George Bertino is at the controls in the cab of his diesel freight locomotive ready to pull out of the AT&SF yard in Winslow, Arizona. Judging by the year of the photo, and the wear and tear in the cab, this is likely an EMD model FT locomotive.
Mr. Bertino is apparently a veteran of steam locomotives as evidenced by his dress in traditional overalls. Note the sleeve protectors, not usually necessary in this new environment.
This scene was captured by Jack Delano in March of 1943.
We’re heading back east now, with California far behind in the distance . . . indeed, we’re well into Kansas. Our Santa Fe train is passing by the AT&SF’s Emporia Junction tower located a bit east of the yard in Emporia, Kansas. The track crossing our main belongs to the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railway (the Katy). This photograph is taken just inside of a wye, of which the northern extension is the start of the line up to Topeka. If one looks closely, the east leg of the wye can be barely discerned just past the signal bridge. The date is March of 1943.
The railroad infrastructure is a very maintenance intensive operation in itself. In the days before the mechanization that we see now, this work was done by manual labor. Track and bridge maintenance was a daily chore on railroads, and the track was divided into sections, each under the responsibility of a section gang, that is, a group of workers charged with maintaining their assigned area of track.
Jack Delano was traveling out west in March of 1943, where he documented some of the sights along the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. In this image we see an Indian section gang aligning the track in the Santa Fe’s yard in Needles, California. More than a dozen workers are struggling to coax the track into it’s proper alignment. Imagine doing this kind of back-breaking work each day!
During his visit to New Mexico in March of 1943, Jack Delano captured this view of AT&SF locomotive #5000 heading up a westbound “extra” freight train. She sits in the siding at Ricardo, New Mexico with her train, waiting patiently for an opposing eastbound train. Note the crew members on the opposite side of the mainline. They will inspect the eastbound train as it passes. The engineer will do the same from the fireman’s perch up in the cab of the 5000.
The 5000 was a 2-10-4 Texas type locomotive built by Baldwin in 1930. Nicknamed the “Madame Queen”, she was the prototype for, and remains unique to it’s class. She still exists, and is on display in Amarillo, Texas.
In December of 1943 Chicago and Northwestern 2-8-4 steam locomotive #2808 was found in the shops undergoing repairs. The Berkshire was of the class J-4, and was built by Brooks in August of 1927. She was scrapped in 1950.
Railroads employed a huge force of shop workers to keep the iron horses in running order. When a locomotive entered the shop, it became a beehive of activity to repair and adjust the locomotive so it could be placed back in service as quickly as possible.
In March of 1943, during his visit to the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, Jack Delano photographed conductor George E. Burton and engineer J.W. Edwards comparing time before pulling out of Corwith Yard in Chicago for their run to Chillicothe, Illinois. Accurate time is vital for train operations, and the conductor will synchronize his watch with an “official” clock prior to a run. The crew members will verify that their watches are matching his watch as well.
It’s a cold winter’s afternoon in December of 1942. Though it’s only 3:32 p.m., it looks pretty dark and dreary outside. We’re in the Yardmaster’s office located in the Chicago and North Western’s North Proviso receiving yard in Chicago, Illinois. It’s obvious we’re well into the war effort with all the photos and posters on the wall. There are a couple telephones: a typical “split style” desk phone (modified to hang the desk phone back on the wall), and one of those even newer desk phones at the Yardmaster’s right hand. The old stove is keeping those coffee cans on it’s top warm and dry.
Photos like this are fascinating to study, as there is usually a wealth of detail to discern, some of which enables the viewer to better understand the time at which the image was captured.
Jack Delano visited the AT&SF interlocking tower at Isleta, New Mexico in March of 1943. Shown here is the tower operator lining the route for an approaching train. Each of those levers controls the route through a track switch and it’s attendant signal in the maze of trackwork below. The board above him shows the track diagram of everything under his control.
At left one can see just a bit of a wall mounted telephone, and below that the wye shaped pole used to pass orders to a train crew. At right the ladder for servicing the train order signal can be seen through the window.
During his visit on Conductor Burton’s caboose in March of 1943, Jack Delano photographed the rear brakeman, Walter V. Dew, watching the train from the cupola. We’re on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad between Chicago and Chillicothe, Illinois.
The Westinghouse train line air pressure gauge is reading 74 pounds. Note the modified King Edward cigar box on the cupola bulkhead above the gauge, containing what appears to be C&NW timetables. A couple more cigar boxes aside the cupola seats have been provided to hold various other paperwork.
AT&SF Conductor George Burton is tending the stove in his caboose on a frosty March morning in 1943. Those stoves were important to crews as they provided not only the obvious need for heat in the caboose, but also for keeping a pot of hot coffee available, and a means by which to cook a meal. Photo by Jack Delano.
A view of the Illinois Central’s South Water Street freight depot in Chicago, Illinois. Jack Delano recorded this facility on a beautiful spring day in May of 1943. It’s 11:26 in the morning according to the clock on the iconic neon Papst Blue Ribbon sign looming above.
Note the blue flags on each cut of cars, along with a carman at right. At left those appear to be blocks of ice in a trough, and behind that one can spot the roofs of a few passenger cars (commuter cars or express?). Studying the boxcars themselves, one can easily see the evolution of this workhorse as they grew larger and larger over the years.
Jack Delano has continued his trek into the west, reaching Needles, California. And here he has captured this image of Electrician B. Fitzgerald cleaning the headlight on AT&SF steamer #3891.
The date is March of 1943, and all locomotives operating west of Needles were equipped with hooded headlights in accordance with the wartime blackout regulations. Sharp-eyed readers may have spied the hood on the Santa Fe streamliner diesel locomotive just a few posts back.