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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Working on the Railroad: 1901

Working on the Railroad: 1901

October 1, 1901. "Track elevation and stone mixer, Chicago." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Photographic Company. View full size.

On Shorpy:
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Where is the Instrument Man?

Thirty-two years a surveyor and if I'd EVER left the level alone, my party chief would have shot me. Also, that level now (looks to me like a Wye level), while a genuine antique, would bring between five and ten thousand on the open market. Our division had two of them, both serviceable that one of our bosses ordered thrown out ("Nobody uses them anymore!") Somehow, they never made it to the dumpster.

Big four

The gents you mentioned are the big four of the Central Pacific, but the sign on that car here is the railroad nicknamed that way from its corporate title cities. Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis. The line was a subsidiary of the New York Central.

Big Four again

Officially known as CCC&StL has appeared in Shorpy before:

The rods beneath the car are truss rods. These old cars had wooden center sills and the truss rods helped support those sills. As the car aged, the frame would tend to sag, so the truss rods were tightened through turnbuckles, visible in the middle of the rods, to compensate.

Big Four

The railroad nicknamed "Big Four" was the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway. CCC&StL.

Always find it amazing

It wasn't Romance of the Rails so aptly depicted at times. Somebody had to do the actual work.

Ridin' the Rods

Was never really sure what this meant until I saw the gondola car in this picture; apparently hoboes would crawl up on the brace rods under railroad cars like this one and hang on until their destination. What a ride!

All That Scrap

That wood scrap is treasure today. And to imagine where that tongue and groove, and I'll be guessing, 2 x 6 came from, would be amazing. I would love having some of that wood now.

Big 4

I wonder if that refers to Leland Stanford, Mark Hopkins, Collis P. Huntington, and Charles Crocker - founders of the Central Pacific railroad. They were often referred to as the Big 4.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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