Jack Shall

About Jack Shall

I've been a model railroader and railfan for well over 50 years now. My interests lie in the steam era and the early diesel era. My modeling has been in HO, but I do have a closet interest in Fn3 :-) It's been a number of years since I've done any layout construction, and the new Louisiana Central pike under construction is by far my most ambitious effort. Follow along with me on this new adventure of the Louisiana Central.

Insulating a Boiler

I have to confess that this photograph surprised me. I had thought that the asbestos insulation applied to a steam locomotive boiler was in the form of blocks, similar to bricks. Perhaps that is one of the ways it was done, but this view shows the worker lathering on the asbestos mix like shaving cream. I wonder if this is just a coating over the blocks to fill in the joints and seal it all in?

Jack Delano captured this view at the Chicago and North Western’s 40th Street locomotive shops near Chicago. The date is December of 1942.

I imagine the lawyers and OSHA would have a field day if this procedure was handled this way nowadays! I’d hate to be the worker who has to clean all the dried up mixture off of the handrails and other appurtenances.

Insulating a Locomotive

Backshop Locomotive Repairs

On a chilly day in December of 1942 Jack Delano visited the C&NW Railroad’s 40th Street locomotive shops. He captured this crew as they were re-installing the smokebox front on one of their 4-6-2 Pacific locomotives. If one looks closely, a worker can be seen lying on the boiler just in front of the stack as he aids in guiding the enormous cover into place. Also a bit of another worker can be seen in front of the locomotive, his foot resting on the steam chest. A third worker on the shop floor keeps his eye on the progress.

Based on the partial view of the locomotive’s number on the sand dome, this is likely a class “E” engine built by Alco’s Schenectady Works in the early 1920s.

Despite the debris seen on the shop floor, the workers apparently liked to keep the locomotive itself tidy evidenced by the broom on its running board, along with a spare on the work platform.

C&NW Steam Locomotive Repairs

Switching at Proviso Yard

Jack Delano had visited the Chicago and North Western’s Proviso Yard earlier in the winter of 1942-43 before his journey out West. But he’s back and busy documenting railroaders at work in C&NW’s huge yard near Chicago. It’s April of 1943, the snow is gone, but there is still a chill in the air. A switchman is seen lining a switch in the never-ending task of sorting freight cars.

Considering this is the middle of WWII and the burden placed on the railroads during that time, the yard is surprisingly empty. Perhaps though it’s a reflection on the efficiency of the crews as they labor to keep the trains rolling.

Many of the rails appear to have a yellowish cast to them. I doubt it’s rust as zooming in on the original hi-rez image doesn’t suggest that. And I’ve noticed this same coloration in several other photos taken of Proviso Yard. But I’ve never seen an explanation of what this is. Anyone care to venture a guess (or perhaps, the actual reason)?

Switchman Lining a Switch

Commuter Train at Proviso Yard

Jack Delano is back from his trip out West on the Santa Fe, and is again visiting the Chicago and North Western’s Proviso Yard near Chicago. It’s a dreary day, apparently the last of winter in May of 1943 as the snow appears melted away.

Mr. Delano caught this commuter train arriving at the yard’s shelter stop. It will soon be filled with the workers heading home for the day. One would assume by the location and dress that these are railroad men, likely shop workers and clerks.

The train is comprised of old open-platform passenger cars, with the last car displaying the proper kerosene markers. And if you look very carefully, you can spot the brass knob on the back door. Note the shelters on either side of the tracks, even older retired open-platform passenger cars (sans the platforms and steps) sitting on the ground. One can see this area separated from the yard by a wooden fence. And another wooden fence separates the two mainlines, presumably to discourage folks from disembarking the train on the side toward the adjacent track.

Commuter Train at the Proviso Yard

Crossing the Missouri River

In March of 1943 Jack Delano caught a ride on an Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe freight train heading west out of Chicago. Hopping rides on different trains, he eventually made it all the way out to California. In the early part of the journey the train crossed the Missouri River on the bridge located near Sibley, Missouri. This river crossing is on the portion of the route between Marceline, Missouri and Argentine, Kansas.

Jack captured this view from the rear platform of the caboose as they cleared the bridge itself and were back over land. This bridge still stands today and can be seen on Google Maps.

Crossing the Missouri River

Loading Oranges

We see thousands of photographs of trains in just about every conceivable location and time. But we don’t often get a glimpse into what’s in those trains. When Jack Delano’s AT&SF freight train reached California, he ventured out to see some of the industry there that was using the railroad to ship their commodity.

He came across the California Fruit Growers Exchange, a co-op orange packing plant in Redlands, California. Here he documented this worker loading oranges into a reefer (a refrigerated rail car). These reefers were usually assembled into a large block of cars, and were shipped on an expedited schedule to the markets in all points East.

This is March of 1943, and while some early experiments were being conducted with mechanical refrigeration, most cars were still cooled by ice loaded into bunkers in the ends of the car. One can make out the ventilation grilles above the stacks of orange crates, the bunkers already filled with ice chunks. These iced reefers would still see service well into the late 1950s.

Loading Oranges in a Reefer

Spiffing Up the Power

It’s March of 1943, and we’re in the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe roundhouse located in the Argentine Yard in Kansas. Jack Delano photographed a worker washing down the nose of one of the road’s diesel locomotives.

This is a four unit set of EMD model FT locomotives, each producing 1,350 horsepower. The set had an “A” unit (a unit with a cab) on each end, and a pair of “B” units (without cabs) in the center. The road considered this a single 5,400 horsepower locomotive. While many FT locomotives were sold as a pair of semi-permanently units, the Santa Fe ordered theirs with conventional couplers at the end of each unit, thereby giving them more flexibility in their arrangement.

ATSF FT #103, Argentine, Kansas

Meet With an AT&SF Passenger Train

Jack Delano recorded many scenes during his journey on an Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe freight train back in March of 1943. Leaning out of the cupola window of his caboose, the photographer was able to document the meet of his train with one of the road’s crack passenger trains, likely the Super Chief. The location is near Sibley, Missouri.

The train is powered by the Santa Fe’s sole set of Alco DL series locomotives. The lead A unit is a DL-107 numbered 50, with the trailing B unit a DL-108 numbered 51. Each of these locomotives is powered by a pair of six cylinder 539T diesel engines, giving each unit a 2000 horsepower rating.

Meet With AT&SF Passenger Train

Mystery Train at Cajon Pass

Jack Delano is at the AT&SF Railway’s Cajon Pass located between the San Bernardino and San Gabriel Mountains in Southern California. It’s a beautiful day in March of 1943, and Mr. Delano was lucky to record two trains moving through the pass simultaneously.

And therein lies a bit of mystery. The image is labeled as AT&SF trains passing through the Cajon Pass. It further identifies the passenger train as the Chief (a first class Santa Fe train). However close inspection of the original photograph has what appears (to me) a Union Pacific locomotive at the head of that passenger train. Indeed, I can faintly make out the word “Pacific” on the Vanderbilt tender. As I recollect, the U.P. eventually gained trackage rights through Cajon Pass, so I would think it possible that this is a U.P. train.

At upper left we can faintly see a pair of steam locomotive pushers on the rear of what appears to be a train of refrigerated cars, likely an express train carrying produce. Black plumes of smoke mark their location. If one projects the line of the reefers toward the right, you can discern the continuation of the grade at the upper right. Apparently the head end of this train is behind the distant ridge seen just above the passenger train locomotive.

If you click on the image, you’ll get an enlarged view. I’ve provided a larger image than usual there to aid in seeing the details that are present.

AT&SF Trains at Cajon Pass

A Meet on the Santa Fe

In March of 1943 Jack Delano hitched a ride on a west-bound freight of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe on its journey to Kansas City, Kansas. The train met an east-bound train while along it’s route between Fort Madison, Iowa and Marceline, Missouri. The crew gives the photographer a friendly wave as their train passes by.

This line apparently still sees heavy traffic, as a search on Google Maps shows the line between Fort Madison and Kansas City is still double tracked.

AT&SF Crew and Caboose

AT&SF Locomotive Service Facility – Argentine Yard

Jack Delano paid a visit to the AT&SF Argentine Yard in Kansas City, Kansas. It’s a frosty day in March of 1943 when he recorded this image at the locomotive service facilities. The huge concrete structure is the coaling tower, and the sanding towers are seen stretching out from its side.

The Santa Fe underwent a large conversion program in the late 1930s, moving from coal to oil to fuel most of their steam locomotives. Those machines here all appear to have oil tanks in their tenders, with the oil column for filling seen behind the 3185. A water penstock stands just beyond the 838 in the distance. The road must have some heavy grades, as the two Mikados are sporting twin sand domes.

The 3185 is a 3160 class locomotive, while the 4000 is the class locomotive in its order. The 4000 class was the last order for Mikados by the Santa Fe. The 838 is an interesting locomotive. It’s a member of a class of locomotives built by Rhode Island in 1902. It was originally a 2-8-0 built as a four cylinder tandem compound. The class was rebuilt between 1919-1922 as simple locomotives, and then later converted to 0-8-0 switchers.

This is, again, one of those photos that has plenty of interesting details. I’ve posted it in a larger size that I normally use . . . click on it to see the enlargement.

AT&SF Locomotive Service Facility - Argentine Yard

AT&SF Freight at a Water Stop

I thought we’d head west again for a spell. It’s March of 1943, and Jack Delano is traveling about the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. He captured this image of a westbound freight that had stopped to take on water at Melrose, New Mexico.

I don’t think he could have picked a nicer day to pursue his photography!

AT&SF Freight at Water Stop