Climbing Up to the Cab

Jack Delano’s train has stopped at the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe yard in Winslow, Arizona. While stretching his legs, Mr. Delano captured this image as an engineer was climbing up to the cab of his locomotive. This is an EMD model FT diesel-electric freight locomotive, and as one of the newest members of the fleet, has been washed to look its finest for the run.

Climbing Up to the Cab

Aligning the Track

During his trip out west on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad in March of 1943, Jack Delano would take advantage of the various stops along the way to observe the surroundings. When the train reached a place named Iden, New Mexico, located between Clovis and Vaughn, he photographed this section gang as they were lining the track.

Assistant Foreman George Zamora is seen sighting down the rail looking at its alignment. They are checking for both vertical and horizontal alignment, and are also checking the track gauge as they work down the line.

Aligning the Track

AT&SF Depot at Isleta, New Mexico

During his trip to the west coast in March of 1943, Jack Delano recorded images of many of the depots along the route. Though they vary considerably in appearance, they are all recognizable as Santa Fe depots, this due to certain elements in their architecture. Some have a “mission style”, and others are rather plain. But they all have a certain “look” that says Santa Fe. I’ll intersperse them occasionally with other photographs taken along this journey.

As stated in the title above, this depot is located in Isleta, New Mexico, about 15 miles south of Albuquerque. Isleta is an Indian reservation, and is referred to as a pueblo (pueblo is Spanish for village). Indeed, the official name is Pueblo of Isleta, or Isleta Pueblo.

Note that the train order signal displays horizontal indications for trains in both directions. This indicates that the next train (in each direction) has orders to pick up as they pass by. It must be a chilly day as all the depot windows are closed. And with four chimneys, the building is apparently well heated. It seems that the waiting gentleman in the suit has found a new friend with the large dog.

AT&SF Depot at Isleta, New Mexico

The Rolling Inspection

In March of 1943, somewhere between Marceline, Missouri and Argentine, Kansas, our Santa Fe freight has pulled into a siding for an opposing train to pass. The crew will do a “rolling inspection” of the passing train, watching for any problems such as shifting freight, loose loads, hot boxes, etc. The brakeman for our train is likely on the other side of the mainline out of view, having looked over the far side of the passing train.

Jack Delano caught this view of the conductor giving a friendly wave and “highball” sign to the conductor and brakeman on the eastbound train indicating that all looks good on their train.

Brakemen Exchanging Highball Signs

Oil and Water

Continuing our trip to the west, we’ve arrived at Waynoka, Oklahoma. Mr. Delano was poking around stretching his legs, and took this image of the servicing area near the roundhouse. At center is an oil column used to fill locomotive tenders with fuel oil. Most AT&SF steamers used oil rather than coal due to air quality requirements on the west coast. To the left is the spout for a water penstock, this used to fill a tender’s water tank.

After water, fuel and lubrication, the train will be continuing its way west, likely with a fresh crew.

Jack Delano, March, 1943.

Oil and Water in Waynoka, Oklahoma

“Big Boy”, Part Deaux

I recently posted several photos that I’d taken this past Thursday and Friday of the Union Pacific’s “Big Boy” steam locomotive, a 4-8-8-4 behemoth that has been touring Louisiana for the past several days. I mentioned in Sunday’s post that a few of us would be heading down to Donaldsonville, Louisiana to hopefully see and photograph the locomotive and train another time or two.

The crowds were quite heavy, and traffic was, as expected, slowed to a crawl for miles! But we did manage to capture a few views from several places. Below are some highlights of the “chase”.

Click on each photo below to see a larger version without the comment imprinted on it.

The Union Pacific “Big Boy”

This past week a few friends and I spent some time trackside to view the Union Pacific’s 4-8-8-4 steam locomotive #4014 during its visit to Louisiana. On Thursday two of us traveled west across the Mississippi River to the area south of the U.P. yard in Livonia, Louisiana to scout out some potential photo locations for the next day. On Friday morning the train would be departing from Livonia, heading down to its next destination, New Orleans. After finalizing a good photo spot, we headed north to above the Livonia yard to await the train’s arrival from Beaumont, Texas. It was due to arrive at 5:00 pm, and they arrived only minutes late.

Click on each photo below to see a larger version without the comment imprinted on it.

Later today (Sunday) a few of us plan to run over to Donaldsonville, Louisiana to see the train heading back north from New Orleans on the next leg of its journey. If I’m lucky I may get a few more shots of this spectacular locomotive!

The Other Side of the Cab

Last week we saw Santa Fe Engineer B. F. Hale at the throttle of his locomotive as they were accelerating, having just left Kiowa, Kansas. The train then traveled through Oklahoma, a part of Texas, and has now progressed into New Mexico. We’re in Ricardo, somewhere between Clovis and Vaughn (the only sign of Ricardo I could find on the map was a cemetery by that name, located about midway between these points).

Jack Delano has swung around to capture Fireman C.P. Fryer at the firing stand of the locomotive. He’s charged with maintaining the proper fire in this oil burning steamer, as well as keeping the boiler full of water. He’ll keep his eye on the steam pressure gauge and on the stack, making sure he’s minimizing the smoke.

Since it’s March of 1943, the temperature shouldn’t be too bad as the train travels through this desert territory on its way to the west coast.

The Other Side of the Cab

At the Throttle

In March of 1943 while Jack Delano was working his way out west on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe, he managed to get a little cab time while the steam locomotive was under way. Pictured below is Engineer B. F. Hale at the throttle of his charge.

The train has left Wellington, Kansas and is passing through Kiowa on it’s way to Waynoka, Oklahoma. Mr. Hale has the throttle pulled pretty far back, and the Johnson bar (barely visible) appears to be far in the corner, so it’s likely the locomotive is pulling hard as it leaves town.

At the Throttle

An AT&SF Passenger Train in Kansas

Back in the winter of 2019/2020 we saw a few photographs that Jack Delano had taken during his trip out west on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad in March of 1943. Mr. Delano had recorded quite a few images during that trip, so I went back to the Library of Congress to review them. As a change of pace, I thought I’d share some of what I found.

Featured below is a Santa Fe passenger train passing through the Flint Hills district of Kansas. This is a famous stock feeding area. Heading up the consist is locomotive #3771, a 4-8-4 ‘Northern’ type machine. Built by Baldwin in 1938, this locomotive had 80″ drivers, boasted a 300 psi steam pressure, and produced a massive 79,968 lbs. of tractive effort. Suited for high speed runs all the way to the West Coast, she is shown here with her consist of at least 15 cars. Note the “tight” visor on the headlight, required for West Coast traffic during the war years.

An AT&SF Passenger Train in Kansas

And below is a view of the right side of the locomotive (photographer unknown).

AT&SF Loco #3771

The Watch Inspector

A very critical aspect of railroading is time. When a railroad has multiple trains running simultaneously, it is imperative that all operating people know exactly what time it is. Most folks know that the trains may be running on a schedule. But they also must meet opposing trains at particular places and times where they can pass safely. To do this, all employees carry an approved time piece (in this era, usually a pocket watch).

At the start of a run the conductor will synchronize his watch to the “official” clock at the station where the run originates. Then all of the crew members will synchronize their watches to his. This will ensure that everyone involved knows the correct time.

As I mentioned above, all watches must be approved. A railroad will publish a list of watches that have been approved based on their accuracy and dependability. It’s the employee’s responsibility to purchase, then keep his time piece in good condition. One of the requirements is to have the watch inspected on a regular basis with an official watch inspector. These trainmen are at the watch inspector’s office in the Union Station in Chicago, Illinois doing just that. The inspector will verify the watch’s accuracy, and make adjustments to the mechanism if required.

Jack Delano photograph, January, 1943.

Watch Inspections

‘TO TRAINS’ at Chicago Union Station

A neon sign prominently affixed near the center of the waiting room in the Chicago Union Station points the way to the trains. A temporary sign attached to the top of this fixture is directing military personnel to the USO lounge. And the poster at left encourages the folks to use transportation wisely . . . these last two, reminders of the war effort in full swing. Jack Delano captured this scene during his visit there in January of 1943.

Neon was quite popular for signage in those days, and other examples can be seen in the background. Note the arrow pointing to the Fred Harvey Cafeteria, and another sign for Parmelee Limousines.

We’ve already viewed a couple of scenes in this terminal. A couple years ago I posted a view of this location from a slightly different angle. And last year we saw this view of the station concourse.

TO TRAINS at Chicago Union Station