Water, Sand and Fuel

Steam locomotives have a voracious appetite, and they visit the servicing facilities quite often. Here we see a line of the beasts as they replenish their supply of water, sand and coal. This is the Chicago and North Western’s coaling stage in the Proviso yard located in Chicago, Illinois. Photographer Jack Delano captured this image in December of 1942.

C&NW Coaling Stage

Site Improvement

Several things have been going on in the background in recent weeks. You might recall the problem I was having a while back with “Unwelcome Subscribers” to this blog. Happily the fix I implemented seems to have solved that problem, hopefully for good.

Last week I took another step to help provide a bit more security to the site by adding something called Secure Sockets Layer (SSL for short). This is a standard security protocol for establishing encrypted links between a web server and a browser in an online communication. You will likely recognize this by the https prefix on the site web address.

This changes the blog address (as well as the primary Louisiana Central website address) by adding that “s” to the http. If you use your old link to the site, you should be automatically re-directed to the new address. However I’d recommend that you update your link to the new one. I find that the new link will get you there a second or two faster.

In my testing last week I think I got the bugs squashed, but if you happen to encounter something else, please let me know.

In other news, the 7th annual Train Day at the Library event took place yesterday at the Jones Creek Library over in Baton Rouge. I had the privilege of assisting with the organization of the show this year, and we were rewarded with a record attendance. To be sure, nothing that I did caused that . . . I give all that credit to the absolutely gorgeous day we had, plus the reputation that the show has been building on for the six prior years.

Though not aimed at hard-core railfans and model railroaders (the general public is the targeted audience), the show does draw in many of those folks, and that’s good because I think it has helped to entice more actual display participants to the event. The library has also been thrilled with the attendance, and continues to request the show each year. Hopefully, that will continue.

The U.P. “George Bush 41”

Word was floating around that the Union Pacific’s #4141 was parked over at the U.P. yard in Addis, Louisiana today. This is the locomotive that pulled the funeral train of the late President George H. W. Bush to Texas during his recent funeral. Naturally I felt compelled to investigate, so my friend Ron Findley and I headed over across the Mississippi River late this morning. Arriving in Addis, we found the prize, along with locomotive #1943, the “Spirit of the Union Pacific”.

Here’s the U.P. #4141, the “George Bush 41” parked at the edge of the yard for all to see:

UP #4141 "George Bush 41"

This locomotive is an Electro-Motive SD70ACe, and it was manufactured in Canada in June, 2005. Below is a close-up view of the cab. The Bush Presidential Library plaque is seen on the side of the hood.

UP #4141 "George Bush 41" Cab

The weather in this area has been terrible lately, with thunderstorms and such almost daily. But today we were rewarded with sun and beautiful blue skies . . . perfect weather for a bit of railfanning.

The 4141 was paired with another interesting locomotive, an SD70AH #1943, and it’s named “Spirit of the Union Pacific”. This locomotive pays tribute to our military.

UP #1943 "Spirit of the Union Pacific"

And below is a close-up view of the rear of the 1943. Note the POW-MIA remembrance.

UP #1943 - POW*MIA

This pair of locomotives is indeed an impressive sight, and I’m thrilled that we were fortunate to see them. Even though the U.P. has published that the locomotives are touring their system for their employees to view, they were very hospitable to the crowd of “civilians” that encroached upon their property today.

New Meets the Old

One of those new newfangled diesels meets a steam locomotive at the Chicago Union Station. The time is January of 1943, and that modernistic train is the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy’s Denver Zephyr.  This train ran between Chicago and Denver, with service commencing in 1936,  and running until 1973.  The route was 1,034 miles and the train generally covered the distance in 16 ~ 16-1/2 hours.

Photo by Jack Delano

Steam and diesel engine at the Union Station, Chicago, Ill.

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

Unwelcome Subscribers

For quite a few months now I’ve had a flurry of “rail fans” registering with the Post Notifications sign-up that shows in the sidebar at right.  Virtually every day I get anywhere from one to a dozen new folks who can’t wait to be notified of new posts.  It’s pretty obvious they’re just some sort of spammers, or otherwise have nefarious intent.  I’ve tried several ideas aimed at thwarting this, but they obviously haven’t worked, and the problem just increases as time goes by.

Therefore, I’ve deleted the post notification sign-up on the sidebar.  It will still show up for folks that wish to leave a comment on a post as a checkbox on the comment form.  Or in your comment you can indicate that you’d like to subscribe and I can manually add you.

We’ll see how this goes for awhile.  Hopefully it’ll solve the problem, though I wish I didn’t have to make it harder for folks by doing this.  But I’m just tired of checking the blog two or three times a day in order to delete these characters.

To my friends and followers out there, I hope you have some wonderful family time during this holiday season, and I appreciate very much your interest in this humble blogging adventure.