The Oil-Electric Locomotive

An “oil electric” was a Diesel, but World War I was too fresh in people’s minds to use that term in 1926. This particular locomotive was built by three companies: Ingersoll Rand built the Diesel, General Electric the generator and motors, and Alco the rest of the locomotive.

Click image to download an 1.6-MB PDF of this brochure.

These three companies built a demonstrator model in July, 1925, and the Long Island Railroad was one of the first companies to buy one in January, 1926. The brochure says that it was used by the Long Island in switching service 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from February 15 to May 2.

Continue reading

Railroads: Their Growth & Development

Written for a more adult audience, this booklet focuses on the benefits provided by the railroads while neglecting to mention or painting over the scandals, controversies, and financial panics brought about by their construction and operation. A series of maps shows rail lines in every decade from 1830 to 1890 plus 1958. There is also a curious map showing all the land in the country that is more than 25 miles from a rail line, which mainly consists of land in the West and northern Maine.

Click image to download a 13.0-MB PDF of this 36-page booklet.

The booklet uses many of the photos found in Railroads at Work, but some are new. For example, a photo of the interior of an observation car on page 25 appears to be taken of the 1956 Denver Zephyr, while the observation car in the earlier booklet was from the 1947 Empire Builder (and therefore also the 1951 Western Star).

The Stories Behind the Pictures

I noted that yesterday’s booklet was designed to go along with the Railroads at Work booklet, but the former never really mentioned the latter. However, this one–which is labeled “vol. 2”–offers a detailed picture-by-picture explanation of 64 of the photos and illustrations in Railroads at Work.

Click image to download a 50.6-MB PDF of this 76-page booklet.

An entire page is devoted to each illustration, with about 650 words of description followed by eight to twelve discussion questions teachers can ask their students. For example, photo 11 in Railroads at Work shows a conductor and engineer comparing watches. The explanation in this booklet describes how the railroads created time zones in 1883. Continue reading

Teacher’s Manual

This booklet was apparently distributed to teachers to use with the Railroads at Work booklets, which were given to students. This manual is dated 1956, so it goes along with yesterday’s booklet.

Click image to download a 33.2-MB PDF of this 58-page booklet.

The manual is highly elaborate, suggesting readings, writing assignments, songs students can sing, plays they can stage, railroad artworks they can create, and much more. Considering this is blatant propaganda about one industry, it is hard to believe that any teachers would actually use it–imagine teachers today using study guides provided by the American Petroleum Institute or the lobby group from some other controversial industry. The 1950s may have been more innocent times, but I also suspect that schools in railroad towns such as Altoona, PA or Aurora, IL would have been most receptive to these materials.

Railroads at Work in 1956

By 1956, most railroads had nearly completed the replacement of steam with Diesel, so the steam locomotive in yesterday’s booklet has been replaced with three Diesels. It looks like someone took an Xacto knive and removed the steamer, leaving a white background, which may explain why the entire freight train has a white background–it replaced some other train from an earlier edition. For this edition, they also gratuitously replaced the EMD-looking Diesels on the passenger train with ones looking more shark-nosed.

Click image to download a 33.5-MB PDF of this 44-page booklet.

Inside, the contents of the two booklets are similar, but some of the photos have been updated or changed. The inside front cover photo of a bridge under construction, for example, has been replaced by one of the vista-dome North Coast Limited going over a bridge near Butte, Montana.

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.

Named Trains

In 1952, the Association of American Railroads estimated that there were 13,000 daily trains in the United States, including “local and suburban [i.e., commuter] trains,” but not subway or other urban transit trains. Of the 13,000, about 650 were distinguished enough to deserve names, and this booklet lists those names, the railroads that operated them, where they went, and whether they were powered by steam, Diesel, or electric locomotives. Canadian trains such as the Continental Limited and Dominion are included as well.

Click image to download a 14.1-MB PDF of this 28-page booklet.

Romantic names including the Empire Builder, Orange Blossom Special, and Twentieth Century Limited are all listed here, but there were plenty of trains with less distinctive names. Two different railroads had trains called the Chicago Express, one of which also ran a Chicago Limited. Two other railroads had trains called the Chicago Night Express, while a third had a Chicago Daylight Express. Then there was a Chicago Mail, a Chicago Special, and two different railroads with trains called the Chicagoan. While the Southern Pacific made the name Daylight famous, at least four other railroads ran at least six other trains with the word “daylight” in their names.

Rock Island 1966 Timetable

Consisting of twelve pages that are half the size of a regular timetable, this timetable uses the same amount of space as the 1961 condensed timetable. Not surprisingly, however, several trains are missing, mostly in the form of reduced frequencies.

Click image to download a 4.1-MB PDF of this timetable.

Perhaps the biggest gap is trains 39 & 40. Once called the Imperial but unnamed and down to coaches only–no food-service cars–in the 1961 timetable, these were the secondary trains on the Chicago-Los Angeles Golden State route. But with this timetable they only went between Kansas City and Los Angeles, and Chicago passengers had to change trains at Kansas City and Davenport, Iowa. Continue reading

Rock Island 1961 Condensed Timetable

The 1961 condensed timetable is only three-fourths as large as the 1957 edition. All of Rock Island’s train schedules (except Chicago commuter trains) fit on three 4″-by-9″ panels, whereas it took seven in 1957.

Click image to download a 2.1-MB PDF of this timetable.

The only 1957 route that was no longer served in 1961 was Kansas City-Goodland. But frequencies were reduced on numerous routes, including Chicago-Des Moines, Chicago-Peoria, Minneapolis-St. Louis, and Minneapolis-Dallas routes.

Rock Island 1957 Condensed Timetable

Rock Island’s 1957 system timetable was a respectable 20 pages long. But the condensed version fits into the equivalent of just four pages. One whole page shows Chicago-Colorado, with five trains a day to Peoria, four to Des Moines, two to Omaha, and one to Denver-Colorado Springs.

Click image to download a 2.7-MB PDF of this timetable.

Chicago-Los Angeles, which only had two trains a day, got two-thirds of a page, with the rest going to an expanded version of the five Chicago-Peoria trains. Memphis-Los Angeles and Minneapolis-Houston get a half page each, and Minneapolis-St. Louis shares a half page with Kansas City-Goodland Kansas. The last train theoretically could provide a connection for people from St. Louis to take the Rocky Mountain Rocket, but it doesn’t–instead, Rock Island left the St. Louis-Kansas City market to Missouri Pacific and the Wabash.