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Night Moves: 1941
... Bogart, George Raft, Ida Lupino and Ann Sheridan. The railroads got smarter It's true, the boxcars equipped for hauling autos were ... Things were so bad that by the end of the 1950s, the railroads had largely lost the new car trade. However, by the mid 1960's ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 12/04/2018 - 5:19pm -

April 1941. "Auto convoy trucks at service station near Chicago." Medium format negative by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.
Plymouths and DodgesWe see here an assortment of 1941 Plymouths and Dodges.  The two cars on the back end of the truck on the left are Plymouths, and the two sedans in the back, on the backs of trucks (one is a light-colored sedan, covered with a tarp) are Dodges.
While trucks got larger, so did rail cars for auto transport.  First, open cars that could carry as many as 15 cars, and later, the enclosed cars we see today, that deter vandalism and theft of parts during transport.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autorack
Fin-ish ahead of their timeCars that can been seen well enough despite all the canvas look to be 1941 Dodge Custom Town Sedans. If you look closely at the rear of the first light-colored car from the left, you'll see a harbinger of Chrysler Corp. things to come: fins!
'41 PlymouthsLooks like a load of '41 Plymouths. Whoever bought them would be probably holding onto them for a few years due to war production starting in '42. My wife's great uncle had a '42 Plymouth with no chrome trim. He still had it in his barn when he died about 5 years ago. Still had the last inspection tag on it from 1969.
They Drive by Night ...1940 movie with Humphrey Bogart, George Raft, Ida Lupino and Ann Sheridan.
The railroads got smarterIt's true, the boxcars equipped for hauling autos were limited capacity, and it was easy to damage the merchandise. Things were so bad that by the end of the 1950s, the railroads had largely lost the new car trade.
However, by the mid 1960's the railroads were getting that work back. Today, a single, long multi level auto carrier with vandal resistant covering can carry 12 to 20 new cars. The highway auto carrier you see is delivering new cars to the dealers or wholesale/distributors from a railroad facility. (That is, unless you live close to an assembly plant.) 
A solid train of auto racks can carry 800 or more new vehicles; that's a lot of trucks off the road. 
Look Out, Railroads!Looks fly-by-night, but it was the future. The railroads held most of this traffic at the time, but it was in specially-equipped boxcars that tended to hold just four autos. The truckers had the same capacity, but a faster transit time and the ability to deliver to the customer no matter where they were located.
Eventually the trucks got bigger.
New AutomobilesThese were probably some of the last civilian autos produced in 1941. Car plants were converting to wartime production of everything but cars: jeeps, trucks, tanks, and even heavy bombers.
(The Gallery, Cars, Trucks, Buses, Chicago, Gas Stations, Russell Lee)

Railroad Pageant: 1939
... shell to PRR K-4 #3768, the engine on the left. Railroads on Parade Washington Post, September 24, 1939. Celeste ... Many Interesting Exhibits. Don't miss “Railroads on Parade,” the colorful pageant of the iron horses of the past ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 03/17/2013 - 4:39pm -

May 27, 1939. "New York World's Fair, railroad pageant. Final curtain, locomotives." Large-format negative by Gottscho-Schleisner. View full size.
It does my heart goodMy reaction to this image of locomotives was "Wow!"  They look absolutely beautiful. I may just have to put this print on my wish list.
What did one locomotive say to the other?Want to get together and blow off some steam?
End of that eraThe streamliner steam engine on the left represented 1939's top technology, while the old timer on the right recalled the 100-year railroad past at that time. But within 15 years, both engine types would be replaced by first-generation diesels, which still rule the rails today.
Rare ShotThis is the largest photograph I've ever seen of a Lackawanna 4-6-4.  I'm guessing she was red trimmed in gold?  Would love to see more shots taken that day, particularly if they feature the star of the fair, Pennsylvania Railroad's S-1 duplex type, a one-million pound passenger engine that ran at full speed before the crowd with its drivers positioned on rollers.  It had a very similar streamlined shell to PRR K-4 #3768, the engine on the left. 
Railroads on Parade


Washington Post, September 24, 1939.
Celeste Weyl.

Transportation Area of World's Fair Offers Visitor Many Interesting Exhibits.


Don't miss “Railroads on Parade,” the colorful pageant of the iron horses of the past and the streamlined engines of today. In 16 scenes and actual settings and costumes of the early days, actors, horses, covered wagons, stage coaches, oxen, mules and locomotives, you see the importance of transportation in the opening of this continent. Starting over 110 years ago, at the New York water-front, in the covered wagon era, the parade of actors, chorus and ballet tells the story of America's conquest of the wilderness. 

Below is a fantastic 16mm Kodachrome film of  “Railroads on Parade,” by Gustave Martens, posted to YouTube by his grandson. It lacks the Grand Finale but is clearly the same set. Beautiful color. 

Looks Can Be DeceivingThe locomotive on the right is actually newer and more modern that the one on the left. The Raymond Loewy styled Pennsylvania 4-6-2 was built in 1920 and streamlined later. The Lackawanna 4-6-4 was built just the previous year in 1938. One visible advancement in the photo, are the cast driving wheels on the Hudson, versus the old spoked drivers on the Pennsy K-4.
A great seriesThis is just part of a great series of photos on the LoC's  American Memory Gottscho-Schleisner series.  As for the 1939 World's Fair, sadly, idealism and optimism turned into cruel reality with the beginning of World War II.  The Polish and Czechoslovak exhibits didn't reopen for 1940, and some Europeans were unable to return home after the fair closed.
World's largest locomotiveThe Lackawanna Hudson here is 1151 and was renumbered "1939" specifically for this fair. In 1940 it was remodeled  (with feathers painted on the streamlining) and renumbered "1940". Also designed by Raymond Loewy was the 6-4-4-6 configuration S-1 mentioned by Lost World as running on rollers at the fair.  Its speed was a constant 60 mph, all day, and it was the prototype for what the Pennsylvania Railroad intended to replace its fleet of K4 locomotives, which were introduced in 1914.  Constructed in the PRR’s Altoona shops (very probably my father, a 38-year PRR employee, worked on it) and completed shortly before the fair, it was the largest locomotive ever built at 304 tons and just over 140 feet long. [OK, second largest. Thank you, Bob100. But it was the longest.] It was too big for most of the Pennsy trackage and less than half of its weight was on its drive wheels, two factors which gave it a very short career. The majestic S-1 was retired in 1945 and scrapped in 1949. Here’s Raymond Loewy and the S-1.  Incidentally streamlined outer panels on locomotives did little for performance and got in the way of routine maintenance.     
Driving wheelsAlthough they look different, the driving wheels on both locomotives are cast.
Re: World's Largest LocomotiveWhile a very large machine, this one is not quite the largest. That honor would go to the 4-88-4 ALCO Big Boy which ran on the UP. Rated at 6,290 hp, it weighed 548 tons. It was followed closely by the 2-66-6 Allegheny built by the Lima Locomotive Works which generated more horsepower at 7,638 but was 4 tons lighter. The C & O Railroad and the Virginian Railway employed these monsters hauling coal. There are several of both of these locomotives on static display. The third largest, the 4-66-4 ALCO Challenger weighs in at 485 tons and rated at 6,200 hp. It ran on the UP and there is one still active on excursion service.
It makes my heart race just watching videos of these machines pounding along the track. I've been around a few steamers, mostly Shays used in logging, and one thing that has always stood out is the feeling that you are near a living being. Listen closely to the sounds associated with steam engines, especially a locomotive. It's like you can hear it breathe. No wonder that so many crewmen grew attached to their machine. Each one had its own peculiar sounds due to pop valve configurations, expansion and contraction, exhaust valves, whistle, &c. Probably the nearest any manmade machine will ever come to being lifelike.
(The Gallery, Gottscho-Schleisner, NYC, Railroads)

Westbound Freight: 1943
... Office? Jack Delano seemed to specialize in photo's of railroads (and this one in particular) during WWII. But why? Historic ... from natural gas drilled in Texas. Why Photograph Railroads WWII honed logistics to a science. We had never fought a war of ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 09/05/2012 - 6:08pm -

March 1943. "Chillicothe, Illinois. Changing crews and cabooses of a westbound freight along the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad." Medium-format safety negative by Jack Delano, Office of War Information. View full size.
Why the War Information Office?Jack Delano seemed to specialize in photo's of railroads (and this one in particular) during WWII.  But why?  
Historic revelationMy dad started in Chillicothe, Il for the Santa Fe in 1939 as a switchman, by 1943 he was in Britain with the American army railway division headed to France after D-Day.  Even as cold as it looks in this photo I am sure he would rather have been in Illinois.
Lighter Than AirAnother wonderful railroad scene.  You can almost feel the chill.  It's hard to tell from this angle, but the fourth and fifth cars in front of the cabin, (caboose to you non-Pennsy fans), look very much like helium cars.
These fairly rare cars were used by the U.S. Navy to ship helium gas for their "Blimp" fleet.  They consisted of multiple horizontal tanks on a specialized flat car.  Their use was discontinued shortly after the war so they really date the photo.
He's a good photographer!Man, that Jack Delano had an eye for a photo.
Helium tank carsHelium tank cars were in use at least into the 70's. It is used in a variety industrial and medical applications. The U.S. had the monopoly on helium which was drawn from natural gas drilled in Texas.
Why Photograph RailroadsWWII honed logistics to a science. We had never fought a war of such magnitude, and documenting the inner workings of the nation as it converted to war production was valuable for tactical reasons. Virtually everything needed by a modern industrial nation and military had to move incredible distances in a short time. Railroads were the only long-distance, all-weather, heavy-duty transportation system available and they hauled everything from staples to Sherman tanks. Trucks were used, but with a national 35mph speed limit, plus gas and tire rationing, cross-country haulage as we take it for granted now was limited.  
As propaganda, these photos showed our enemies we could make guns and butter at the same time. And in the end, our ability to out-produce and move supplies ultimately secured victory.  
I believe the Office of War Information grew directly out of the Farm Home Administration photo project, where Delano had worked during the Depression. He was simply on assignment (he really wasn't railfan as we know them now, although his work is still very much appreciated and respected by us) when he took these photos. He later wrote a book "The Iron Horse at War" showcasing his cross-country wartime rail travels,  in black and white photos. 
It's not well known, but railroads also had an agenda in publicizing these photos. The War Powers act allows the government to nationalize and operate critical infrastructure (like the railroads) during a national emergency — this occurred after the US entered WWI, and the resulting United States Railroad Administration is still cited as an example of government ineptitude to this day. Railroads wanted to avoid this at all costs and made no secret of the fact they were doing twice the work with half the equipment they had in 1917 at every opportunity.    
AT&SF Ry It was the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, not AT&SF Railroad.  The Office of War Information seems to have consistently mangled this particular bit of information.
that looks a lot like thethat looks a lot like the shot from "Days of Heaven" 
Tramp?I find it interesting that there is a man with his valise standing on the right of way.  I suspect he was going to hitch a ride.
On the Road AgainNot a tramp — that's likely the conductor waiting at trackside. The waycar (caboose) is carrying marker lamps, so technically this is now a train. The switcher has completed its shove and come to a full stop, so it’s safe for the man on the ground to climb aboard. He's bent over slightly and has his right hand around the handle, so I'm guessing he's picking up his bag. 
While a crew would work between division point terminals roughly 100 or so miles apart, they could be on duty up to 16 continuous hours during this era (very common during the war with the volume of traffic and shortages of manpower). Crews would be away from their home terminal for several days, so they carried everything they needed in a small suitcase or "grip" in railroad slang. 
I believe waycars were still assigned to conductors at this time (that's why they would be changed), so he and the rear brakeman would live in the car until they got home. 
The talented Mr. DelanoI was intrigued to learn, via Wikipedia, that Jack Delano was also a classical composer of some note, including an early experimenter with electronic music techniques. Also a film director. And related by marriage to Ben Shahn.
He was born in Ukraine (birth name Ovcharov), and grew up in Pennsylvania. (Shorpy's capsule biography of him is not quite accurate: he was 9 when his family emigrated, well before the Depression.) For the last fifty years of his long life (1914-1997) he lived in Puerto Rico, where he made use of local folk material in his ballet and choral compositions. 
Helper AssignmentSince the picture was labeled as Chillicothe, it would most likely be that we are seeing the helper engine coupling onto a westbound Santa Fe train that is about to climb Edelstein Hill.  After the shove up the hill, the helper and crew would back down from Edelstein to the Chillicothe Yard.  This line is double tracked. Besides the engine crew, the helper would have carried a flagman (brakeman).  That is my take on this picture. An excellent exposure and composition.
USRA locomotive designs were classics"the resulting United States Railroad Administration is still cited as an example of government ineptitude to this day"
Oh?  Perhaps in rabidly pro-corporate and anti-government circles, but aside from the Ayn Randies many people recognized that the USRA delivered some classic locomotive designs, as well as promoting coordinated planning.  Railroad management was rarely cooperative unless colluding to screw their customers.  And not just a turn of the century thing, either  -  look at the crooks that looted the Penn-Central years later.
Helper serviceThe caption is probably correct.  Almost assuredly the locomotive is changing cabooses or making some sort of switching move on the rear of the train. The caboose looks like an old wooden style so a helper locomotive would have to be cut in ahead of it.  Also, if it were a helper, the markers would have to be placed on the rear of that locomotive, not the rear of the caboose.    
Caboose changeSeason's greetings from Germany. It certainly is a change of caboose. The switcher in the picture had just taken off the old caboose - a Sante Fé with number 1860 - and crew, while having pushed the new caboose coupled to its front and dropped off the new crew there in the coldness. Now the switcher again has returned only with the now-empty new caboose - A.T.S.F. 1743. The last of the three crew members picks up his bags and climbs aboard while the switcher puts into reverse and is ready to leave. I am the proud owner of Delanos picture book with the above information.
(The Gallery, Jack Delano, Railroads)

Levee Work: 1903
... R.R.s Can anyone identify the A&V and S.I.C.V. railroads? Reporting Mark I've only been able to find the A&V which ... Thanks for showing us a long-gone New Orleans. The railroads are the Alabama & Vicksburg, which ran between Meridian and ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 07/19/2012 - 4:35pm -

New Orleans, Louisiana, circa 1903. "Mule teams on the levee." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.
Keep OffIt seems the only way to get this photo was to disobey the signs.
JAXThe brewery has the only public washrooms in the French Quarter, a dangerous situation in a city that sells beer on the streets!
Jax BreweryThe Brewery is now shops.
BreathtakingThe photographer had a true artist's eye.
R.R.sCan anyone identify the A&V and S.I.C.V. railroads?
Reporting MarkI've only been able to find the A&V which was the Alabama & Vicksburg. The SICL (not SICV) is a mystery. 
All that's leftbesides the Jax Brewery is one of the four industrial buildings about midway down the levee (and the corner of Clay and Bienville) and I think that's the spire of St. Patrick's Church in the background.
Thanks for showing us a long-gone New Orleans.
The railroadsare the Alabama & Vicksburg, which ran between Meridian and Vicksburg. It later became part of the Illinois Central's greater Meridian to Shreveport line. The road has quite the history; it was first proposed in the 1830s.
As for the SICL (figuring this out took me a good half-hour), it's the Southern Iron Car Line, which according to The Railway Age of December 9, 1904, was a freight car provider.
(The Gallery, DPC, Horses, New Orleans, Railroads)

Owego: 1901
... Most of the building shown are still there. Owego Railroads The tracks very visible in this view were of the Delaware, ... in this picture. (The Gallery, Boats & Bridges, DPC, Railroads, Small Towns) ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 11/28/2022 - 10:39pm -

Tioga County, New York, circa 1901. "General view -- Owego, N.Y., and Susquehanna River." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Photographic Company. View full size.
Where's the People?Here's the bridge, here's the steeple.
If you're looking for the people,
they might all be at Kenyon's for the savin's.
Owego forwardThis isn't quite the view, but anything closer to the original is blocked by trees. The bridge is different, but it still seems to be using the original piers. The tracks have been replaced by a state road, NY-96.

Right down the road!Owego is a quant little town with a lot of hidden gems. The bridge was rebuilt about 20 years back and is architectually beautiful. Thanks for sharing this photo!
Ticket to ride?Did we miss the train or is it pulling into the station?  Hmmmm...
Thank goodness!We've avoided another Menomonie, Wisconsin.  To remove confusion, in 1813 the (I assume state) legislature had the towns of Owego and Tioga switch names so Owego village would be in the same-named town.  We have no knot to untangle here.
Mom still lives hereShe grew up in the area and still lives in Owego. I visit a few times a year. Lovely town with lots of original buildings and architecture. Most of the building shown are still there. 
Owego RailroadsThe tracks very visible in this view were of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad. Also running through the town was the Erie Railroad, and those tracks are still present and in operation. The Erie's tracks ran some distance north and through the town itself, so not visible in this picture. In 1958, the Lackawanna and Erie came to an agreement where the Lackawanna would operate over the Erie's tracks from Binghamton to Buffalo, thus abandoning the trackage seen in this picture.
(The Gallery, Boats & Bridges, DPC, Railroads, Small Towns)

Clinton: 1943
... on the left and still exists today. Two depots, three railroads The Chicago & Northwestern passenger depot is the large ... Town Many photos and info about the depots and railroads that served Clinton. (The Gallery, Jack Delano, Railroads) ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 10/26/2016 - 5:17pm -

March 1943. "Freight operations on the Chicago & North Western between Chicago and Clinton, Iowa. The train going through Clinton to the yard two miles beyond." Photo by Jack Delano, Office of War Information. View full size.
Station building on the leftSeems to still be there....

Two depotsI believe that would be the C,B&Q's depot on the right. It's long gone and before my time but they had, and still do by trackage rights, access to Clinton from the Quad Cities. The Northwestern's depot is on the left and still exists today.
Two depots, three railroadsThe Chicago & Northwestern passenger depot is the large structure in the background on the left.  The smaller depot to the right is actually the CB&Q (Burlington Route) station, which I believe was also used by the CMStP&P (Milwaukee Road).  Both the CB&Q depot and the interlocking tower in the far background are now gone, but the C&NW depot was still standing when I visited Clinton about two years ago.
Depot detailsClinton Iowa, Railroad Town
Many photos and info about the depots and railroads that served Clinton.
(The Gallery, Jack Delano, Railroads)

Over the Ash Pit: 1942
... had been formed. (The Gallery, Chicago, Jack Delano, Railroads) ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 06/25/2024 - 10:36am -

December 1942. "Chicago, Illinois. Locomotive over the ash pit at the roundhouse at a Chicago & North Western railyard." Photo by Jack Delano, Office of War Information. View full size.
Low and SlowSmall driving wheels means this locomotive didn't go very fast but undoubtedly had a lot of power.  
The need for continuous maintenance including dumping ashes, cleaning out boilers and flues, adding water and fuel and lubricating the running gear is what ultimately doomed these machines.  A diesel locomotive could run for weeks only stopping for fuel and some brief checks of oil and cooling water. 
This is the colorized version.With all that ash and soot the colorized and original would probably look identical.
Hi Octrain"Fill 'er up with High Test, and check the oil and wipers please."
Stormy Day on ShorpyNote the great looking Stormy Kromer hat on the engineer. 
George "Stormy" Kromer was a semi-pro baseball player and a locomotive engineer for the C&NW who all too often seemed to lose his hat when he stuck his head out of his locomotive cab window. He asked his wife Ida to sew an ear flap onto one of his baseball caps. The intent was to both keep his ears warm and to make the fit of his hat more snug. Fellow engineers and rail workers loved the idea so much that by 1903 the Kromer Cap Company had been formed. 
(The Gallery, Chicago, Jack Delano, Railroads)

Tulsa Tankers: 1942
... (The Gallery, Industry & Public Works, John Vachon, Railroads) ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 06/25/2024 - 10:23am -

October 1942. "Tulsa, Oklahoma. Loading rack at the Mid-Continent refinery, Tulsa station of the Great Lakes pipeline." Photo by John Vachon, Office of War Information. View full size.
Virtually still thereAt least the building to the right is still standing. 
(The Gallery, Industry & Public Works, John Vachon, Railroads)

Toledo: 1909
... Publishing Company. View full size. Long gone railroads These railroads are so long-gone, that the companies that took these over are also ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 10/22/2011 - 7:24am -

Toledo, Ohio, circa 1909. "Maumee River waterfront." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.
Long gone railroadsThese railroads are so long-gone, that the companies that took these over are also long-gone.
Hocking Valley Ry became part of Chesapeake and Ohio, which is in turn part of today's CSX Transportation.
Toledo and Ohio Central and Kanawha and Michigan were both absorbed by New York Central System. NYC as part of Conrail, was split up between Norfolk Southern and CSX Trans.
Hocking Valley, Kanawha and Michigan and Toledo & Ohio Centraland ... lots of Hocking Valley Railway, Kanawha and Michigan Railroad and Toledo and Ohio Central Railroad train cars to be seen.
Toledo? You ask how I know of Toledo, Ohio,
Well, I spent a week there, one day
They've got entertainment to dazzle your eyes
Go visit the bakery and watch the buns rise.
Code BreakerI wonder if all transmissions aboard the Jay C. Morse are done in code.
Spotted over above right, a roof hoarding advertising the Snow Flake Laundry, what a great name, hopefully not too indicitive of the weather patterns in Toledo.
Jay C. MorseThe ore freighter is named for the industrialist co-founder of one of the era's most powerful steel and mining companies (Pickands, Mather & Co.). In 1899, at age sixty, Jay Morse married Seville Hanna, the widow of his business partner James Pickands and sister of the sitting president's "Karl Rove," Mark Hanna. Morse died August 22, 1906, and on July 21, 1907 his widow helped to launch the steamship bearing his name.       
Is it live, or is it Memorex?Please excuse the audio reference to obviously visual dilemma.
This looks like the most awesome HO train setting I've ever seen!
SS. Jay C. Morse Photographed here in her first year on the lakes, the Jay C. Morse, AmShip Cleveland hull #438, was in service for over seven decades. After a final few years as a lowly storage barge, she was scrapped in the 1980s.   Her wheelhouse, removed prior to commitment to the scrapyard, was saved and made into a maritime museum in her last port, Goderich, Ontario.  Comparison of the the 1908 photograph with the preserved wheelhouse/museum indicate either substantial rebuilding of the bridge or complete replacement during some mid-life refit.
Boatnerd.com has a 1980 photo of her during her final years as a grain storage barge.



The Scanner, Toronto Marine Historical Society, 1978.

The bulk carrier Jay C. Morse which was acquired early in the spring of 1965 from the Interlake Steamship Company and renamed Shelter Bay (II). After operating Shelter Bay for the 1965 season, Q & O [Quebec And Ontario Transportation Co.] decided that the ship was in need of reboilering. It was not thought that the cost of new boilers for such an elderly vessel could be justified and so Q & O searched for some good used boilers which might be obtained at a more reasonable price. The company did not have far to look and decided to purchase from Marine Salvage Ltd. the boilers which were then ensconced in Bayton.
In due course, workmen went aboard Bayton and commenced pulling apart the old girl's after cabin. Her stack removed and a hole chopped down through her upper decks, the Babcock and Wilcox water tube boilers were lifted from the vessel and were carted 'round to the West Street Wharf in Port Colborne where Shelter Bay was lying. During the summer of 1966, the boilers were installed in Shelter Bay and she has operated with them ever since. Q & O, however, might better have searched elsewhere for boilers rather than taking third-hand equipment for the conversion. In recent years, Shelter Bay has been plagued with boiler problems and a particularly nasty spate of difficulties during 1977 threatened to send the boat to the scrapyard. She was reactivated in 1978 for one further year of operation but continued struggles to keep the well-worn boilers in serviceable condition are almost certain to bring the ship to the end of her career at the close of the current navigation season.




The Scanner, Toronto Marine Historical Society, 1979. 

The latter steamer [Shelter Bay (II)] went to Goderich last autumn with storage grain and was sold to the Goderich Elevator and Transit Company Ltd. for use as a storage barge. She was briefly renamed Shelter B. (perhaps unofficially) but has since been rechristened D.B. Weldon (II).



The Lightship, Port Huron Museum, 1999.

[Shelter Bay of Q & O] would become the D.B. Weldon (2) and, in 1981, her forward cabins and wheelhouse would be removed to become the Maritime Museum now in display at the harbor [Goderich, Ontario].

(The Gallery, Boats & Bridges, DPC, Railroads, Toledo)

On the Rocks: 1942
... View full size. (The Gallery, Chicago, Jack Delano, Railroads) ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 06/25/2024 - 10:28am -

December 1942. "Chicago, Illinois. Icing a refrigerator car in the freight house at a Chicago & North Western railyard." Photo by Jack Delano for the Office of War Information. View full size.
(The Gallery, Chicago, Jack Delano, Railroads)

Public Square: 1900
... replaced the horsecars on its line in 1893. Western Railroads TerryN, thanks for pointing out the CM&StP sign in the window. ... Rock Island. The interesting thing is that none of these railroads served Cleveland, at least not directly. They all went from Chicago ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 04/07/2023 - 11:19am -

Circa 1900. "City Square. Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, Cleveland." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Photographic Company. View full size.
The May Co. BuildingWow, looks like the predecessor of the modern curtain-wall  design. Large lights of 1/4" plate glass no doubt. Would love to see some architectural drawings of that facade.
Chicago Milwaukee & St. Paul Soon to become The Milwaukee Road, with Hiawatha service to almost anywhere.  Brook Stevens who designed their rail cars would have (maybe did) marveled at the May Co. building of the future.
I'm marveling at in this picture.  Probably 50 years before its time.
No rebellious women?One would think there would have been at least one daring young woman who would have had the gumption to wear a black blouse with a light colored skirt, just to be a little outrageous and stand out, but nooooo.  Times sure have changed in the area of seeking attention through outrageous fashion and personal appearance.  Or maybe today's girls just feel more comfortable expressing themselves, which certainly does make street scenes more interesting.  
Where's the Cable Car?http://www.cable-car-guy.com/html/ccohio.html#cccr
According to the above link, the cable car slots under the trolley car were used for another year until 1901, even thought the St. Clair trolley car in the foreground had directly replaced the horsecars on its line in 1893.
Western RailroadsTerryN, thanks for pointing out the CM&StP sign in the window. The same building also has signs for the Burlington Route and Rock Island. The interesting thing is that none of these railroads served Cleveland, at least not directly. They all went from Chicago westward. So their offices in Cleveland must have been for exchange of freight between eastern and western railroads, I suppose.
Euclid BeachA year later, the Humphrey family would take over Euclid Beach Park east of the city, and turn it into a legend.
You can still buy their popcorn at many stores in NE Ohio.
The Edison patented lightbulb goes onAfter seeing so many flagless giant flagpoles on major buildings here on Shorpy, it finally dawned on me that they were not intended for a US flag, but for advertising/corporate ID, as can be seen here.
Inside the Monument?It appears that there is a door leading into the monument itself.  Does anyone know what this leads to and is the interior still accessible?  Secret enterance to the Great Lakes Brewing Company tasting room perhaps?
[What's inside the Civil War monument is addressed in the comments here. - Dave]
May Co. reduxHere's a later view of the May Co. building, greatly expanded.
One has to wonder if this postcard is again the work of Detroit Publishing.
The gardensI like the surrounding gardens that have been made into the shapes of Unit or Division emblems and heroism awards.
(The Gallery, Cleveland, DPC, Streetcars)

Elko County: 1940
... Security Administration. View full size. Three railroads In this shot looking northwest from the US 93 overpass, the tracks ... the 1990s. (The Gallery, Arthur Rothstein, Landscapes, Railroads) ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 01/30/2018 - 9:58am -

March 1940. "Southern Pacific track approaching Wells, Elko County, Nevada." Photo by Arthur Rothstein for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.
Three railroadsIn this shot looking northwest from the US 93 overpass, the tracks below belong to Southern Pacific.  In the far background at left, the Western Pacific tracks go under US 40.  And the through truss bridge in the distance is the Union Pacific's branch down from Twin Falls, Idaho, now long gone. Union Pacific now operates the former SP and WP lines, having absorbed them in the 1990s.
(The Gallery, Arthur Rothstein, Landscapes, Railroads)

Château Frontenac: 1900
... look up. (The Gallery, DPC, Railroads) ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 06/08/2024 - 8:42pm -

Circa 1900. "Château Frontenac & Dufferin Terrace, Quebec City." This majestic hotel, constructed by the Canadian Pacific Railway on a bluff overlooking the St. Lawrence River, opened in 1893. 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Photographic Company. View full size.
Much larger nowPossibly the most prestigious hotel in eastern Canada, the Chateau Frontenac has been greatly expanded since 1900.
Montgomery Clift didn't want to look upIn Hitchcock's "I Confess" (1953), Montgomery Clift plays a priest who is charged with murder. In one scene, the priest exits the courthouse into a hostile crowd; he looks up to see people staring down at him from a window in the Chateau Frontenac. 
It was reliably reported that Clift, a Method actor, caused considerable delay in shooting because he wasn't convinced the priest had "motivation" to look up.





(The Gallery, DPC, Railroads)

Gasometer Going Up: 1913
... Gallery, Detroit Photos, DPC, Industry & Public Works, Railroads) ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 06/13/2024 - 12:45pm -

May 9, 1913. "Detroit City Gas Company, north end of gas holder." (Some assembly required.) 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.
Uhhh ...Not gonna ask anything about the uses of Car No. 9.
MiscalculationEr, we're gonna need a bigger crane.
Human ingenuityI once sent in a comment about a beautiful steam locomotive saying that if there were a museum of the ten most ingenious examples of human design and accomplishment, then they’d have to include that fine shiny loco.  I think this gasometer qualifies for inclusion in that museum, too, when you consider the design, the fabrication of all the components, the delivery, and then the assembly.  Not a trifling accomplishment, and one of which humankind ought to be justifiably proud.  Sometimes we are very clever monkeys.
Yup, I rememberThere were three or four of these back in the '60s when I grew up; I remember the one near Detroit City Airport that had a red and white checkered top and a neon sign on top that said "GAS IS BEST" and it blinked. Dad used to take us to the airport to sit and watch the planes land and take off. I never got on a plane until 1999. 
[By the 1960s, "city gas" (aka coal gas or illuminating gas), as well as gasometers or gas holders, were long gone from most places (except Sylvia Plath's oven in the UK). "Gas Is Best" almost certainly meant natural gas. - Dave]
Past gasHere's a discussion with Detroit old-timers. They recall that some Detroit gasometers (or gas holders) survived into the late 1960s. Natural gas pipelines came into Detroit in the late 1930s, making coal gas production obsolete. The gasometers were still used, though:
In the second half of the 20th century, the rise of natural gas distribution via gas pipelines supplanted that system [coal gas production] and the existing gas holders were used (in a less crucial capacity) for managing the pressure of the natural gas pipelines, until the holders reached the end of their useful lifespan.
(The Gallery, Detroit Photos, DPC, Industry & Public Works, Railroads)

Over the River: 1902
... account of Kate on the net as well. Boone-area railroads Boone and Scenic Valley (with their Chinese-built steam loco) ... a stereoview of this somewhere... (The Gallery, DPC, Railroads, W.H. Jackson) ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/03/2012 - 3:04pm -

"Chicago & North Western viaduct over Des Moines River near Boone, Iowa" ca. 1902. Photo by William Henry Jackson. Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.
Kate Shelley High BridgeThat's the Kate Shelley High Bridge, which had just opened when this photo was taken. Since the 1880s, Iowa schoolchildren have learned how its namesake, 15-year-old Kate, went to heroic lengths to warn an approaching train that a (different) bridge had washed out. A new span is being constructed next to it, with completion due in June 2009. For the story of the bridge, Kate, and its replacement, click here.  To see it today (with its replacement nearly completed) click here.
3, 2, 1, spit!That's a line they haven't ripped out, thankfully. Here's a photo of a steam loco they use on their scenic railway.
I love trains......and this is an amazing picture of one.  Wow.
William Henry JacksonIt's terrific to see another image by William Henry Jackson, the great photographer of the American West. Jackson, who lived to 99, had an extraordinary career--he even worked on 'Gone With the Wind'!--this 70 years after he was taking his most famous landscape photos. He was also one of the longest surviving Civil War veterans.
High BridgeI think the photo would be a little later than 1900 as photos of the bridge under construction, which were displayed in the old CNW headquarters at Boone, are dated 1903 by the photographer.
High Bridge VideoKateFound this anonymous account of Kate on the net as well.
Boone-area railroadsBoone and Scenic Valley (with their Chinese-built steam loco) operate on trackage previously owned by the one-time electric line Fort Dodge, Des Moines, and Southern. Chicago and Northwestern routes (including the Kate Shelley High Bridge) are now part of Union Pacific.
Please pleaseplease please let there be a stereoview of this somewhere...
(The Gallery, DPC, Railroads, W.H. Jackson)

Night Movers: 1943
... The term Dave's title plays on was known in 1943 from railroads shifting rolling stock overnight. In the years since it has acquired ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 07/06/2024 - 11:34am -

February 1943. "New York, New York. Associated Transport Company trucking terminal on Washington Street. Loading goods on a southbound transport." Medium format acetate negative by John Vachon for the Office of War Information. View full size.
Night MovesThe term Dave's title plays on was known in 1943 from railroads shifting rolling stock overnight. In the years since it has acquired considerable cultural presence, first as the title of a 1974 noir film starring Gene Hackman, whose character plays chess (with tricky 'knight moves').  In 1976 Bob Seger took it as the title of a song about adolescent love, saying the impetus came from 'American Graffiti'. Seger's song subsequently appeared in the movies 'FM' and 'American Pop', Then in 2013 it became the title of another thriller movie, directed by Kelly Reichardt.
Traditional DiscountI'll gladly take one of whatever falls off of the truck. 
(The Gallery, Cars, Trucks, Buses, John Vachon, NYC)

Switchcraft: 1943
... suggested a return to the link & pin. Fortunately, the railroads were making more money hauling longer trains with the new coupler and ... by around 1980. (The Gallery, Chicago, Jack Delano, Railroads) ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 04/22/2024 - 11:36pm -

March 1943. "Chicago, Illinois. Switchmen riding one of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe diesel switch engines." Photo by Jack Delano for the Office of War Information. View full size.
Tough GuysYou do not want to be a hobo riding the rails and run into these two!
No expense sparedNote that the AT&SF went with fancy raised metal numbers on the engine's number plate when Baldwin built this engine for them in 1939.  Simply painting the numbers would have been a lot cheaper.
ColdWool pants and coats, heavy mitts, hats over the ears – it’s definitely cold here.  Plus I like the twin ciggies.
Baldwin VO-1000According to my ATSF all-time diesel guide, #2202 was a Baldwin VO-1000 delivered in 1939. Prior to seeing this photo, I didn't know that the Santa Fe received VO-1000 locos that had an oval radiator grille instead of the later rectangular one.
Baldwin 62303The build plate is next to Lefty's right glove. No. 62303 was Baldwin's third VO-1000 diesel, completed 12/12/1939

Link & Pin Days RemnantIt's surprising to see that the knuckle of the coupler has the slot across its face that would have allowed it to couple with the link & pin coupler system outlawed around 1900. The early Janey couplers came with the slot for the transition period between the systems. That slot weakened the knuckle and they failed to the point that some suggested a return to the link & pin. Fortunately, the railroads were making more money hauling longer trains with the new coupler and the number of brakemen losing fingers and hands started to recede from the tens per day that had been the norm.        
Love those coats... and if you've never experienced the warmth of winter weight wool pants on a cold Northern day, you're missing out.  Our ancestors knew how to handle the weather in a way we too often do not.
Yeah, it was coldThere's no fashion involved for those two - March of '43 started out colder than normal and those two knew how to keep warm. I bet they had some good wool underneath as well.
Baldwin DieselsBaldwin was a large successful manufacturer of steam locomotives that struggled to make the transition to diesel power and eventually exited the market in the mid 1950's.   
This early offering illustrates some of Baldwin's thinking including an indestructible cast steel frame, the cast numerals for the locomotive number, and the electrical receptacles on the top corner of the front hood that could be used to plug in marker lights attached to the side brackets.   Baldwin would soon economize this design with a flat grille for the radiators and a painted road number.  Here is sister 2252 near the end of her career in 1966 with different trucks and a rakish multi-stack exhaust.   https://www.railpictures.net/photo/392182/ 
Riding the footboardsOnce a very common practice, it was obviously quite dangerous - one slip when riding on a moving locomotive would put you directly under the wheels, which as you can imagine led to a horrific result.  The practice was eventually outlawed in the 1970s and all footboards on existing locomotives removed by around 1980.
(The Gallery, Chicago, Jack Delano, Railroads)

Information Retrieval: 1942
... also useful to keep the numbers in perspective: American railroads handled 53 billion passenger miles in 1942 (many of them on ... hanger. (Technology, The Gallery, D.C., Gordon Parks, Railroads) ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 03/28/2024 - 10:55am -

November 1942. "Washington, D.C. Clerk and ticket seller searching for reservations at the Union Station." Acetate negative by Gordon Parks, Office of War Information. View full size.
Washington, Baltimore and Un-app-olisMany of us, I think, look on scenes like this, and are amazed at how - or simply  that - the world functioned in the the pre-digital age.  It is impressive, but it's also useful to keep the numbers in perspective: American railroads handled 53 billion passenger miles in 1942 (many of them on unreserved, short distance trips), American airlines today handle more than 600 billion passenger miles (almost all of them on reserved tickets) ... so those would be some big cabinets.
Analog vs. digitalImagine what happens if that system "crashes" -- and that the data needs to be reconstructed. 
I wonder whether there are reports on customer satisfaction and reliability of those old analog physical reservation systems. Whether they lost more reservations than today's digital booking systems. 
How does this work?I've always assumed reservations in the "old days" were tracked via calendar; but that doesn't seem to be the case here.  I'm counting each drawer holds eight rows of 28 hooks, so no obvious system I can think of (I got close with seven days in a week and 26 letters in the alphabet).  There are lots of papers on almost every hook, but no hook labels to indicate dates, last names, or trains.  So, how did our hard-working lady look up reservations?  She had to have had a system to immediately go to the correct hook.
SpillageI don’t get how a lot of those tickets don’t dump out of their slots, upside down, when the drawer is closed, even with the hooks.  I’m trying to imagine the big drawer closing, moving through 90 degrees, leaving much of the ticket load dangling or sliding out of their slots and off their hooks.  And although I see only one fingernail, I do like her nail polish.
Filing SystemThey appear to use destination as key. One of the packets is labeled Miami, Florida. 
Ticket RetentionLook closely and you will see that there’s a hole in the middle of the ticket and it’s suspended from an L-shaped wire hanger.
(Technology, The Gallery, D.C., Gordon Parks, Railroads)

VRR: 1943
... a given track by about 50%, according to Kip Farrington's "Railroads at War". Given that Chicago is a choke point for railroad traffic ... used mainly by the Pennsylvania, Alton, and Burlington railroads. Another tower controlled the north end, used by the Milwaukee Road. ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 05/05/2024 - 4:33pm -

February 1943. "Chicago, Illinois. In the interlocking tower at Union Station. It is here that all inbound and outbound traffic is controlled. The men work entirely by the board, hardly ever looking out of a window to see an actual train." Acetate negative by Jack Delano for the Office of War Information. View full size.
Famous Hollywood facesIn the foreground we have Martin Balsam.  In the back, we have James Millhollin.
Foreboding captionThese men must have known deep down that if what they were doing depended only on watching the lights on the board, soon enough the men wouldn't be needed.
Union Switch and Signal CompanyLooks like the same  interlocking machine controller used at the Harris Switch Tower in PA:

Sometimes — Things Go Bump!This interlocking tower overlooks a portion of the trackage that had encountered a bit of a mishap on March 10, 1954 when the Burlington Zephyr failed to stop at a red signal and collided with the departing Pennsylvania Railroad's Liberty Limited. This would have occurred at the area of trackage shown on the 'model board' or track diagram directly above the clock in the Delano photo. Twelve passengers on the Liberty Limited were treated for minor injuries. 
A brakeman should have been stationed at the rear of the Zephyr's observation car where there is a brake valve provided to stop the backing train if needed and it certainly looks like it was needed in this situation. The interlocking tower would be located directly above the photographer in the attached photo.
Heckuva remote control!Today there might be an app for that!
Centralized Traffic Control, I believeI believe we're looking at an early "centralized traffic control" module, and the net effect of it was to increase the allowable number of trains on a given track by about 50%, according to Kip Farrington's "Railroads at War".   Given that Chicago is a choke point for railroad traffic to this day, this was an incredibly big deal for getting war supplies to the front.
Not the only oneThis tower controlled the south end of Union Station, used mainly by the Pennsylvania, Alton, and Burlington railroads. Another tower controlled the north end, used by the Milwaukee Road.
For many years, I commuted via the Burlington (CB&Q, Chicago, Burlington and Quincy; later Burlington Northern). 
(Technology, The Gallery, Chicago, Jack Delano, Railroads)

Lil Shuckers: 1906
... slice of the Gulf Coast will disappear too. Oyster Railroads North & South, Vol. 3, 1904. Oysters and ... the ships come in and pull up alongside the little "oyster railroads" with their miniature trains of cars standing easy to receive them. ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/15/2012 - 3:53pm -

Biloxi, Mississippi, circa 1906. "Point oyster houses." Just add ice and beer. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.
Point CadetThis is known locally as Point Cadet (pronounced "Point Cady" for you Yankees). Oyster, crab and shrimp processing have been done in this location for years. This area was damaged by Hurricane Camille in 1969 and devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Gambling casinos are now occupying much of the this seafood processing area.
Sad News from the GulfThe news this week is that the 2011 oyster season may have to be canceled, because of too much fresh water entering the Gulf this Spring.  With the recent hurricane, oil spill, and now the floods, the booming oyster business of the coast is in danger of disappearing, and with it a unique slice of the Gulf Coast will disappear too.
Oyster Railroads


North & South, Vol. 3, 1904. 


Oysters and Fish
Gulf Coast Canning Industry — Oysters, Shrimp, Figs — A Fisherman's Paradise. 

…
Scattered along the coast between Mobile and New Orleans are many great oyster canning factories where from September until May the business of pulling up the giant product of the Sound is carried on. Biloxi has the largest factory in the world, and quite a group of the canners are congregated here so that the name of this city is synonymous with that of oysters, and is perhaps the most widely known of any on the Gulf Coast.
…
At the oyster wharves an interesting scene is enacted when the ships come in and pull up alongside the little "oyster railroads" with their miniature trains of cars standing easy to receive them. With automatic hoists the oysters are lifted to the wharf and emptied into the cars. When filled each train runs into the factory where a picturesque line of Bohemians, men, women and children, awaits them and falls to opening the shells as soon as they are steamed. The dexterity with which they learn to extract the bivalve is fascinating. As their tin cups are filled they are paid in cash. Shuckers make from 60 cents to $1.25 per day and besides this wage, receive free houses, fuel and water from their employers. Labor is an ever-present problem with the oyster canners— most of it comes from Baltimore, but the briefness of the season and lack of all year round employment deters many from making the long journey to the coast, especially if they are certain or steady work elsewhere.

Lack of oystersThis happens every time they have to open the Bonnet Carre spillway. The influx of fresh water kills the oysters. They will be back next year, barring another flood. The oil really didn't bother the oysters much at all.
(The Gallery, Boats & Bridges, DPC)

Red Comb Feeds: 1943
... of railroading a threat to life and limb. All of the railroads represented by the boxcars here are long gone. Fallen Flags PM ... look as if being painted. (The Gallery, Jack Delano, Railroads) ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 04/13/2024 - 9:40pm -

January 1943. Riverdale, Illinois. "Freight operations of the Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad. Grain elevator and mill at a siding of the Harbor Belt's Blue Island Yard south of Chicago." Medium format acetate negative by Jack Delano for the Office of War Information. View full size.
Water StopToday's photographer might use AI to remove the arm (water stop?) from the image. Or maybe not.
Perhaps the tall stack as well.
I say, leave 'em in -- they're part of the story.
A dangerous job made worseSleet or freezing rain has been the order of the day here. Everything is covered with a glaze of ice, making the easiest tasks of railroading a threat to life and limb. 
All of the railroads represented by the boxcars here are long gone.
Fallen FlagsPM Pere Marquette
CCC&StL Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati & St. Louis "Big 4"
NYC New York Central
SL-SF St Louis-San Francisco "The Frisco"
DT&I Detroit, Toledo & Ironton "We Have the Connections" Henry Ford's RR
It used to be fun to see how many different carriers cars were in a freight train. Now unmarked private cars (reporting marks end in X) go sliding by incognito. 
Freezing hazemade buildings in the background look as if being painted.
(The Gallery, Jack Delano, Railroads)

Chenoa Depot: 1905
... -- things are getting busy in Chenoa! So here are the two railroads mentioned earlier, resulting in the station being called a union ... a distant signal for the interlocking limits ahead. Two railroads went through town, the Chicago and Alton (C&A), and the Toledo ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/21/2012 - 12:39pm -

Circa 1905. "Station & buildings at Chenoa, Illinois." Plus: circus posters! 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.
Changes in a few yearsHere's a post card found online, dated c. 1911, that shows the station from another side. It looks to be the wrong size at first glance, but refer back to the Shorpy photo and note how oversize the doors and windows are compared to the man checking out the postings by the door.
A row of trees have been planted. The express company building appears to be moved or removed by about 1911. 
Diamonds/crossings and new track are in place right by the station -- things are getting busy in Chenoa! So here are the two railroads mentioned earlier, resulting in the station being called a union depot in the post card inscription.
In the 1911 picture, I wonder how long that (electric?) line lasted hanging over the tracks? It had to have been blasted by stack exhaust from engines that passed under it.

Circus stars leave townI see the trunk escape artists are waiting on the platform.
WaitingFor the 5:25 from Joliet.
OS ChenoaTo bad Bobby Troup didn’t roll Chenoa into his famous tune, “Route 66.“ Looks like a train departing after dropping off freight for the United States Express Company to handle. Train order board is at stop, most likely for the occupied block the departing train is in. My guess is that the smaller semaphore is a distant signal for the interlocking limits ahead.  Two railroads went through town, the Chicago and Alton (C&A), and the Toledo Peoria and Western (TP&W). The TPW is still at it, owned by Rail America. I get a glimpse of their trains in Kentland, Indiana now and again while rambling on highway 41. The old C&A is now part of the Union Pacific. Can only wonder which main is pictured.    
Graffiti or signage?Look to the right at that smaller structure. I think I see a prancing horse painted on a panel. 
[That's a seal on one of the circus posters mentioned in the caption. - Dave]
When railroads interesctYou end up with beautiful little Midwest towns like this. Even today it's hard to find towns this small except in the middle of nowhere whose form and function derived from being on a rail line.  It's still a small beautiful town.
Passing ByThis past March, my wife and I drove past Chenoa on I-55.  We were returning to the Bull City from a Shorpy-inspired visit to Dwight. I guess next time we'll stop in Chenoa.
(The Gallery, DPC, Railroads)

The Woman in the Window: 1943
... ... A "Happy Blending" (The Gallery, John Vachon, Railroads, WW2) ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 04/16/2024 - 11:25pm -

May 1943. "Beaumont, Texas. Wartime occupational replacement by women in men's traditional jobs. Lady in signal tower who operates block signals for railroad crossing." Medium format acetate negative by John Vachon for the Office of War Information. View full size.
Just add window boxesTwo fallen flags --
MEC Maine Central: The Pine Tree Route
T&NO Texas & New Orleans:  a subsidiary of the Southern Pacific Railroad
Whether it's a tower to control trains or highway gates, it is well-built, airy, and in need of some flower boxes to complement this sturdy structure    
I wonderif the lady managed to get his attention. He seems to be engrossed on his phone?
NOT An Easy JobThis is not an easy job. 
In my young days before I came to the USA, I was a conductor Guard on British Railways (as it was known then). Part of the training was to observe the signalman in the signal box (as they were called back then), and to see how that job functioned. 
The strength needed to pull those levers was tantamount to doing the job correctly.
Kudos to that lady for doing that job.
You kids drive me nuts!She's clearly yelling at the brakeman to stay off his dang smartphone while he's working
WWII -- Replacing men with women at the railroad crossing.Postwar world -- Replacing both with automatic machinery.
Just a Year Too SoonThe film noir "Woman in the Window" premiered in 1944 with an innocent Clark Kent-like Edward G. Robinson becoming involved with a beguiling woman and a murder.
Texas Flyer wantedIs there a a ladder hidden behind the signal box, or is that what we're seeing on the leg in the foreground?  (If so, it looks rather difficult to climb).  But regardless, this appears to be a position where getting to work is the hardest part.
[There's also a ladder on top of the signal box. - Dave]
Indeed, but I believe she'd have a hard time reaching it.
She's leaningOut to get a better look at the shoe store on the other side of the tracks.  Never know, there might be a good sale on TRAINers.
Casement windowsTrue industrial type with metal lace-like light frame, suitable for the warmer climate, that I am especially fond of. Contemporary architecture with "industrial windows" employed but with frames thick as an elephant's leg is completely missing the point.
Daddy! That's MY Daddy!Reminds me of a video I saw where the train engineer (& father) would take the time to lean out & deliberately wave as he passed his home each day. Seeing his delighted toddler son exclaim "Daddy! That's MY Daddy!" while being held in his laughing mother's arms warms the heart. 
Clear Heads Choose ...A "Happy Blending"
(The Gallery, John Vachon, Railroads, WW2)

TICKETS: 1943
... at least on this day? (The Gallery, John Vachon, Railroads, Small Towns, WW2) ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 04/19/2024 - 6:37pm -

April 1943. "San Augustine, Texas. Story of a small town. The waiting room in the railroad station." Acetate negative by John Vachon for the Office of War Information. View full size.
$100 RewardAs best I can read the sign, the city of San Augustine is offering a $100 reward ($1,805 today) for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone guilty of arson.  It's signed by the mayor of San Augustine.  Dave -- how close did I get?
San Augustine is in East Texas, home of large tracts of piney woods.  Arson is serious business there.
Click to embiggen

If I were a blindfolded time traveler ... and placed in this station, I'd be able to identify where I was by the way it smelled: a mixture of coal smoke, stale cigar smoke, and the faint aroma of a spittoon in the corner. In the late 1940s Midwest, I remember taking the train with my grandmother 15 miles into the local "big town" (population 20,000) for a day of shopping. Every small town had a train station. Gone forever, sadly.
What?!?"Are you telling me there is no separate ladies waiting room?"
Possibly still there? This old building on Google Maps has small-town-train-station characteristics, anyway.
Oh that stove!My maternal grandparents had a stove just like that in Crosby, Mississippi -- it did a fine job keeping the farmhouse warm and even toasty. I was too young to have to chop the wood, but loved making a fire in the mornings.
That waiting room is about the size of their entire house, or maybe half the size.
Memories ...
Smoke Consumer Also CooksIf you have one of these buried in your barn, pull it out and eBay it. Depending on condition and age it could be worth anywhere from $1,000 to $4,250.
On top were plates to keep your coffee hot and maybe toast that sandwich Mom packed for you.
Relocated in the EightiesAccording to a book on San Augustine history, the railroad that owned the station - the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe - decided to sell the depot in 1985. It was purchased by two local civic leaders, who moved it to their farm and restored it as a railroad museum.  
Sheriff's SignatureAsa Elijah Rushing (1882 - 1954) and his brother Alonzo Oliver Rushing (1885 - 1971) operated a (the?) drugstore in San Augustine, Texas. In addition, they both served as mayor. Alonzo was sheriff when this picture was taken. The signature is A. E. Rushing. 
What's your hurry, where's your hat? It's 1943 in small-town Texas, hats for women on the move seem to be... optional, not something one might have expected.
Two other details. First, the paper-wrapped packages, as things used to be in a world before plastic (possible exception, her tights, as Nylon was invented in 1935). Second, the curved shelf under the seats. For the hats not present, at least on this day?    
(The Gallery, John Vachon, Railroads, Small Towns, WW2)

Blue Island Yard: 1943
... on until after WWII. (The Gallery, Jack Delano, Railroads) ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 04/15/2024 - 1:33am -

January 1943. Riverdale, Illinois. "Blue Island Yard of the Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad with view of the icing platform." Photo by Jack Delano, Office of War Information. View full size.
Indiana Harbor Belt abidesThe Blue Island Yard seems to be pretty active still:

Icing Platform?Have not before heard of such a thing.
Yes, IcingBefore mechanical refrigeration was developed, railroad refrigerator cars were kept cold by ice in bins at the ends of the cars. (Remember the icebox in the home?) The bins were filled through hatches in the roof of the cars, usually at the ends. Icing platforms were a little taller than the refrigerator cars, arranged to ease getting ice into the bins. The boards you see were probably used to make temporary bridges to the cars, including to reach to the far side hatches.
Freeze FrameThe Wikipedia article on refrigerator car had a photo of the icing platform in use, possibly from the same Jack Delano series. I was surprised that mechanical refrigeration for rail cars didn't catch on until after WWII.

(The Gallery, Jack Delano, Railroads)

Stop, Look, Listen: 1943
... to be found in that store. (The Gallery, Gordon Parks, Railroads, WW2) ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 04/21/2024 - 11:51am -

June 1943. "New Britain, Connecticut, is home to many essential war industries. A woman railroad crossing watcher letting down the gates until the train passes." 4x5 inch acetate negative by Gordon Parks for the Office of War Information. View full size.
And without glovesI love the woman in this photo.  To operate railroad crossing gates she wore a dress, hose, and heels, but no gloves.
Below is looking south today down Washington Street from its intersection with Columbus Boulevard.  The brick building with columns was and is Elks Lodge 957.  The huge parking garage at left today is attached to New Britain City Hall.

Lost in ToylandOne can only imagine the treasures to be found in that store.
(The Gallery, Gordon Parks, Railroads, WW2)

Feed Me: 1943
... behind the locomotive. (The Gallery, Jack Delano, Railroads) ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 04/12/2024 - 2:49pm -

January 1943. "Nelson, Illinois. Chicago and North Western Railroad freight en route from Clinton, Iowa, to Chicago. Stopping for coal and water to give passenger trains the right of way." Acetate negative by Jack Delano for the Office of War Information. View full size.
Great shotThe wooden towers and skywalk look so Dickensian. Such an awesome pic.
Still chuggin' (in model form)A limited production run of O scale models of CNW Baldwin 4-8-4 3016 was released back in 2012  for around $1400 a copy http://www.pwrs.ca/view_product.php?ProductID=200150
The wooden coaling tower at Nelson IL was eventually replaced with one of concrete, which still stands, but the diesels that run under it today don't stop (though some may toot in tribute).
Never ceases to amaze me.The powerhouse that America was during those war years.
CoalI think the global temperature rose a degree while I looked at this image. 
Passenger trains have right of way over freights?If only we could go back to that. I can't tell you how many times I've been delayed on Amtrak outside the Northeast Corridor because the train had to yield right of way to a freight train.
C&NW at NelsonThis train appears to be eastbound. The junction with the C&NW's "SI" Line is back where the signals are in the distance. Going east, the train would likely take the Nachusa Cutoff to avoid the fairly stiff eastbound grade through Dixon. Nelson tower would be to the right behind the locomotive.
(The Gallery, Jack Delano, Railroads)

Icing on the Freight: 1943
... View full size. (The Gallery, Jack Delano, Railroads) ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 04/17/2024 - 2:26pm -

January 1943. "Icing platform of the Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad. Blue Island Yard south of Chicago." Acetate negative by Jack Delano for the Office of War Information. View full size.
(The Gallery, Jack Delano, Railroads)

Rolling Coal: 1942
... coal. (The Gallery, John Collier, Mining, Pittsburgh, Railroads) ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 04/03/2024 - 7:00pm -

November 1942. "Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (vicinity). Champion No. 1 cleaning plant. Loaded coal cars ready for market." Photo by John Collier, Office of War Information. View full size.
*cough*This is why nobody cared if they smoked cigarettes back then. 
CLEAN coal???This has nothing to do with modern claims of cleaner (less polluting) coal. I did some research and this is about cleaning the dirt and detritus from the dirty coal. It looks cleaner but still burns dirty!
Anthracite coal sizesI was intrigued by the different sizes of coal in the various cars, so I looked it up and discovered the following (from smallest to largest, by name of size):  barley (size of coarse sand), rice (pencil eraser), buckwheat (dime), pea (quarter), chestnut (golf ball), stove (baseball), and egg (softball).  But I’m still a bit confused because those chunks in the cars on the left are certainly bigger than softballs.
This is not anthracite (hard) coal. This is bituminous (soft) coal, a higher sulfur coal -- smokier and more ash. There were different grades of soft coal, and this is most likely from the West Kittanning B seam. A very high heat to ash coal. The steel mills just ate this stuff up. Soft coal was mined in the western part of Pennsylvania along with West Virginia and Kentucky down the Appalachians, hard coal specifically to eastern Pennsylvania.
Coal sizesI'm old enough to remember steam locomotives.  A branch line separated two sections of my grandfather's farm, and I recall picking up huge chunks of coal that fell off overloaded tenders, some of them easily 12 inches or more in diameter.  Coal was the common fuel in those days, and we used stove coal in the furnace.  The water heater was fired with pea coal. 
(The Gallery, John Collier, Mining, Pittsburgh, Railroads)

Henrietta: 1943
... Depot today View Larger Map Naming Railroads Atchison, Topeka (and the) Santa Fe sounds great. It's also the ... have the same ring to it. (The Gallery, Jack Delano, Railroads) ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 06/04/2009 - 11:10am -

March 1943. "Henrietta, Missouri. Going through the town on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad between Marceline, Missouri, and Argentine, Kansas. The operator has just handed up a message." Medium-format nitrate negative by Jack Delano for the Office of War Information. View full size.
Someone had to say itDo you hear that whistle down the line?
I figure that it's engine number forty-nine,
She's the only one that'll sound that way.
On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe.
Santa FeThe railroad was just the Atchison & Topeka at first; Santa Fe was added as a goal.  In fact the main line went to Lamy, not Santa Fe, with a minor branch to SF added later.  Can't write a song about Lamy. 
But the rhyme in the song didn't work for the many folks who pronounced it Santa Fee.  Before the popular song came along, the railroad tried to correct this by spreading the slogan "All the way with Santa Fe!"  The slogan caught on, but it didn't help.  Dismayed station agents would hear customers saying things like "Yep, I like that slogan.  All the way with Santa Fee!"
This ties several photos togetherHere is the operator having delivered train orders to the engine and train crews walking back to his office after inspecting the train and waving "all OK" to the brakeman or flagman at the rear car.  In the distance you can see the water column between the two main tracks for steam locomotives.  Beyond that is a cantelevered bridge supporting a semaphore signal with its blade having already descended to the horizontal position for "stop."  Before the train arrived at this location, the semaphore would have been vertical to indicate "proceed." Soon when the train is clear of the next signal ahead (perhaps a mile or more down the track), this semaphore will rise to a 45-degree angle indicating "approach," meaning slow to 30 mph and be prepared to stop at the next signal.
Today this route is owned and operated by the BNSF Railway and hosts 75 or more freight trains each day plus two Amtrak Southwest Chiefs that operate between Chicago and Los Angeles.
Henrietta Depot todayView Larger Map
Naming RailroadsAtchison, Topeka (and the) Santa Fe sounds great.  It's also the route of the railroad from east to west.  It all worked out for the best.
PoetryWho was the inspired wordsmith who named the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe? Its founder Cyrus K. Holliday, apparently, and as far as I can see the poetry of its name was a happy coincidence of the significant placenames. Maybe their rhythmic ordering was an artistic decision: even "Topeka, Atchison & Sante Fe" wouldn't have the same ring to it. 
(The Gallery, Jack Delano, Railroads)
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