Norfolk Southern #134 at Elizabeth City, NC

Apparently Jack Delano would occasionally stop and take a few photographs while traveling to each of his major areas of interest. In the summer of 1941 he was in Elizabeth City, North Carolina where he captured this view of a Norfolk Southern freight sitting near the freight station. It seems to be a beehive of activity, with many workers around.

Locomotive number 134 was a 4-6-0 ten-wheeler, a product of the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1913. She was one of four class D-6 steamers produced that year, and she sported 20″x28″ cylinders and 60″ drivers. Her tractive effort was 31,800 lbs., a bit higher than her sisters constructed in 1911.

At first I thought the steamer had a couple of refrigerator cars in tow, but a closer look at the roof-top hatches causes me to think that these may be ventilated boxcars. Anyone care to venture a guess?

This is another of those photos with several interesting details. There are a number of stake-bed trucks around, presumably hauling goods for loading. In the background one of the trucks is being unloaded. It’s difficult to make out the product, but I wonder if it might be tobacco.

Of interest is the “work bench” in the foreground, with it’s vise. I assume it was N.S. property since it has what appears to be a spare air house lying on it’s deck.

NS #134 at Elizabeth City, NC

5 thoughts on “Norfolk Southern #134 at Elizabeth City, NC

  1. Ventilated boxcars don’t have roof hatches, they usually have ventilators on the ends and a ventilated door and a standard boxcar door on the side, so looking at that photo those are just regular reefers.

    • That was my first thought also. What is swaying my thoughts though are the hatch covers. Looking at an enlargement of the original large format image, I can see that the hatch covers appear to be just a thin cover as opposed to the thick, insulating covers one usually sees on reefers. For the record, I recall seeing photos of ventilated cars that were very similar to reefers, but lacked the insulation and ice bunkers.

      Don’t know that we’ll ever know for sure. However, you and another friend both think these are reefers, so y’all are probably right.


  2. This is the what I was thinking about when I thought these cars might be ventilated boxcars. The photo is a Westerfield model kit. The car is listed as a PRR 2704 XM DS ventilated boxcar. Unfortunately I’m unable to locate a photo of the prototype.

    PRR 2704 XM DS Ventilated Boxcar

    Having said this, I concede that the cars in the Delano photo may indeed be reefers.


  3. Hey, Jack from OKC.
    We have a big train nut at KFOR tv station, Mike Morgan, he even has live steam in his back yard.
    He will b at the train show again.
    Also Uncle Pete’s Big Boy was spotted up in N.E. Oklahoma this last w/end.
    KFOR had news reel of it heading back to Cheyenne, sure wish I could have been up state.
    later, Boudreaux
    have a great turkey day!!!!!

    • Hi Boudreaux,
      The Big Boy got as far as Texas, but didn’t venture into Louisiana. Fortunately I have a cousin over there that sent me some links to video taken near their home . . . better than nothing!

      You also have a great Thanksgiving.


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