New Meets the Old

One of those new newfangled diesels meets a steam locomotive at the Chicago Union Station. The time is January of 1943, and that modernistic train is the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy’s Denver Zephyr.  This train ran between Chicago and Denver, with service commencing in 1936,  and running until 1973.  The route was 1,034 miles and the train generally covered the distance in 16 ~ 16-1/2 hours.

Photo by Jack Delano

Steam and diesel engine at the Union Station, Chicago, Ill.

Washing the #3034

Jack Delano has ventured down to the locomotive servicing facilities to see what goes on there.  And here we see Viola Sievers washing down the running gear of C&NW steamer #3034 at the end of its run.  Washing the locomotives was not only for the pride of the fleet, but also so that the machine could be properly inspected for problems and defect.

With the war going, the manpower shortage created thousands of jobs for the women, and they stepped up to even the toughest and dirtiest jobs that had to be done.

Viola Sievers Washing #3034

C&NW Freight . . . the End

Some of my favorite rail images came from a gentleman named Jack Delano.  While not specifically a rail photographer, he left his mark back in the early 1040s with a series of photographs he captured while employed by the Farm Services Administration as part of their photography program.  Two of the railroads he covered extensively were the Chicago and Northwestern, and the Illinois Central.

One of the things I really like about his photography is the way he captures the human element into many of his compositions.  In this image, we can study the unique interior of this freight crew’s C&NW caboose as they are making the run between Chicago and Clinton, Iowa.

Freight train operations on the C&NW between Chicago and Clinton, Iowa

Best Friend of Charleston

Back in the summer of 1973 I attended the NMRA national convention in Atlanta, Georgia, aptly named Peachtree ’73.  It was a fine convention, and in addition to the usual fare, the convention hosted a double-headed steam excursion.

But there was another steam-up that caught my attention as well.  And here it is: a working replica of the Best Friend of Charleston locomotive, along with several coaches.  It was interesting to see it ramble down the street.

Best Friend of Charleston, Atlanta, Ga.

The original locomotive, built in 1830, was said to be the first U.S. built locomotive for actual railroad service.  Unfortunately it suffered a boiler explosion six months after being placed in service.

This replica is one of two that exist.

-Jack