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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Let's Go to New Jersey

The Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad Company was a U.S. Class 1 railroad that connected Buffalo, New York, and Hoboken, New Jersey a distance of about 400 miles. Incorporated in 1853,
the D. L. & W. was profitable during the first two decades of the twentieth century, but its margins were gradually hurt by declining traffic in coal, competition from trucks, and high New Jersey state taxes. In 1960, the D. L. & W. merged with rival Erie Railroad to form the Erie Lackawanna Railroad.
The train that we see on the front of this post card is from the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad while it was still going strong. The tracks going across the bridge are of the standard gauge size, as one would expect. However, it wasn't always this way. On March 15, 1876, D. L. & W. converted its line to standard gauge from 6-foot gauge.
If I have found the proper bridge on the internet (Bridgehunter.com), this one was built in 1903. It is of the Deck Truss Swing design. Its longest span is 221 feet and the total length is 870 feet and the deck is 30 feet wide.
The post card is an early example of the Divided Back Era post card. You can see that the address is on the right-hand side and there is a message to Andrew Robbins on the left-hand side. It confirms that the bridge was used for passenger service, as shown in the picture. The message reads, "I suppose you have been over this bridge many times. This is out back of where I board about 1/4 mile." It was mailed 6 months after the law came into effect that allowed people to write something other than the address on the back of the post cards.
The post card was manufactured in Germany for the Illustrated Postal Card Company from across the Hudson River in New York City. I have scanned their logo and the information on the post card that tells us who they are. This major publisher produced a wide variety of color halftone lithographic cards in series that were printed by Emil Pinkau in Leipzig, Saxony. Each city or location of their color card sets were assigned the same number prefix. They also published an unnumbered series of chromolithographic fine art cards that were printed in Dresden. Many of their early cards do not have their name on them, only their distinct eagle logo. This one happens to have both.

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If you know anything about the history of the cards, the trains or the locations, please add them.