I've been a model railroader and railfan for well over 60 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.
In January of 1943, while traveling in the caboose of a Chicago and North Western freight train, Jack Delano captured this image of the conductor acknowledging a “high sign” from a switch tender as they were passing through Cortland, Illinois. The workers on the ground (some can be seen down by the switch) have visually inspected the train for problems as it was passing by.
Cortland is on the route running between Chicago and Clinton, Iowa. The depot can be seen in the distance, left of the track.
Working on a steam locomotive would be considered a “dirty job” by many. With the soot, grease and grime that is produced by these beasts, one will hardly leave work for home without evidence of another hard day’s work.
These workers are doing some repairs to the interior of one of the C&NW’s steamers, with a bit of welding going on. We’re at the North Western’s 40th Street shops near Chicago. Jack Delano spent considerable time investigating this facility back in December of 1942, and we’ve previously seen other photographs which he recorded there. This post has an overall view inside the shop. You can use the term “shop” in the search box at the upper right and get perhaps a half dozen links to other views at this facility.
Over these past few years we’ve seen quite a few photographs that Jack Delano made while visiting the Chicago and North Western Railway in the winter of 1942. He apparently had free reign to visit the entire Proviso yard and it’s facilities while there.
The road did some extensive rebuilding of it’s freight cars on the repair tracks. Here we see a freshly repainted hopper car receiving it’s lettering. Note the framed stencils that the workers are using to spray paint the lettering onto the car sides. It’s December, and there is snow on the ground, but the work must go on.
I also noticed that the workers weren’t required to wear spray masks for this work back in the day. Today they’d likely have not only respirators, but a full body suit to protect them from over-spray (the latter would make this job a lot kinder to their clothing).
Last week we saw an image Jack Delano had recorded while visiting the C&NW roundhouse at the Proviso Yard near Chicago in December of 1942. Now he has moved outside to the coaling facility where he has captured a couple of steam locomotives taking on coal and sand. After this replenishment, they’ll move a bit further down to take on water.
If you’re a steam locomotive fan who has been fortunate to have seen them working in person, you’ll probably remember that interesting (perhaps wonderful) aroma of coal smoke, steam and hot oil on a cold winter’s day. Once you smell that, you’ll likely never forget it!
We’ve previously seen a couple other photographs taken here by Mr. Delano on that day. Here’s one featuring one of the road’s “4000” locomotives as it was being refueled. And here is a color image taken from roughly the same vantage point as the featured image above.
There aren’t many places to me that are as exciting as a locomotive roundhouse back in the age of steam. In December of 1942 Jack Delano spent quite some time touring the massive roundhouse of the Chicago and North Western Railroad located at their Proviso Yard near Chicago. We’ve seen a couple other images that Mr. Delano recorded in this smoky environment, and I’ll add this one to the list.
I also featured an outside aerial view of this massive structure in this post back in September of 2019.
Santa Fe Brakeman Jack Torbet is seen gazing through the window of the caboose as it is pulling out of Waynoka, Oklahoma. It looks like there will be no hot meal while underway since he’s brought his lunchbox and Thermos bottle along.
Note the battery powered brakeman’s lamp sitting on the table. Electric lamps had been available for some time, but didn’t really “catch on” until the 40s. Most of the lamps we’ve seen in this Delano series have been kerosene.
In March of 1943 Jack Delano recorded this scene of an AT&SF freight train as it was pulling out of the yard in Kiowa, Kansas. Kiowa lies on the line running between Wellington, Kansas and Waynoka, Oklahoma.
Steam locomotive #4097 is a 2-8-2 Mikado built by Baldwin in (likely) 1926. Note the passenger car behind the locomotive, which I suppose makes this a mixed freight, even if for only this day.
In March of 1943, while in the Santa Fe yard in Wellington, Kansas, Jack Delano spied this special load . . . a huge naval gun en-route to the west coast. I’ll speculate that this may be a 16-inch/50-caliber gun, the primary armament for the U.S. Navy’s newer battleships.
Note that three flatcars were required for transport, two carrying the gun, and the third for the barrel’s overhang. The blocking and bracing to secure the barrel looks pretty stout!
Conductor F. T. Granstaff is seen working on the paperwork in his caboose on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad while traveling between Marceline, Missouri and Argentine, Kansas.
The conductor’s desk has always fascinated me simply because of their variety and usual clutter. Note the kerosene lamp lighting the desk. The shade must be new and Conductor Granstaff will keep it looking that way by keeping the cellophane shipping wrapper on it (how many times did you see that in Aunt Margie’s home?). Of course, the ever-present cigar box is seen in the desk drawer keeping the various writing, erasing and taping paraphernalia corralled. There’s a stack of used switch lists to its side, along with other forms. The conductor may be working on his wheel report.
Jack Delano captured this view of Mr. Edward E. Leonard pushing a driver wheelset in place under an engine being wheeled. We’re at the Shopton locomotive shops of the Santa Fe railroad in Fort Madison, Iowa in March of 1943.
A locomotive’s drivers experience wear, and are built such that the outer ring (the tire) is removable for re-conditioning or replacement. We’ve seen this earlier photograph of a tire being replaced on it’s wheel.
In March of 1943, while in Fort Madison, Iowa, Jack Delano decided to visit the Santa Fe’s Shopton locomotive shops. He chanced upon a pair of boilermakers doing repairs inside of the firebox of a locomotive (yes, there are two men inside that cavern). It looks like they’re doing some welding repairs, something not uncommon in this environment.
It looks like that opening into the firebox is quite large, but in fact, it’s barely big enough for a man to squeeze through.
As darkness approaches, brakeman M. H. Burdette lights his markers and gets them ready to hang on the rear end of the caboose. We’re on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad on a run between Chillicothe, Illinois and Fort Madison, Iowa.