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Classic Trains

Classic Trains June 2019

CELEBRATE THE GOLDEN AGE OF AMERICAN RAILROADING – WHEN GIANT STEAM LOCOMOTIVES, COLORFUL DIESELS AND STEAMLINERS SHARED THE RAILS. CLASSIC TRAINS COVERS THE 1930’S THROUGH THE 1970’S WITH REMARKABLE PHOTOGRAPHY, DETAILED REPORTING AND FIRST-HAND ACCOUNTS FROM PEOPLE WHO WORKED THE GREAT PASSENGER AND FREIGHT TRAINS.

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Country:
United States
Language:
English
Publisher:
Kalmbach Publishing Co. - Magazines
Frequency:
Quarterly
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$24.95
4 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
treasures in the archives

In this issue, we kick off a new series of feature articles, “Archive Treasures.” The “Archive” in the name refers to the large and growing collection of the Center for Railroad Photography & Art. Since its establishment in 1997, the Center has amassed for preservation and presentation hundreds of thousands of images, mostly photographs. In each issue, we’ll present an article illustrated with images from CRPA’s collection. The Center’s current president, Scott Lothes, describes the work of his organization in detail in “Classics Today” [page 86]. “Treasures” refers to the importance of the images, which came from the cameras of some of the most talented and prolific railroad photographers of the 20th century, including J. Parker Lamb, Wallace W. Abbey, and Jim Shaughnessy. The work of other, less widely published photographers…

3 min.
head end

Train time on the GN Sometime in the 1940s, passengers at Great Northern’s station at Belton, Mont., look into the late-afternoon sun for their train, the eastbound Empire Builder. Most of the folks are dressed for travel, while the man in work clothes and the boy and woman behind him might be meeting someone off the train. Now called West Glacier, this station still serves Amtrak’s Empire Builder. Cozy quarters on an NYC barge New York Central’s barge Cold Spring, part of the railroad’s armada of floating equipment in New York Harbor, looks truly spartan from the outside (below). Yet there’s an air of homey-ness to the captain’s quarters (right), with framed pictures on the walls, curtains on the windows, personal items on a desk and sitting table, and a coffee pot on…

2 min.
reviews

The Railroad Photography of Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg By Tony Reevy. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Ind. 198 pages, $50. A year after the release of the late John Gruber’s book about Beebe and Clegg (reviewed in our Summer ’18 issue) comes another fine study of the duo. Inevitably, there’s a good amount of narrative and photographic overlap between the two works. Tony Reevy’s book begins with a 20-page essay on the two men as individuals, life partners, and photographers, then presents their photos in four thematic groups (“The Three-Quarters Shot,” “A Modernist View of the American Railroad,” “Railroaders,” and “The Railroad in Its Environment”). Beautifully designed, the new book suffers slightly in terms of photo reproduction and captioning. — Robert S. McGonigal A Railroad Life — 1: On the road with Mike Bednar By…

5 min.
fast mail

A Santa Fe icon preserved Regarding the Santa Fe article in Spring 2019, there was a great photo of Chicago’s Railway Exchange Building on page 95. That sign on the roof was acquired for preservation by the Illinois Railway Museum. Thanks to significant donations, a ground-level support structure was constructed near the museum’s entrance, the lettering rehung, and the lighting restored. On October 29, 2016, a dedication ceremony was held, and at sunset the Santa Fe sign was officially relit. — Paul Schneble, Milwaukee, Wis. Santa Fe, all the way to Chile I enjoyed the article about the Santa Fe Purchasing & Stores department in the Spring 2019 issue. I too had a dealing with them. In 1961 a friend wrote and told me the Santa Fe was selling a few steam locomotive bells…

5 min.
my fleeting affair with the monon

My dad wasn’t a railfan, but he knew his railroads — or at least the ones on our family’s wider turf, roughly southwestern Michigan, northwest Indiana, and northeastern Illinois. Whenever we made trips to visit the relatives in the late 1950s, he’d call out the various carriers as the family Ford bounced over two-lane-highway grade crossings. “Toledo, Peoria & Western!” he’d bark. Or “Grand Trunk Western! That’s the Pennsylvania! C&O! EJ&E!” My favorite was “Monon!” Not because I had any particular knowledge of the Monon (moe-non), nor at first any interest. It was more just the sound of that name. To an eight-year-old kid, “Monon” was, well, weird and somehow catchy. What’s a Monon? Where’s Monon? My interest was piqued a bit more a few years later. One day in the summer of…

11 min.
quiet monsters coming to life

In the early 20th century, railroads attracted a devoted following of amateur photographers. Cameras had become accessible to the general public, and rail enthusiasts took them trackside. Their primary objective was the engine portrait: meticulously composed three-quarter views of steam locomotives. The perfect specimen rendered every mechanical detail with exacting clarity. By the 1930s, the engine portrait had reached maturity, and a few pioneering railroad photographers sought to create a new aesthetic. One who led the charge was a tall New Jersey man named Donald W. Furler. Born in 1917 in a house next to the New York, Susquehanna & Western tracks in Hawthorne, Furler grew up with a fascination for railroads, especially steam locomotives. His family did not own a car and traveled extensively by train, and a tinplate layout filled…