Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Another Nickel Plate Locomotive

The locomotive pictured on the front of this post card was built by Lima in 1944 – very close to the end of the steam era of railroads. Here it is viewed
near Sheldon, Illinois on May 7, 1980 with a freight train of the Toledo, Peoria & Western. It picked up the consist in Effner, Indiana and it is bound for East Peoria, Illinois. But, this is no regular revenue run. This locomotive has been restored. It was on static display and is now operable. Read on…the information below was taken from this website: The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, Inc. (FWRHS) is an award-winning, 501(c)3 non-profit corporation founded in 1972. The organization has over 800 members, 100 volunteers, nine board of directors and a number of project managers. In 1974, the Society was successful in removing historic Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive no. 765 from display in Lawton Part in Fort Wayne, Indiana. That is the locomotive whose photo appears on the front of this post card. In 1979, the FWRHS became the first all volunteer, non-profit organization to successfully restore and operate a steam locomotive, writing a significant chapter in the early days of the country’s rail preservation movement. Since 1980, the Society has hosted and administered passenger train excursions, private charters, public exhibitions and education outreach activities with the 765 and a variety of other vintage railroad equipment throughout the Midwest. The locomotive and its train continue to serve as an uncommon cultural attraction with worldwide appeal, offering tourists, passengers and supporters from all 50 states and numerous countries the opportunity to relive a bygone era of innovation in American history. The Society holds regular work sessions and open houses at its restoration facility in New Haven, Indiana during the year and is poised to become a major player in downtown Fort Wayne as part of the Headwaters Junction attraction – all within a mile of the park where the 765 was initially preserved for display.
The post card was published by Mary Jayne’s Railroad Specialties, Inc. I have written about Mary Jayne in the past. I never get tired of telling people what a great correspondence I had with her when I was trying to see if she printed a catalogue of the train post cards that she published. She did; and she sent it to me for free! She only asked that I give some money to charity or to my church. The picture on the front was taken by Russ Porter. My research tells me that he was born on November 5, 1918 and died on October 24, 2001. He was a prolific railroad photographer.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Chicago to New York in Style

The locomotive in the picture on the front of this post card is Nickel Plate Number 172. It is pulling train Number 8 from Chicago to New York. It is
departing Chicago here on October 14, 1955. The following information was taken from these two websites: and Its 2,200-mile network linked Buffalo with Chicago and St. Louis within the hotly contested Midwestern market while the late-era addition of the Wheeling & Lake Erie provided significant coal and steel traffic. It was built to impeccably high standards with a physical plant capable of high-speed service that shined in the post-World War II era. As a result, all three trunk lines (Pennsylvania, New York Central, and Baltimore & Ohio) occasionally shifted their own trains (including flagship services) onto the Nickel Plate. It did so well, in fact, that according to John Rehor's excellent book, "The Nickel Plate Story," the company grossed $2.8 billion between 1945 and the 1964 merger with Norfolk & Western while enjoying profits of $250 million. Today, many of the Nickel Plate's primary corridors remain in use under successor Norfolk Southern. The Nickel Plate Limited was a passenger night train operated by the New York, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad (Nickel Plate) between Chicago and Buffalo, New York via Cleveland, Ohio, with through service to Hoboken, New Jersey (for New York City) via Binghamton and Scranton and the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad for the Buffalo-Hoboken segment. In 1954 the Nickel Plate renamed the train: the westbound train became the City of Chicago while the eastbound train became the City of Cleveland. Service to Hoboken ended in 1959. Both trains survived the Nickel Plate itself: service ended on September 10, 1965, a year after the Nickel Plate's 1964 merger with the Norfolk and Western Railway. They were the final remnants of the Nickel Plate's passenger service.
This post card was published by Audio-Visual Designs our of Earlton, New York. It was published between 1955 and 1963. I know this because the picture was taken in 1955 and the address of Audio-Vidual Designs does not include a zip code. Zip codes were introduced in the United States in 1963.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Still Going Strong After All These Years

The Nevada Northern Railway was built over a century ago to service what would become one of the largest copper mines in North America. Today, several of the original coal-fired standard-gauge steam locomotives that were ordered and delivered new to the railroad over 110 years ago are still in operation! The Nevada Northern Railway is the best-preserved example of a standard-gauge short-line left in North America.
The locomotive pictured on the front of this post card is a “Ten-wheeler” owned and operated by above mentioned The Nevada Northern Railway Museum. You can check out the Nevada Northern Railway by going to their website. This is their address: ........They have a fan club and the following information was taken from their website: The Nevada Northern No. 40 is a 4-6-0 ten-wheeler type, steam locomotive which was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in July 1910 for the Nevada Northern Railroad Company. It originally served as the main passenger locomotive during the years when the Nevada Northern was a US Class 2 railroad. It served as the lead locomotive for the railroad's crack passenger train, the "Steptoe Valley Flyer". Before the Nevada Northern retired the locomotive in 1941, the locomotive was given a complete overhaul in secret by the shop crews in the Ely roundhouse. The locomotive was then put onto standby service. Afterwards, it was used in 1956 for the railroad's 50th Anniversary excursion and for pulling a charter train for the Central Coast Railway Club in 1958 before being tucked back into retirement in the very back of the Ely roundhouse, preserved along with several passenger cars . This was the last time the locomotive operated in revenue service. When the Nevada Northern shut down in the 1980's, the City of Ely was given the historic locomotive and train, along with the entire East Ely Yard, which was unaltered since being built in 1906, and any of the equipment and all of it which was inside the donated property. It is now currently used as a mixed traffic unit with the other Nevada Northern steam and diesel locomotives. But, its most famous role is the main locomotive for the "Ghost Train of Old Ely" excursion train.
The post card was published by Audio-Visual Designs in Earlton, New York after 1983. I know this year because the American zip code has the combination of 5 digits, a dash, then 4 more digits. This system was introduced in 1983 in the United States. I can get even closer to the publishing date, because the words on the back of the post card describing the scene on the front tell us that this was a run that was made on October 31, 1992. So, while the picture looks old because of the 110 plus year-old locomotive and the collection of cars behind it, it is really probably less that 30 years old.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

The Empire Express

The following information was gleaned from this article:
The modern New York Central Railroad map was a collection of predecessor properties which merged or were acquired over many years. The earliest component was one of the industry's pioneers, the Mohawk and Hudson Railroad (M&H). The M&H was incorporated on April 17, 1826. The M&H holds historical significance as one of the earliest railroads ever chartered and built, opening 16 miles between Albany and Schenectady on August 9, 1831. At first, it primarily handled only passenger traffic since New York had recently opened the Erie Canal. Six other small roads comprised what later became the NYC's main line between Albany and Buffalo. These systems included the Utica & Schenectady, Syracuse & Utica, Auburn & Syracuse, Auburn & Rochester, Tonawanda Railroad, and Attica & Buffalo. At the time in which the company was still known as the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad as it would not become known as the New York Central System until around 1914. The Empire State Express's creation was thanks to George H. Daniels who was then the railroad's General Passenger Agent but had only been with the company since 1889. On May 10, 1893 the train broke a land speed record of 112.5 mph using 4-4-0 #999. Interestingly, the rather small American, at just 37 feet in length, maintained the record for an entire decade. Over the years the train lost a bit of its allure, especially after the 20th Century Limited was unveiled as the line's flagship ran to Chicago. However, during the streamliner era the NYC upgraded the Empire State with such status, including a sleek and matching steam locomotive that truly made the train stand out. That is the train you see on the front of this post card.
The picture is actually a painting that is kept as part of the Merrill Collection at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California (all rights are reserved). The post card was published by Pomegranate Publications out of Petaluma, California.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

The Rock Island Line was a Mighty Fine Line

The Mikado (the wheel arrangement name "Mikado" originated from a group of Japanese type 9700 2-8-2 locomotives that were built by Baldwin Locomotive Works for the 3 ft 6 in gauge Nippon Railway of Japan in 1897)
in the picture on the front of this post card turned in some fine performance records while in operation on the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad. Unfortunately, their accomplishments (and that of the diesels that replced them) was not enough to overcome the financial situation of the railroad. tells us that... The Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railroad Company, its official name, was also known as the Rock Island Railroad, or The Rock. It was a U.S. railroad company founded on February 27, 1847 as the Rock Island and La Salle Railroad Company to build a line from Rock Island to La Salle, Illinois. Construction began in earnest on October 1, 1851 after the first $300,000 was raised. The first train ran on the tracks on October 10, 1852 between Chicago and Joliet, Illinois. Construction continued on through La Salle, and Rock Island was reached on February 22, 1854. This made it the first railroad to connect Chicago with the Mississippi River. By 1866 its lines extended from Chicago, Illinois to Council Bluffs, Iowa. Management in the late 19th century was extremely conservative, but new interests took over in 1901. By 1907 the line attained its peak length of 14,270 miles (22,975 kilometres) in 13 states, but this rapid expansion impaired its credit and it was reorganized in 1917 and again in 1947. In the 1960s the Rock Island again began to decline. Merger discussions with other railroads failed, and it began bankruptcy proceedings in March 1975. Federal loan guarantees kept it running, but in January 1980 a federal judge ordered the railroad liquidated on the grounds that there was no way of reorganizing it for profitable operation. Its properties were sold off piecemeal in the early 1980s. This post card was published by Bob Fremming from Dallas Wisconsin. Unfortunately, I cannot find any information about him or the company that printed this post card. But, here is the back for you to admire.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

One Intrepid Photographer!

This posting isn’t so much about the train on the front of the post card, as it
is about the photographer who took the picture. The following is taken from Wikipedia: Charles Roscoe Savage (August 16, 1832 – February 4, 1909) was a British-born landscape and portrait photographer most notable for his images of the American West. Savage converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in his youth while living in England. He served a mission in Switzerland and eventually moved to the United States. In America he became interested in photography and began taking portraits for hire in the East. He traveled to Salt Lake City with his family and opened up his Art Bazar where he sold many of his photographs. Savage concentrated his photographic efforts primarily on family portraits, landscapes, and documentary views. He is best known for his 1869 photographs of the linking of the First Transcontinental Railroad at Promontory, Utah. This is the picture that Charles Savage took. All American train fans are familiar with this famous shot:
The post card was published, not by Charles Savage, but by the
Frederick S. Lightfoot Collection of Huntington Station, New York. This post card is number 13 and it is part of a larger series of 50 post cards that the Lightfoot Collection published. You can see more of the collection at the website listed below here: The series was published prior to 1963 (the clue is that there is no zip code in the address on the back of the card). There are more than just trains in the collection.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

The First Train to Have a Vacuum Cleaner

Wikipedia says: The Great Northern Railway (reporting mark GN) was an American Class I railroad. Running from Saint Paul, Minnesota, to Seattle, Washington, it was the creation of 19th-century railroad entrepreneur James J. Hill and was developed from the Saint Paul & Pacific Railroad. The Great Northern's route was the northernmost transcontinental railroad route in the U.S. It is on this route that the picture on the front of this post card was
taken. The title says that the shot was taken near Scenic, Washington – a town about 75 miles east of Seattle. The train in the picture is the “Oriental Limited. This website: tells us this about the Oriental Limited. The Great Northern Railway inaugurated transcontinental passenger service between Seattle and St Paul on June 18, 1893 and continued operations until April 1, 1971 when Amtrak assumed all passenger service. During the intervening 78 years, Great Northern provided first class passenger train service over its routes to the Northwest. During most of this period, there were two first class trains serving the route, although one was always regarded as the premier train. That premier train carried several different names through the years. Between 1893 and 1905 the railway's standard bearer carried the monikers of the Great Northern Flyer, the Oregonian, and the Great Northern Express. Between 1905 and 1929, the Great Northern Railway's crack transcontinental was called the Oriental Limited, named for the Asiatic commerce which had been one of J.J. Hill's motivating objectives in building the railroad itself. From 1929 until the end of passenger service operations, the premier train was known as the Empire Builder, in tribute to Mr. Hill. The new Oriental placed in service on May 23, 1909, carried an RPO/Bag, Day Coach, Tourist Sleeper, Diner, 12-1 and 16 section Standard Sleepers, and a Five Compartment Observation. 12-1 sleepers bore the names of Oriental ports such as Tokio (sic), Fujiyama, Yokohama, Manila and Foochuo. The Oriental's Observation Car had mahogany and cocoa finish like an English club and featured a large oval smoker separating the compartments from the lounge. This train was the first Oriental to be equipped with a vacuum cleaner.
The post card was published by The C.H. Shaver News Service out of Seattle, Washington. I could find no information about the company. I do know that there were many news distribution companies that ended their names with “News Service” or “News Company” who were partners with The American News Company (ANC). The ANC was the printer of this post card. They worked out of 119 Nassau Street, New York, NY between 1864 and 1969 and claimed to be the largest publisher and distributor of books, magazines, newspapers, and postcards in the United States exclusively through their national network of affiliated news agencies. Their earliest cards were printed as black and white views, followed by their lithographic Polychromes. Other series were added each being printed in a different manner. Some of these techniques have a specific letter prefix to their numbers, while others kept adding letter prefixes sequentially from A as they ran out of four or five digit numbers assigned to that card. Many cards with undivided backs were later reprinted with divided backs after 1907. Many small publishers also contracted out postcards though the American News Company. Their printers in Leipzig, Dresden and Berlin, Germany produced most of their cards, but many were manufactured in France and the United States as well. They produced cards by various processes using different trade names... This post card
used the Excelsior trade name. It was a gravure card printed in Germany. It was marketed as their highest quality black & white card, and most customers chose this type over the cheaper halftone version. Almost all cards in this series are printed in black & white, but there are some examples issued in monochromes of blue and sepia as well as more rare cards that were printed in color and hand colored. Prefixes A, B, D, F (1904-1920), Prefixes AA for Blue, Sepia & Hand colored cards (1908-1925). This information about the American News Company came from the Metropolitan Post Card Club of New York.