Camp Cars – Part 1

During his trip out west on the Santa Fe in March of 1943, Jack Delano’s train had a stop in Iden, New Mexico. Iden is located between Clovis and Vaughn, and is rather isolated. A few weeks ago we saw a photograph of a section gang doing some track alignment in Iden. While there Mr. Delano also recorded some images of the camp cars of the work train that the workers were assigned to.

The scene below is inside one of the bunk cars where these men rested when off duty. It’s not too fancy, but does have heat, along with a table and chair(s). At least one kerosene lamp is visible over one of the bunks. And speaking of bunks, those look virtually identical to the ones I enjoyed while employed by the Marines back in the ’60s . . . some things didn’t change much between those decades! 🙂

Inside an AT&SF Bunk Car

And below we have the commissary car. Here workers could acquire the various supplies needed during their stay in this remote area. Just about any clothing was available, from head to toe. And one could buy toothpaste and a brush, medical supplies such as Bayer aspirin, Ex-Lax and Vicks, and more. For comfort, you had a choice of pipes and a variety of tobaccos, or cigarettes (Lucky Strike seems to be the brand most often purchased). And if you had the time, you could enjoy a few games using the Bicycle playing cards. The store’s clerk is Mr. J.E. Straight of Newton, Kansas.

Inside an AT&SF Commissary Car

Colorado River Rail Bridge

We’re in the vicinity of Topcock, Arizona. Here the AT&SF line running between Seligman, Arizona and Needles, California crosses the Colorado River into California. There are several interesting things in this photograph. Since we’re well into WWII, note the military sentry guarding the bridge. Also note the gauntlet trackage crossing the span. A gauntlet (sometimes spelled gantlet) is typically used to bring a pair of tracks together, overlapping them in areas that have insufficient clearance, such as a narrow bridge. Here we have the four rails of the two mainline tracks, and a pair of guardrails in the center.

This bridge and alignment have since been replaced with an elevated structure supported from below. Judging from the telltale over the curved tracks leading to the bridge, I would speculate that clearances on this bridge weren’t sufficient to handle the now-common double stack container traffic. This new span is also wider, allowing the double track mainline to cross without the use of the gauntlet. And another interesting note: the Google Maps street view shows the current bridge still displaying the Santa Fe heralds on several spans.

Photographed by Jack Delano in March, 1943.

Colorado Rail Bridge with Guard

Passing Over the EsPee

In Vaughn, New Mexico the Santa Fe (literally) crosses over the Southern Pacific Railroad (the EsPee, as it was affectionately known). Mr. Delano recorded this scene as they were passing above the EsPee mainline. Note the coaling tower, along with the huge water tank and penstock. Off in the far distance one can make out the rather large two-story Southern Pacific station, along with a smaller building and a large storage tank.

There doesn’t seem to be much here beyond that. A look at Google maps shows this location still exists, with the BNSF Railway crossing over the Union Pacific. There is what appears to be an interchange track connecting the two lines, but beyond that, there is not much else. The structures are gone now, replaced by what appears to be a trailer near where the wooden structure is in the foreground.

Jack Delano photograph, March, 1943.

Passing Over the EsPee

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