Seeing Jack Delano on a Cell Phone?

I recently purchased a new cell telephone, one of these new-fangled “smart” phones. While test driving the device, I logged into this blog site just to see how it looked on one of these things. I have to admit, it was terrible!

The problem is that the photos are so small. Even clicking to enlarge them, they are too small. It becomes obvious to me that if any of the readers of this blog are using a telephone to do so, they are really missing the beauty of Mr. Delano’s photographs. They absolutely must be seen in a larger size to be appreciated, and you need a fair sized computer screen to do that. OK, maybe a large tablet would work also. But the point is size . . . bigger is better!

Give it a try.


An Eastbound Passenger Train Flying By

Jack Delano’s freight train has pulled into a siding somewhere in the vicinity of McCook, Illinois, this being on the Santa Fe’s line running between Chicago and Chillicothe. He captured this image of an eastbound passenger train flying by, with the heavyweight cars lifting the snow on this frigid day in March of 1943. Upon reaching San Bernardino, California, the end of his journey, he will see railroaders in short sleeve shirts.

Eastbound Passenger Train Flying By

Comparing the Time (in color)

Back in April of 2019 I posted a black and white image of these railroaders as they were comparing their time pieces. I later discovered this color version of that photograph taken a few seconds later. The paragraph below is taken from that original posting and sums up the scene.

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.

Comparing the Time (in color)

An AT&SF Dispatcher at Work

A dispatcher at work in the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad offices at Marceline, Missouri. The wall calendar tells us that this is March of 1943. The Standard clock says that it’s 11:13:25 am, with a message below advising that the clock is running 4 seconds fast. That’s an interesting telephone system that the dispatcher is using. And note the various shades and light reflectors he has rigged up.

There is another dispatcher’s desk mirrored to this one at the pipe columns.

Photograph by Jack Delano

AT&SF Dispatcher at Work

Eastbound Train About to Depart

It was a clear day in March of 1943 when Jack Delano’s train was stopped in Vaughn, New Mexico. While there he spotted this eastbound freight train about to depart. Locomotive #5006 was a 2-10-4 “Texas” type beast built by Baldwin in 1938. She was retired in 1959.

The cabooses seen here are both equipped with the “wig-wag” targets that we’ve seen before in this post, along with their explanation. I think the targets show up much better in this photograph.

Eastbound Train About to Depart

AT&SF Depot at Black, Texas

Conductor E.K. Hill is seen reading his train orders as his train waits in a siding at Black, Texas. This small, but interesting depot is on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad located between Amarillo, Texas and Clovis, New Mexico.

AT&SF Depot at Black, Texas

A bit later Mr. Delano recorded this portrait of Conductor Hill. This gentleman hails from Amarillo, Texas.

Conductor E.K. Hill of Amarillo, Texas

Both photographs by Jack Delano, March of 1943.

AT&SF Depot at Hereford, Texas

Jack Delano is on the move again, and his train is passing by the depot in Hereford, Texas. The Santa Fe had quite a few designs for their train stations, some of masonry construction and others of wood. But they all seemed to have certain elements that made them distinctly Santa Fe. Here I particularly like the sloped sides of the bottom half of the structure’s brick walls, an architectural feature I’ve seen on several Illinois Central depots (Hammond, Louisiana and Brookhaven, Mississippi come to mind).

Since this is March of 1943, the vine growing on the bay window has gone dormant, likely a good thing as it appears to cover the station name. The building section to the right of the main structure is the Railway Express Agency’s facility. The train order signal displays the need for crews in each direction to pick up orders for their trains.

AT&SF Depot at Hereford, Texas

The Yardmaster in Amarillo, Texas

We’re in Amarillo, Texas in March of 1943, and Jack Delano has taken a bit of time to explore the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad yard there. He often sought out the yardmaster in the various yards he explored during his time photographing the railroads. And this visit was no exception, with Mr. Delano recording the Amarillo yardmaster at work.

Sitting behind the typically cluttered desk of a yardmaster, he is busy recording information in a ledger while talking on his candlestick scissor arm telephone. Also typical of a yardmaster’s office, he is surrounded by arch-boards filled with various forms, and with notices and pamphlets tacked on the walls.

Yardmaster in Amarillo Texas

AT&SF Depot at Pampa, Texas

I thought I’d fill in a few “blanks” in Jack Delano’s journey out west back in March of 1943. There were several Santa Fe depots that Mr. Delano photographed as he was passing by, one of them being a rather large facility in Pampa, Texas.

Pampa must have been a bustling place at the time judging from the number of businesses along the tracks. There looks to be a fair sized express building connected to the depot proper.

Details abound here: I like the brick platforms and I think the platform lights are interesting as well. Note the train order signal out between the double main lines. The horizontal position of the semaphore blades indicates that trains headed both ways need to pick up train orders.

AT&SF Depot at Pampa, Texas

Changing the Cabooses

Cabooses were often assigned to a specific conductor in earlier days. If you’ve followed this blog for the past few years, you’ve likely noticed how caboose interiors would be “customized” by the crew (usually the conductor).

We’re in Canadian, Texas and the freight train crews are changed at this point. A yard crew is exchanging the cabooses on the train on which Jack Delano has been riding, with the new conductor receiving his personal ride. Note the “wig-wag” target on the caboose cupola. Many Santa Fe cabooses utilized this interesting and somewhat unusual device during this time. The purpose was for signaling the engineer in those days before radios. The wig-wag was mounted on an arm (barely visible in the photograph), and had a lever extended into the cupola. This allowed the conductor to swing the target in an ark. There were essentially two signals: waving the target back and forth was a “highball” (the engineer was free to accelerate the train up to speed). Holding the signal straight up meant to stop. I believe these signals also had white and red lights mounted near the target center for nighttime use, with white indicating the highball, and red to stop the train.

Steam locomotive #1135 was holding the yard assignment on this day in March of 1943. This little 2-6-2 was in a group of “Prairie” locomotives delivered by Baldwin in 1902-3. Originally built as a 4-cylinder Vauclain compound, the locomotive was eventually converted to a conventional twin cylinder arrangement as shown here.

Changing the Cabooses

Going Through the Narrows

The Santa Fe freight train that we’ve been following is leaving Victorville and is heading south (railroad west) to San Bernardino, the last stop on our journey. The train is traversing what is known as the “Upper Narrows”, a winding route through the mountains. In the image below Jack Delano has photographed an unusual arched bridge from the rear platform of the caboose in which he’s riding. Known as the Rainbow Bridge, this carries Mineral Road over the Mojave River, a bit of which can be seen at right. A second plate girder span, out of view around the curve, continues the roadway across the tracks. This bridge still exists today, though it is out of service. This scene is no longer possible as a twin span of newer concrete bridges immediately adjacent to the Rainbow Bridge obstructs the view.

Going Through the Narrows

Below, our train is getting closer to San Bernardino, and is in the vicinity of Summit (Valley). These are the Lower Narrows. We’re easing downgrade here, and as we’ve seen in earlier postings, a brakeman is riding the top of the cars (look for him in the distance). And far ahead around the curve, the locomotive’s position is betrayed by a bit of steam exhaust as the train drifts down the hill.

Going Through a Cut

Photographs by Jack Delano, March of 1943.