BAR Steamer #191

I thought I’d move away from Chicago for a bit, and go back a little further in time. Jack Delano traveled up to the state of Maine in October of 1940. While there he recorded several images during his visit to the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad.

The BAR became famous as a potato hauler, and eventually had a rather sizeable fleet of refrigerator cars for that service. The railroad created a striking red, white and blue paint scheme for these cars, then later painted quite a few boxcars with an adaptation of this colorful livery. The railroad also did considerable business with the paper industry, hauling pulpwood, wood chips and chemicals to the paper mills, and finished paper products out.

Pictured below is BAR #191, a 2-8-0 steamer, simmering in the freight yard at Caribou, Maine. She was built by ALCO Schenectady in January, 1921. She’s sporting white flags on her prow, indicating that she’s in charge of an extra today. I would guess that the train is at the start of it’s run since the tender appears to be topped off with it’s coal supply.

Note the roundhouse just behind the engine, and the rather crude telegraph pole at right. And of course, the Ford Model A Fordor 3-window sedan front and center. This is a wonderful scene of days gone by.

BAR 2-8-0 #191 at the Freight Yard, Caribou, Maine

The Cattle Train

Back in the day when people thought of the meat industry, they thought of Chicago. The city was considered the hub of the meat packing industry, and boasted a huge conglomeration of stock yards. Naturally the railroads played a huge role in this industry, and seen here is one of a constant stream of “cattle trains” coming into the city.

The location is the Chicago and North Western’s yard in Chicago, and it’s December of 1942. The cattle train is shown entering the receiving tracks of the yard while two outbound freights wait in the distance for their departure time.

Photo by Jack Delano.

C&NW Cattle Train

C&NW 40th St. Locomotive Shops

It certainly looks like a blustery winter day in Chicago when Jack Delano recorded this image in December of 1942. Shown is the Chicago and North Western’s locomotive shop and yard complex located on 40th Street. Several of the road’s streamlined diesel locomotives and passenger cars are seen at right. And if one inspects the photograph closely, a lone steamer is seen working a cut of cars at left.

Mr. Delano was either very lucky or quite patient to snap his shutter just as the sun began to poke it’s rays through the heavy overcast. The dark sky behind the pristine white snow presents an interesting contrast in this composition.

C&NW Yard and Shops, Chicago
C&NW Yard and Shops, Chicago

Going Full Circle: a Roundhouse

The Chicago and North Western Railroad had a massive full circle roundhouse at their Proviso Yard in Chicago, Illinois. Jack Delano visited the facility in December of 1942 and captured this image, along with several others inside the structure. This aerial view shows how large a building such as this is. It obviously takes a mammoth amount of water to quench the thirst of the dozens of locomotives that see this facility each day as evidenced by the presence of three massive steel water tanks in the background.

Despite the heat generated by some of the locomotives under fire while in the building, it was still drafty in the dead of winter. I posted this image a while back of a coal-fed fire burning inside the roundhouse to give a bit of warmth to the workers.

C&NW Roundhouse, Chicago, Ill.

Switching Cars at Night

In January of 1943 Jack Delano spent a night in Calumet City, Illinois observing an Indiana Harbor Belt crew at work in the yard. A cooperative crew member demonstrated a few basic signals for Mr. Delano to document with his camera. The switchman is using a fusee (which most non-railroaders would know as a flare). These produce an intense red light, making it highly visible in the dark, especially during rain or snow.

Fusee Signal - Go Ahead
This first signal means Go Ahead (forward) . . . a simple up and down motion, usually done several times.
Fusee Signal - Back Up
This signal means Back Up . . . a circular motion, usually repeated several times
Fusee Signal - Stop
And this signal means Stop (that’ll do in railroad parlance) . . . a back and forth swinging motion repeated several times.

There are several other signals used, but these are the three basic ones used for movement.

While these fusees are very bright and easy to see, it is perhaps more common for the switchman to use a lantern for his signaling, as it will burn for many hours and is more economical. But the fusee can’t be beat when conditions are really bad.

Coaling Up a “4000”

In December of 1942 Jack Delano spent some time down at the Chicago and North Western’s coaling tower in Chicago, Illinois. While there, he captured this image of one of the road’s class E-4 streamlined 4-6-4 “Hudson” locomotives. These steamers, numbered 4001-4009, were ordered from Alco in 1937 to power the C&NW’s famous “400” express passenger trains.

The story is that management decided, even before delivery, that using steam power for their premier trains wasn’t the direction to head. They instead placed an order for diesel-electric locomotives with EMD. Thus the nine E-4s were used to power other trains.

These modern locomotives lived a rather short life, with all retired by 1956. All were eventually scrapped.

C&NW E-4 Class Loco Coaling Up

South Water Street at Night

Back in March of this year I posted a Jack Delano image of the the Illinois Central freight depot in Chicago, Illinois. Looming in the background of that photograph is the huge Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer neon sign, complete with a clock. Mr. Delano had also visited that location earlier during the night in April of 1943. And on that night he recorded the sign in all of it’s night time glory, resplendent in all of it’s vibrant colors.

Looking closely below the sign we can make out the image of a string of reefers (refrigerator cars) lurking in the dark shadows of the yard.

ICRR S. Water St. Yard at Night

ICRR Caboose Facility

Continuing our tour of the Illinois Central facilities at the South Water Street yard and freight depot in Chicago, we’re at the caboose servicing area. On the far track is a string of Illinois Central side door cabooses (one sans a cupola) waiting their next assignment. But standing out at center is a visiting Chesapeake and Ohio crummy under the watchful eye of a group of workers relaxing near by. The C&O was leasing terminal facilities from the I.C. at the time, hence the explanation for it’s appearance here.

Photo by Jack Delano, April of 1943

ICRR Caboose Service Area, Chicago

ICRR Locomotive Facility

Jack Delano visited the Illinois Central’s locomotive servicing facility near Chicago in November of 1942. He recorded this overview of the sprawling facility while there.

The I.C. was one of the early roads to adapt the new diesel-electric locomotives, and seen at right are one of their TR locomotive sets. These were basically a pair of EMD model NW2 switchers (one without a cab) semi-permanently coupled together, creating what was known as a cow-calf unit. The I.C. purchased three of this example in 1940. The “cow” is the unit with the cab, numbered as 9203A; it’s cabless “calf” (partially hidden behind the water penstock) is numbered as 9203B.

In the background we see a large stable of steamers sitting on the service and ready tracks. It’s interesting to note that while the Illinois Central was an early adapter of the diesel locomotive, it was also one of the last to retire all of it’s steam locomotives, with active steamers on the roster until the early sixties.

ICRR TR #9203A/B Cow and Calf Set

Working the Hump

We continue today with a photograph taken at another part of a hump yard operation: the pin puller.

Jack Delano spied this switchman working the crest of the hump in the Illinois Central yard at Chicago, Illinois. It’s a cold day in November of 1942, and the worker is prepared for the day. Don’t let his Fedora fool you into thinking this is management on the hump . . . a look below the overcoat reveals a working man’s dungarees and work shoes. He is preparing to pull the coupler pin on the car just as it crests the hump, allowing for it’s gravity-assisted journey down into the yard beyond.

Sharp eyed readers will notice the open journal boxes on the cars. In this cold weather, workers will open the boxes and squirt some very hot oil into the boxes to aid in the lubrication of the journals in these cold temps. After the car rolls for a short distance spreading the lube, it should easily make it down to it’s destination thanks to this warm-up.

Humping the Cars, ICRR, Chicago, Ill.

The Hump Yard Tower

We’re inside the hump yard tower in the Chicago and North Western’s Proviso Yard at Chicago, Illinois. The Towerman, Mr. R.W. Mayberry, is at the controls, and he will line the appropriate switches to direct each car coming down from the hump into it’s assigned track. He’ll also tweak the retarders which will control the car’s speed as required as it descends to it’s final destination. This is state-of-the-art railroading in May of 1943.

Photo by Jack Delano

R.W. Mayberry, Towerman, C&NW Railiway