated jointly, like The Challenger.

The outermost locomotive is probably the most interesting stylistically. It's one of the CD series (CD-05, 06, or 07) - the CD standing for the City of Denver. That's written on the side of the locomotive but you really have to blow it up to see that detail. The cab was elevated above the main body of the engine. The distinctive grille is primarily decorative, a holdover from the first streamliners on the UP, M-1000 through M-1002. Indeed the CD locomotives were originally numbered M-1003 through M-1006. Sadly none of the CD locomotives were preserved.

City of Los Angeles?

Ok, please explain the title, it simply cannot be correct.

[The name of the right-hand train, written on the side, is City of Los Angeles. - Dave]

The one that's not yellow

What is that red and white one? (Or red-white-and-???)

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