Great Northern 1941 Annual Report

While Great Northern’s 1940 annual report featured GN’s most-powerful steam locomotive, a 2-8-8-2 R2, on the cover, the 1941 report introduces GN’s new FT Diesels. GN soon purchased 51 A units and 45 B units of this locomotive, but page 38 of this report indicates that, at the end of 1941, it had 17 more Diesel locomotives than in 1940, and presumably those were all FTs. (The older ones were all switch engines.)

Click image to download a 29.4-MB PDF of this annual report.

Page 19 mourns the death of Arthur Curtiss James, “at times the largest individual shareholder in the Company.” “No man since the passing of James Jerome Hill has exercised a greater influence on the general course of the Company,” it adds. Though I might argue in favor of Ralph Budd, James made sure the financing was available to carry out the tasks Budd undertook to finish the projects envisioned by Hill, including the Cascade Tunnel and California extension.

I sometimes wonder if James’ shares in the company came from the Hill family, as Louis Hill sold all but one of his shares in the 1920s, possibly due to the legal quarrels over the estate of his parents, who left no wills. James’ father, Daniel Willis James, was a close enough friend of the Hill family that Williston, North Dakota is named after him.


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