Back over at the AT&SF Corwith yard in Chicago, Jack Delano photographed a Santa Fe freight train preparing to depart the yard. It’s March of 1943, and obviously it’s pretty chilly there. The locomotive, #3266, is a Baldwin built 2-8-2.
A curious thing I noticed is what appears to be a blue flag on the side of the locomotive. In zooming in on the original image, the flag is supported by a steel arm or bracket. I’m familiar with a flag between the rails used to protect a worker, but don’t recall seeing one on the side like this. I’ll venture a guess that perhaps the engineer places this flag while oiling around. With the heavy shroud of steam vapor emitting from the machine, it would be quite easy to get “lost” in the cloud while working up close to the valve gear. If anyone knows the correct answer, please add a comment to enlighten the rest of us.