Railroads at Work in 1954

The Association of American Railroads published this educational (i.e. propaganda) booklet for school children, but their cover graphic is somewhat strange. What are those trains doing up in the air, flying beside those smokestacks? Why is the sky behind the freight train white? Why does the smoke coming out of the steam locomotive’s stack form a straight line aimed towards the lefthand smokestack?

Click image to download a 38.7-MB PDF of this 44-page booklet.

Inside, the booklet has dozens of photos of trains, most of which have been carefully edited to remove the railroad names and logos. This creates a fun challenge to see if we can correctly identify the railroads in each photo. For example, the inside front cover shows a bridge under construction that we know is from the Great Northern. I’m less familiar with eastern roads, but the photo on page 4 looks like C&O, B&O, or N&W.

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