#365 – Library of Congress Images – Chicago Railway Yard

Chicago, Illinois. One of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad's '400' fleet of locomotives lined up for coal and water at a coaling station







Chicago, Illinois. Locomotive picking up coal and sand on its way out of the yards


Chicago, Illinois. Locomotives lined up for coal, sand and water at the coaling station in the yard of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad


Clinton, Iowa. Women wipers of the Chicago and Northwestern railroad cleaning one of the giant locomotives


Having explored inside the railway works, Jack Delano continued his documentation of the Chicago and North Western outside in the switching (shunting) yards. One tends to forget the enormous size of American steam locos until you see them with people next to them, and those depicted in these pictures aren’t even the really big stuff like the articulated ‘Big Boys’ that were built for war service in the American southwest.

It is interesting to note the women workers drafted into work in the railway – they are described as ‘wipers’ which I presume translates into ‘cleaners’ in British railway-speak. Much was made of the women aircraft workers (Google ‘Rosie the Riveter’) but like in Britain, women were at work across all industries including doing some very dirty jobs such as locomotive cleaning as well as ship building.

Chicago, Illinois. Locomotive taking on sand at an Illinois Central Railroad yard, before going out on the road


Locomotives over the ash pit at the roundhouse and coaling station at the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad yards, Chicago, Ill


Chicago, Illinois. Engines lined up at coaling station at an Illinois Central Railroad yard


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