Spiffing Up the Power

It’s March of 1943, and we’re in the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe roundhouse located in the Argentine Yard in Kansas. Jack Delano photographed a worker washing down the nose of one of the road’s diesel locomotives.

This is a four unit set of EMD model FT locomotives, each producing 1,350 horsepower. The set had an “A” unit (a unit with a cab) on each end, and a pair of “B” units (without cabs) in the center. The road considered this a single 5,400 horsepower locomotive. While many FT locomotives were sold as a pair of semi-permanently units, the Santa Fe ordered theirs with conventional couplers at the end of each unit, thereby giving them more flexibility in their arrangement.

ATSF FT #103, Argentine, Kansas

Meet With an AT&SF Passenger Train

Jack Delano recorded many scenes during his journey on an Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe freight train back in March of 1943. Leaning out of the cupola window of his caboose, the photographer was able to document the meet of his train with one of the road’s crack passenger trains, likely the Super Chief. The location is near Sibley, Missouri.

The train is powered by the Santa Fe’s sole set of Alco DL series locomotives. The lead A unit is a DL-107 numbered 50, with the trailing B unit a DL-108 numbered 51. Each of these locomotives is powered by a pair of six cylinder 539T diesel engines, giving each unit a 2000 horsepower rating.

Meet With AT&SF Passenger Train

Mystery Train at Cajon Pass

Jack Delano is at the AT&SF Railway’s Cajon Pass located between the San Bernardino and San Gabriel Mountains in Southern California. It’s a beautiful day in March of 1943, and Mr. Delano was lucky to record two trains moving through the pass simultaneously.

And therein lies a bit of mystery. The image is labeled as AT&SF trains passing through the Cajon Pass. It further identifies the passenger train as the Chief (a first class Santa Fe train). However close inspection of the original photograph has what appears (to me) a Union Pacific locomotive at the head of that passenger train. Indeed, I can faintly make out the word “Pacific” on the Vanderbilt tender. As I recollect, the U.P. eventually gained trackage rights through Cajon Pass, so I would think it possible that this is a U.P. train.

At upper left we can faintly see a pair of steam locomotive pushers on the rear of what appears to be a train of refrigerated cars, likely an express train carrying produce. Black plumes of smoke mark their location. If one projects the line of the reefers toward the right, you can discern the continuation of the grade at the upper right. Apparently the head end of this train is behind the distant ridge seen just above the passenger train locomotive.

If you click on the image, you’ll get an enlarged view. I’ve provided a larger image than usual there to aid in seeing the details that are present.

AT&SF Trains at Cajon Pass

A Meet on the Santa Fe

In March of 1943 Jack Delano hitched a ride on a west-bound freight of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe on its journey to Kansas City, Kansas. The train met an east-bound train while along it’s route between Fort Madison, Iowa and Marceline, Missouri. The crew gives the photographer a friendly wave as their train passes by.

This line apparently still sees heavy traffic, as a search on Google Maps shows the line between Fort Madison and Kansas City is still double tracked.

AT&SF Crew and Caboose

AT&SF Locomotive Service Facility – Argentine Yard

Jack Delano paid a visit to the AT&SF Argentine Yard in Kansas City, Kansas. It’s a frosty day in March of 1943 when he recorded this image at the locomotive service facilities. The huge concrete structure is the coaling tower, and the sanding towers are seen stretching out from its side.

The Santa Fe underwent a large conversion program in the late 1930s, moving from coal to oil to fuel most of their steam locomotives. Those machines here all appear to have oil tanks in their tenders, with the oil column for filling seen behind the 3185. A water penstock stands just beyond the 838 in the distance. The road must have some heavy grades, as the two Mikados are sporting twin sand domes.

The 3185 is a 3160 class locomotive, while the 4000 is the class locomotive in its order. The 4000 class was the last order for Mikados by the Santa Fe. The 838 is an interesting locomotive. It’s a member of a class of locomotives built by Rhode Island in 1902. It was originally a 2-8-0 built as a four cylinder tandem compound. The class was rebuilt between 1919-1922 as simple locomotives, and then later converted to 0-8-0 switchers.

This is, again, one of those photos that has plenty of interesting details. I’ve posted it in a larger size that I normally use . . . click on it to see the enlargement.

AT&SF Locomotive Service Facility - Argentine Yard

Cane Train in Puerto Rico

Jack Delano spent a bit of time down in Puerto Rico back in January of 1942, no doubt a relief from the winter weather in the northeastern part of the United States. While there he toured the vast sugar industry on the island.

The image below shows one of the many steam powered sugar cane trains at a location near Guánica. The harvested cane is hauled from the fields in the oxen powered carts, then loaded onto the train for the trip to the mill.

The 3-spot appears to be of Baldwin origin, and based on the headlight and its slide valves, I would guess its build dates to the early twentieth century. With a 4-6-0 wheel arrangement, she’s a good bit larger than what us Louisianians were accustomed to seeing in our cane fields.

Cane Train near Guanica, Puerto Rico

B&O at Punxsutawney, PA

It’s August of 1940, and the United States involvement in World War II is still more than a year away. Jack Delano recorded this view of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad facilities at Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania from a hillside overlooking the yard. That’s the Mahoning Creek Lake (actually a river) that the yard is wrapped around.

The B&O moves a lot of coal through these mountains. It obviously takes a lot of power to achieve that, with more than twenty locomotives at the ready near the huge coaling tower in the distance. And this hazy day is likely due in part to all of those steamers simmering while they wait.

B&O Railroad Yards at Punxsutawney, PA

Norfolk Southern #134 at Elizabeth City, NC

Apparently Jack Delano would occasionally stop and take a few photographs while traveling to each of his major areas of interest. In the summer of 1941 he was in Elizabeth City, North Carolina where he captured this view of a Norfolk Southern freight sitting near the freight station. It seems to be a beehive of activity, with many workers around.

Locomotive number 134 was a 4-6-0 ten-wheeler, a product of the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1913. She was one of four class D-6 steamers produced that year, and she sported 20″x28″ cylinders and 60″ drivers. Her tractive effort was 31,800 lbs., a bit higher than her sisters constructed in 1911.

At first I thought the steamer had a couple of refrigerator cars in tow, but a closer look at the roof-top hatches causes me to think that these may be ventilated boxcars. Anyone care to venture a guess?

This is another of those photos with several interesting details. There are a number of stake-bed trucks around, presumably hauling goods for loading. In the background one of the trucks is being unloaded. It’s difficult to make out the product, but I wonder if it might be tobacco.

Of interest is the “work bench” in the foreground, with it’s vise. I assume it was N.S. property since it has what appears to be a spare air house lying on it’s deck.

NS #134 at Elizabeth City, NC

SP #745 at Hammond, La.

Last weekend I attended a train show over in Ponchatoula, Louisiana. While there I ran across an old friend that I hadn’t seen in perhaps 25 years. He mentioned that he had been checking out the photos that I have posted, and wondered if I’d perhaps post something more local to this area (South Louisiana). I informed him that the vast majority of my slide collection had been lost in the Great Flood of 2016, therefore I had precious little to share. But digging through my “scraps”, I came across this photograph I’d taken of the former Southern Pacific steamer #745.

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. She has been restored back to operating condition by the Louisiana Steam Train Association (LASTA) in New Orleans.

In 2005 the #745 and her train were on a tour around the state. It’s the month of May, and the train had been on display in Hammond, Louisiana for the day. In late afternoon I captured this view as the train departed for Baton Rouge, the next leg of it’s trip. Looking north, we see the train backing down the Canadian National’s McComb Subdivision mainline (this is the line between Chicago and New Orleans). The switch in the background is the beginning of the Hammond Subdivision, where she will stop and reverse direction, then head west for Baton Rouge.

SP #745, Hammond, La.

The B.A.R. Depot, Caribou, Maine

Caribou, Maine purported itself to be “the greatest potato shipping point in the world”, and it may well have been in October of 1940 when Jack Delano paid them a visit. This is the small, but stately Bangor and Aroostook Railroad passenger depot in Caribou. And note the line of both single and double sheathed wooden boxcars in the background, at least one of which utilizes truss rods for support. I would imagine that time was certainly short for these well traveled cars.

One detail of this photograph that I really love is the street lamp on the square pole, set prominently up front in this view. It’s the corrugated reflector lamp itself that gets my attention, as I remember their prolific use in small towns of the deep South while in my youth. They were used on poles, and were also suspended from cables stretched across a roadway or drive . . . a nice piece of nostalgia.

BAR Depot, Caribou, Maine

Oiling Up the #403

It’s an overcast day in October of 1940, and we’re paused in the yard near the Bangor and Aroostook freight house in Caribou, Maine. Jack Delano documented the engineer as he was oiling around his locomotive prior to it’s run. The locomotive wasn’t identified in this photograph, but it appears to be the #403 seen from a different vantage point than the view in this prior post. Note the mix of steel and wooden cars in the background.

Oiling Up BAR #403