Working With the Valve Gear

In the previous post Jack Delano photographed a pair of workers in the cab of a steam locomotive under repair. Afterward he headed to the front half of the steamer to find this young man. With Stillson wrench in hand and folding rule in his pocket, and surrounded by rods, pipes and wheels, he is busy working with the machine’s valve gear. We’re at the C&NW railroad’s 40th Street shops near Chicago in December of 1942.

Young Worker at C&NW Shops in Chicago

Double-headed Steam on the C&NW

A pair of steam locomotives are at work in the Chicago & North Western’s Proviso Yard near Chicago. Jack Delano visited the facility several times, in December of 1942 and again in April and May of 1943. This photograph’s date is uncertain but I’d judge it to be either December or April. Whatever the date, it’s obviously chilly as that switchman (barely visible near the end of a gondola) is bundled up, and the steamers have quite a bit of condensate in their exhaust.

The lead locomotive, #2570, is an Alco product of 1922 and is a “J” class 2-8-2 Mikado. I’m not able to identify the second machine, but it appears to be a similar locomotive. The switchmen must have been working with a long cut to need this much power!

Double-headed Steam on the C&NW

AT&SF Freight Leaving Argentine Yard

Jack Delano recorded this night-time image of AT&SF steam locomotive #3167 as it departed the Argentine Yard with its freight train in tow. This yard is located in Kansas City, Kansas, and there are traces of snow still on the ground in this March, 1943 scene.

The #3167 was a ‘Mikado’ type 2-8-2 built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1917. She sported 63″ diameter drivers, 27″ x 32″ cylinders, a 200 psi boiler pressure, and exerted 62, 950 pounds of tractive effort.

She was lost in a flood in 1952 and is said to still be sunk in the Kaw River in Topeka, Kansas.

AT&SF Freight Leaving Argentine Yard

Potato Trucks at Caribou, Maine

I know, this post strays a bit from railroading. But I love this image, and it does have what is obviously (at least to me) a railroad station.

In October of 1940 Jack Delano found himself in Caribou, Maine. This photograph was recorded of a group of potato trucks parked alongside the road, and by a train depot. The notes accompanying the image say that this group of almost 50 trucks was waiting in line outside of a starch factory to be weighed and graded. Some had been waiting for over 24 hours!

The view of the trucks is interesting, but it’s the depot that caught my eye. A bit over a year ago I posted a photograph of the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad depot in Caribou. The railroad serving this facility isn’t mentioned. A bit of research revealed that another railroad, the Aroostook Valley, had existed here at this time. This electrified line had both freight and passenger service, and potatoes were it’s largest freight revenue. So is this an A.V. depot, or perhaps an older B.A.R. structure? If any readers know, please comment and solve the mystery.

Potato Trucks at Caribou, Maine

Shipping Milk in a Reefer

It’s still three months before the United States would enter World War II, and Jack Delano is already traveling the country documenting people and industry at work. He found himself at the United Farmers’ Cooperative Creamery in Sheldon Springs, Vermont on a September day in 1941. He photographed this worker shoveling chunks of ice over the milk cans that have just been loaded into a refrigerated railroad car (a reefer in railroad parlance). One would assume that there is no icing dock in Sheldon Springs, thus requiring the workers to cover the cans with large ice chunks as we see here.

There is no information with the photograph indicating what railroad line this creamery is served by, but I would speculate that it’s the Central Vermont based on where Sheldon Springs is located (just below Canada).

Shipping Milk in a Reefer

Wrapping Up Lunch

Jack Delano rode a number of trains on the Santa Fe railroad during his trip out west in March of 1943. This scene was recorded in the caboose while traveling the run between Waynoka, Oklahoma and Canadian, Texas. Conductor James M. Johnson and Brakeman Jack Torbet have just wrapped up their lunch, with Brakeman Torbet washing down the last of his meal, while Conductor Johnson lights up his cigar.

I like the clever way they have stored a supply of air hose gaskets (seen at upper left), making a holder from a scrap of wire and a pair of those rubber gaskets. And I note that Conductor Johnson has acquired a new broom to keep his caboose tidy.

Wrapping Up Lunch

Going Down the Mountain

When Jack Delano traveled out to California on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe in March of 1943, he recorded this view of a brakeman riding on the roof of their freight train as they were descending slowly down a grade. They’re in the vicinity of Summit, California on the line running between Barstow and San Bernardino.

I suspect that the train had stopped to let the brakes cool a bit when this photograph was taken. I doubt Mr. Delano would have been atop a moving train with his large camera! Note that the brakeman is carrying a brake club, used primarily to tighten vertical staff brake wheels. And also note the wooden running boards atop the reefer (refrigerated car) that the brakeman is riding. Can you imagine walking those in inclement weather wearing leather-soled shoes?

Going Down the Mountain

NYC at the ICRR in Chicago

In April of 1943 Jack Delano was visiting an Illinois Central rail yard, along with some of their facilities in Chicago. He spied this New York Central locomotive spotting cars at the I.C. freight terminal located on South Water Street. The locomotive is a 600 HP model SW1 switcher built by EMD. The number 622 was in the N.Y.C.’s second order of this type.

The N.Y.C. was one of the railroads that leased terminal facilities from the I.C.R.R. in Chicago.

NYC Switcher at ICRR Freight Terminal

Cloe Weaver, Turntable Operator

One of my favorite areas around a railroad is the roundhouse, and the attendant turntable. We’ve seen several images these past few years showing railroaders at work in these areas, and also the nearby shops. We’ve also seen photographs of women at work on the railroad. With the war going on and men becoming short in supply, women stepped up to fill many of the roles traditionally done by men. They weren’t afraid to don a pair of dungarees and get their hands dirty.

We’re at the C&NW roundhouse located in Clinton, Iowa. Mrs. Cloe Weaver, employed as a helper, is learning to operate the turntable. She’s the mother of four, and her husband is employed by a structural steel company.

Image by Jack Delano, April, 1943.

Cloe Weaver Operating C&NW Turntable

Housing for Railroad Workers

In November of 1941 Jack Delano was traveling through the South and was recording views along the way. This image was taken in Greene County, Georgia. Not much is noted with the photograph other than these were houses for railroad workers. Judging from the scene, I’d venture a guess that this housing is for a section gang.

Section gangs (often referred to as Gandy Dancers in the early years) were charged with maintaining a given stretch of railroad track. The foreman of the gang likely resides in the large house at left, with his workers in the others.

Houses for Railroad Workers

B&O Shops in Du Bois, Pa.

Jack Delano visited the city of Du Bois, Pennsylvania back in September of 1940. He took this panoramic view of the shop facility there, and the housing located on the hillside adjacent to the yard. There was no information recorded about this scene beyond the date and location. And I’m not very familiar with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad which we are seeing here.

I’m speculating that this might be a deadline for steam locomotives. There is a line of empty locomotive tenders in the foreground. And virtually none of the locomotives behind this have their tenders. Several have their stacks capped, and at least one has the back of the cab boarded up. We can see a traveling crane at left-rear, so outdoor heavy lifting is done here. But I can’t spot any locomotive being cut up. So the mystery remains for me.

I notice a good bit of laundry hanging on the lines in the background, so assume we aren’t near a large yard. Indeed, the only hot locomotive appears to be the shop switcher. You can click on the image to see a much larger version if you wish to study it. Feel free to comment if you can shed more light on this scene.

B&O Railroad Yard, Du Bois, Pa.