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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Gone. But, Not Forgotten.

The photo on the front of this post card is a picture of one of the diesel locomotives that Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway (Santa Fe) ordered
from General Electric's locomotive division. It is a U-28 CG model of locomotive; one of many U-series locomotives known as U-boats by train enthusiasts. Santa Fe was the only railroad company to order any of these - and they only ordered ten of them. They were numbered 350 through 359 when they were delivered for passenger service. The CG in the model nomenclature indicates that there was a steam generator on board the locomotive so that it could heat up the interiors of the passenger cars that it pulled. It was located between the cab and the engine compartment. The tanks under the locomotive were divided into two compartments with two different refilling openings so they could each hold both fuel and water. The ten locomotives were delivered in August and September of 1966 and put immediately to use to replace the aging F-units that Santa was using. You can see that the company painted these engines with the famous "Warbonnet" paint scheme. These locomotives stayed in passenger service until a serious accident on February 9, 1969 involving another engine from the U-series. Santa Fe re-geared these locomotives from 77:26 (for speedy passenger service) to 77:18 (for powerful freight service). When they were switched to freight service they were also renumbered into 7900 through 7909. These ten engines stayed in service until September of 1980, when the last one was scrapped.
These locomotives now only survive in pictures. The post card was published by Vanishing Vistas. It is a company that is still around today. It is owned by Richard Cox who started it in 1967 with the specific intention of helping locomotives survive, if only in pictures. The company is headquartered in Rocklin, California, a city very close to Sacramento. You may also notice that the picture was taken by Lyman E. Cox. I do not know, but I would be willing to guess that the two are related. The post card came from my "Large Cards" collection; it is approximately 14 by 22 centimeters (5 1/2 by 8 3/4 inches). It takes up one whole page of the album.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

England after 1920

The picture on the front of this post card was taken after 1920. This is the first of my blogs after 2020. To this end I wish each you reading this a Happy and HEALTHY New Year. The locomotive on the front of this post card is from England. It is an Atlantic-type (4-4-2) steam locomotive that belonged to the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER). Although the first Atlantic-type locomotive
first appeared in England in 1880, the picture on this post card has to be from after 1921. That is at least 40 years in which the Atlantic-type locomotives provide service to the English railways. There were two versions of the Atlantic-type: on was called the tank locomotive and the other the tender locomotive. The tank locomotive carries the water (and perhaps some oil) on board while the tender locomotive is pulling a car built specially for this function (it has at times been called a coal car). In Canada, starting on September 6, 1918, the Canadian National Railway was formed out of many railway companies that were floundering. The London and North Eastern Railway (L.N.E.R.)was formed in a similar manner in England through the Railways Act of 1921. The act brought together the Great Eastern Railway, the Great Central Railway, the Great Northern Railway, the Great North of Scotland Railway, the Hull and Barnsley Railway, the North British Railway and the North Eastern Railway. Their combined mileage came to 10,600 kilometers and covered most of England and Scotland. The LNER became part of the British Railways when it was all nationalized in 1948. The back of the post card reminds me that this is part of a collection that I
purchased. Each card has the same handwriting in the same black ink with details about the picture on the front. It also clues me in that this is a real photo post card. It was published by Railway Photographs. When I looked at their address: 23 Hanover Street in Liverpool, England, I did not see an operating business at this location. They were, however, very close to the shore of the River Mersey and the Royal Albert Dock.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Dating Old Post Cards

The two trains in these post cards are relatively old. They look like they are 2-6-0 Moguls (according to the Whyte classification system). Moguls were designed to be shorter, and, thus, used in spaces that were limited.  They made good yard engines.  The top one certainly looks older than the bottom one. The shapes of the steam and sand domes, the headlights, the shape of the cabs and the pilots or cow catchers, as they are commonly known, are all indicators to me of the ages of the engines. Even the dress of the people in the pictures says to me that the bottom picture is younger. Unfortunately, I could not see enough detail in the pictures to be able to accurately identify either locomotive. I can read a "3804" on the tender in the bottom post card; and there may be a CNR or CPR on the side of the cab, but I cannot confirm this.

The two post cards you see in this scan are also relatively old. The top could be from as early as 1907 and the bottom one from as early as 1904. The hint that leads me to that conclusion is held on the backs of the post cards. The two images that you see below are scans of the stamp boxes from the upper right hand corners of the post cards.  The one at the top is from the top post card.

The one at the bottom is from the bottom post card.  You will notice that both have "AZO" as part of the borders.  The differences are in the corners.  The top one has 4 diamonds and the bottom one has 4 triangles, all facing up.  These differences help us to tell the age of the post cards.  The four diamonds were used on AZO paper from 1907 to 1909.  The four triangles facing up (later they used two up and two down) are from 1904 to 1918. 
What is really neat about these post cards is that they are REAL PHOTO post cards.  They were not printed using a printing press.  These images are actually photographs.   The images were printed on real photo paper that were pre-designed to be mailed after the image was developed.  When I look at the images with my very powerful magnifying glass, I do not see a series of dots (as in a printing press image); I see continuous pictures.
The papers used for this process were manufactured by suspending very tiny particles of silver in a gelatin-based emulsion.  They were much faster to develop than the earlier versions of REAL PHOTO papers.  Their ease of use made this system of photography/post carding extremely popular.  People used this system for family pictures, family events, sports events and corporate events - like posing around steam locomotives. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Is that a Crown that I See - The Royal Hudson

After 15 years of active service, the Royal Hudson 2860 – which you see on the front of this post card - was retired in April 1956.
The Vancouver Railway Museum Association wanted to preserve the locomotive so they acquired it in 1964 after it had been sitting outside the Weston Shops in Winnipeg. The Museum was not successful in this endeavour and gave the locomotive to the Province of British Columbia. It was completely restored (and a few external modifications made) so that it returned to service on June 20, 1974. It was used by the province to operate summer seasonal (May to October) steam excursions between North Vancouver and Squamish. In that first season of operation almost 50,000 passengers rode into history. The excursions ended in 1999. Currently the 2860 is still owned by the Province of British Columbia, but is on permanent loan to the West Coast Railway Association and is housed securely under cover at the West Coast Railway Heritage Park in Squamish, B.C.

In the 1920s the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) was using 4-6-2 Pacifics for many of their service routes. While the Pacifics were adequate in the 20s, the increase in load weight for their freight routes and the need for speed on their passenger routes led to the desire for a new locomotive that would be both lighter and have greater horse power. After considering several options, the CPR looked to the New York Central Railroad. The CPR ordered the first batch of Hudsons in 1929. The grate in the firebox was 25% larger (80 square feet) so the locomotive could develop 275 pounds of boiler pressure. To be efficient, the It used an efficient Elsco feed water heater; they utilized Type E superheaters for extra steam capacity. Their driver wheels were 75 inches for both speed and power; the locomotive weighed in at 194,000 pounds and delivered 45,000 pounds of tractive effort. The first set of 20 locomotives were ordered in 1929 and were coal burning, some of which were later converted to oil burners. The second set of 10 locomotives were modified to gain another 12,000 pounds of tractive effort. The third set of 30 locomotives included the one on the front of this post card.

These locomotives were so successful that one locomotive would take the train from Toronto to Fort William and turn the consist over to another Hudson. That locomotive would take the train to Calgary (1,250 miles) where the consist would be hitched to a Selkirk locomotive to get it through the tough part of the Rockies. At Revelstoke, the trains would again be hooked up to a Hudson for the final 380 mile trip to Vancouver.


In 1939 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth became the first reigning British Monarchs to visit Canada. They were given a 31-day tour of Canada by rail. A special 12-car train was assembled and the role of lead locomotive was given to the Hudson. The train went west via the CPR main line and came back east via the Canadian National line. The king, it turns out was a bit of a railroad buff and spent an amount of time in the locomotive with the crew. He said that he was impressed with its performance and by the fact that only one locomotive was used to travel to the west coast and back with no stoppage for mechanical problems. So, when the CPR applied for the status of adding "Royal" to the name Hudson, it was easily granted. Thus you see on the front of the engine on this post card, a little crown.

The post card does not tell us who the publisher is, but the picture comes from the Steamscenes collection of J. F. Orem.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Kaslo & Slocan Railway - Short but Important

Silver was discovered in the mountains above New Denver and Kaslo in 1891. Soon, the town of Slocan developed to support the mining operations. But, there was still a need to get the silver to market quickly. Kaslo was served by steam ships that plied the waters of Kootnay Lake; they connected the town with places like Nelson that already had rail service. It was natural to want to build a railway to bring the silver to these railway connections through the steamship service already in place. The Kaslo & Slocan Railway was a narrow gauge railway that connected Kaslo (on Lake Kootnay), Slocan (at the southern-most point on the Slocan Lake), and the mining community of Sandon
– the picture in this post card was taken at Sandon – (in the mountains between the two lakes). It operated 55 kilometers of track between 1895 and 1955. It was first operated by the Great Northern Railway. Later the operations were taken over by the Canadian Pacific Railway, which changed it over to standard gauge track. With financial backing from the Great Northern Railway (GNR), construction on the line started in 1895. GNR had a line that ran to Spokane, Washington and getting the silver to market would provide traffic (and revenue) for the GNR. The railway proceeded up the Kaslo River toward the pass of Seaton Creek, and continued across the mountains to Sandon. There was a switchback at one point because the grade was so steep. The labourers built more than 30 bridges between Kaslo and Sandon on steep mountain sides (Payne Bluff
- where the picture in this post card was taken - had a steep drop of over 1,000 feet) that would make my heart stop. As was the standard operating procedure in those days, the only tools used by this brave crew were dynamite and the typical hand tools. The railway began service on November 20, 1895. In its first year of operations, the railway made more than 500 round trips carrying 23,734 tons of freight and 28,307 passengers. But, less than 20 years later the railway was starting to lose money. The silver had been depleted, the treacherous terrain and weather had taken their tolls so that repairs were costly, and the number of passengers was dwindling. In 1912, the CPR agreed to lease the K&S for 999 years. The CPR rebuilt it to standard gauge and connected it with its already existing Nakusp & Slocan line by abandoning the exposed section across Payne Bluff and building a 6-mile extension from Zincton to Parapet and thereby establishing a line from Nakusp through to Kaslo in November 1913. The CPR operated the line until it was abandoned. The final blow came in 1955 when torrential rains washed out a large section of track at Three Forks. Ore traffic had been dwindling for years and the CPR decided not to rebuild. Its right-of-way was used to build a new road to New Denver. Neither of these post cards were printed in that era. The pictures on their fronts are reproductions by the Pioneer Postcards Company from Kelowna, British Columbia. The were printed by Wayside Press, Ltd. out of Vernon and Kelowna.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Nicholas Morant

The picture on the front of this post card was taken by Nicholas Morant.
For those of us who are "foamers" along the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) right of way west of Calgary, Nicholas Morant is a sort of icon or hero. Although he photographed many aspects of Canadian life and he was a great nature photographer, we "foamers" know him for the pictures of the CPR in the Rockies and the curve that the CPR named after him near Lake Louise at milepost 113 on CPR’s Laggan Subdivision. This post card shows the actual Curve that Morant made famous:
On the main line, so that the engineers and conductors can see it, there is a sign that says: "Morant's Curve" straight down from where the photographer of this picture is standing. This is looking west from an observation point along Highway 1A (Bow Valley Parkway). The picture on the front of this post card, below, is facing east from the same vantage point:

I strongly suggest that you look up Nicholas Morant on line, or in the library, to see what wonderful Black & White as well as colour photographs he developed. There is one book of which I am aware that features his work: Nicholas Morant's Canadian Pacific by J. F. Garden.

At only 19 years old, Nicholas Morant from Kamloops, British Columbia, began his photographic efforts with the CPR in 1929. He was hired on as the “special photographer”. He worked with the CPR almost continuously (there were 2 "shifts" not with the CPR) until he retired in 1981. He died March 13, 1999, in Calgary, Alberta at the age of 88.

He spent many hours at the Stoney Creek Bridge in Rogers Pass atop a specially constructed scaffolding where he photographed the special passenger train in the first post card, above, in 1955. This train is a special edition with Princess Margaret aboard. It is following the tracks of the famous Canadian transcontinental service.

As you can imagine, photographing around a railway in the mountains can be hazardous. An example of this is the story of when Morant and a Swiss guide encountered and were attacked by a grizzly bear. It happened in 1939. The guide eventually died of his injuries while Morant spent three months recovering in a hospital. The incident happened near the Morant's Curve featured in the other two post cards.

The first post card was published by Vanishing Vistas. It is copyrighted by Lyman E. Cox out of Sacramento, California in 1974. The middle post card is published by Altitude Publishing - the photo is copyrighted by Douglas Leighton. The bottom post card is the result of the efforts of The Postcard Factory from Markham, Ontario, Canada.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

It Is NOT All About the Trains!!

First of all, Happy Birthday to my sister, Mary. You made it all the way to 65!!! Secondly: I know that the theme of my blogspot is “About My Trains”, but, if you are a regular reader, you know that the posts have not been 100% about the trains on the front of the post cards. Today’s blog really takes this to the nth degree.
The two pictures on these two post cards do not have trains on them. They are, however, part of my train post card collection. The top one is a set of tracks that go over a bridge in the Royal Gorge in Colorado. The bridge is an engineering achievement that allowed the trains to traverse a very narrow spot in the canyon. Those girders are holding up the bridge because there was not enough mass below to support it. This bridge is the subject of many of my post cards about the Royal Gorge. The second post card is a picture of a sunset over Pikes Peak, also in Colorado. Again, I have many post cards that depict the route of the Pikes Peak cog train. I have this one as a supplement to those post cards. BUT, the reason that I am posting these two cards in not because of what is on the fronts of them. I noticed
that, on the backs, both of them have a red-ish, purple-ish rubber stamp on the bottom left of the card that says, “THE RICHARDS-SCHEBLE CANDY CO.” Both post cards were printed by the same company, even though the printer does not identify itself on the card. But, the distributor was kind enough to identify itself. So, I thought to myself, “What was the Richards-Scheble Candy Company?” This brought me down quite the maze of information that ended with intrigue. I first found this in newspaper clippings sent to me by John Green; I found him through the Hutchinson News facebook page. The company was a partnership between Misters Richards and Scheble. In 1901 D.E. Richards started selling candy out of the back of a feed store on Main Street. The Richards-Scheble Co. They were in business from 1902 to 1954. They specialized in hard candy, peppermints, hot caramel and chocolates. The Richards-Scheble Candy Company was especially famous as the home of Donatti Chocolates. The store was located on Elm Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues in Hutchinson, Kansas. Hutchinson is very close to the geographical centre of Kansas. Another article intrigued me, too. A.R. Scheble was killed by the elevator while at the candy factory. It seems that at 12:40 P.M. on January 30, 1934 that “he was found with his head and neck wedged between the elevator and the planks of the first floor”. It was deemed an accident. Then, another article included this: “Basil Wilson said A.R. Scheble, a 52-year-old candy manufacturer, was killed in the building while on the freight elevator. After her husband’s death, Junia Belle Scheble asked that the elevator never be used again. A second freight elevator was built and it’s still used today to bring heavy wood pieces to the wood shops. Junia Belle Scheble kept the candy factory open and produced Donatti Chocolates, hard candy, peppermints and hot caramels, but it closed in 1954.” This is when the intrigue really built up in me. In another article I read this: “He [the current owner in 2009] tells the story of a couple coming to the former candy factory to purchase a used car from him. Wilson explained they stood outside when the woman said she was clairvoyant and was getting a feeling that a tragedy had happened in the building. “The woman had never been in the building and she went right to the elevator,” he said. “She said that a person had been murdered and the hat held the answer.” Scheble always wore a hat, and it was found lying on the floor after his death, Wilson said. He admits that sometimes he feels there is another presence in the building. “I don’t think he’s uncomfortable with me,” Wilson said. And, so, I decided to blog about this part of my post card collection. It isn’t ALL about the trains.