SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
The Shorpy Archive
9000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
Join and Share

Support Shorpy

Shorpy is funded by you. Help by purchasing a print or contributing. Learn more.

Social Shorpy


Join our mailing list (enter email):

Member Photos

Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

Colorized Photos

Colorized photos submitted by members.

About the Photos

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.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

Electro-Motive: 1910

Electro-Motive: 1910

Circa 1910. "Electric engine, Detroit River tunnel." With a plug for Royal Salad Dressing. Dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5
To stay online without a paywall or a lot of pop-up ads, Shorpy needs your help. (Our server rental alone is $3,000 a year.) You can contribute by becoming a Patron, or by purchasing a print from the Shorpy Archive. Or both! Read more about our 2019 pledge drive here. Our last word on the subject is: Thanks!

NYC/MCR 7501

7501 is a class R-1 electric locomotive 45206 built by Alco-General Electric in February 1910.

What is it Lassie? Oh, Timmy is in the tunnel!

Aerial view of the tunnel entrance, which is just beyond the fenced-in parking lot and down twenty feet or so.

Electric Railroad with Lanterns

Note the kerosene lanterns on the backs of the signals.

Shoving them through

Looks like the electric is performing the role of rear end helper, based on the position of the engineer, dwarf signal and flying flags on the pilot. He is coasting now, but will start to shove as the drag nears the bottom of the tunnel.

Subway steam

Despite the smoke problem steam engines were used in the London subway (Underground) system during the 19th century. Special vents were built at regular intervals with many disguised as houses. Some of these still exist.

Third rail shoe

There were sprung contact shoes mounted on the engine trucks. On the New York Central and its subsidiaries, the shoe contacted the bottom of the third rail, which was covered by wood on top to make it a little bit safer.

Most other rail lines and most of the subway and "El" trains use an over-running third rail -- the shoe contacts the top of the bare third rail. You do not want to fall on it!

Time machine malfunction

I would believe and not even question it if you had a date of 1940 on this one. Also, I guess the engine must be electric because there would be too much smoke in the tunnel with a coal burning steam engine. I would love to see how the engine connects with that third rail.

[Below, a setup similar to the one in our photo. - Dave]


Looks like a 100-ton General Electric loco, delivered in 1910 to Michigan Central. Operated at 600 volts DC off the shrouded third rail. Trains were standard gauge, with the third rail at one half gauge width outside.

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.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2019 Shorpy Inc.