The year is 1943 and we’re on the Indiana Harbor Belt line. Switchman Daniel Senise is seen waiting for the movement after lining a switch while at work in an IHB railroad yard. Jack Delano photograph.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Last Saturday my friend Ron Findley and I drove up to Jackson, Louisiana to watch the steam-up scheduled for the day. This is the home of the Greater Baton Rouge Model Railroaders, and one of the club features is a nice elevated loop for the live steam buffs in the club. This day was host to a number of folks from out of state, and we delighted in seeing several new faces at the event.
Just heading out on the mainline after our arrival was this beautiful F scale D&RGW K-36 2-8-2, pulling a short passenger train over the line. An F scale (1:20.3) steamer is quite large, and the sounds are awesome!
Shortly afterwards, a Great Northern class S-2 4-8-4 took to the rails, seen here hauling a freight train with several perishables in tow. She had to make speed to arrive at her destination in a timely fashion!
Perhaps the most interesting thing run yesterday was this Schnabel car. It appears to be a model of the Westinghouse car, WECX 800, which I believe to be the largest Schnabel car in service. She sports 36 axles! These cars are used to transport very large and/or heavy loads. The car splits in the middle and the load is placed between the halves. In essence, the load virtually becomes a part of the car. The model was built with the aid of 3D printing, and is almost complete, with only the need for lettering and perhaps a detail or two.
And below we have a tidy little passenger train being hauled by what (I believe) to be a British 2-6-2. She is running on the portable loop seen in the background of a photo above, and was a sweet running little thing . . . a pleasure to see. Trevor, if you’re watching, this one’s for you 🙂
These are just a few of the locomotives performing during this day; quite a few others ran as well. I’ve posted photos previously of others that I’ve seen in earlier years, and a search should yield those posts if you would like to see them.
Continuing our coverage of the 745’s shake down run, we pan around as the train sashays by on this balmy February morning at a leisurely 10 mph. And we’re rewarded with a nice open end observation car following up the rear of the train. Note the kerosene marker lamps resplendently displayed in the traditional fashion.
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.
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.
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.
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.