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.


Southern Pacific #745

It’s February of 2007, and the Southern Pacific #745 is passing through City Park in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She has just embarked on the return leg of her shake down run following fairly extensive repairs. She is headed for New Orleans, her home terminal.

The locomotive had been restored some years earlier by the Louisiana Steam Train Association in New Orleans. The 745 is a class Mk-5 Mikado (2-8-2), and was built in the Espee’s shop in Algiers, La. back in 1921. She operated on the Texas and New Orleans subsidiary of the Southern Pacific.

S.P. (TN&O) Loco #745

Reader Railroad 2-6-2 #108

In early September of 1970 I visited the Reader Railroad up in Reader, Arkansas.  Even though it was a weekday, the railroad was shut down for the day.  I was able to peruse the railroad’s shop facility though, located maybe a quarter mile from the depot.  Here is a photo taken with my trusty Polaroid camera of their #108.

This locomotive was a product of the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1920, and she had an extensive list of owners over the years.  The little Prairie first worked for the San Augustine County Lumber Company in east Texas, then later for the Angelina and Neches River Railroad.  In 1954 she was purchased by the Reader, where she was in service until 1976.  From there she went to the Conway Scenic Railroad, but after just a couple of years, was sold to the Blacklands Railroad.  She was moved back to Texas, and was supposed to be overhauled to continue operation.  The last I heard, she was sold yet again to a corporation, but was still stored in a somewhat disassembled state on the Blacklands Railroad.  If any of you folks have any news of it’s present situation, please post a comment about it.

Reader RR 2-6-2 #108

KCS Caboose #376

Digging through my boxes of old photographs, I came across this pic of an old Kansas City Southern caboose, number 376.  The date stamped on the photo’s edge says January, 1972.  The KCS built a bunch of these cabs from old outside braced boxcars, and they were quite common for many years.  I believe (but am not sure) that this image was captured in New Orleans at the yard on Airline Highway.  If you know better, please let me know.

This car falls into the category of it’s so ugly that it has a coolness factor!  I particularly like the Allied Full Cushion trucks beneath it.  This caboose still lives on, and is on display in Amsterdam, Missouri.  It was apparently modernized over the years and has lost those wonderful trucks, but it’s heritage is still obvious.  An internet search for the old girl will yield several pictures of it where she currently resides.

KCS Caboose #376 - Jan 1972

Colorado & Southern 2-8-0 #60

I’ve been going through a lot of old photos that my mother had, and came across this snapshot.  This locomotive is Colorado & Southern 2-8-0 #60, and she’s on display in Idaho Springs, Colorado.  The following is from the display plaque by the engine:

“Was built by the Rhode Island Locomotive Works in 1886.  Number 60 began her career on the Union Pacific-owned narrow gauge Utah and Northern Railroad as No. 263.  In 1890, the Union Pacific transferred U&N Engines No. 260-265 to its Colorado-based Denver, Leadville, and Gunnison Railroad, where the original engine number was retained until the Colorado and Southern assumed operation of all Colorado-based Union Pacific narrow gauge lines.  This included the Clear Creek branch.  At this time, the C&S renumbered all of its narrow gauge engines and No. 263 became No.60.”

That’s my mother posed in the cab, the photo probably taken in the early 1940s by my dad before he departed for England with the Army Air Force.  My mom stayed in Denver until he returned to the States after his tour of duty.

C&S 2-8-0 #60 Early 1940s