Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Another Alco at Work

In 1975, the Boston & Maine Railroad Corporation filed to abandon the operation of the Concord to Lincoln 117 kilometer (73 miles) rail line, known as the “White Mountain Branch”. Recognizing the need of the on-line customers and the potential of the line for a sewer right-of-way, the State of New Hampshire purchased the branch and sought a shortline railroad to carry out operations. The first to assume this responsibility was the Wolfeboro Railroad, which operated the line as their "Central Division" in 1976, but soon thereafter ended operations. In early 1977, the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) entered into an agreement with the Goodwin Railroad to take over the operation. Under the terms of the operating agreement, Goodwin Railroad agreed to provide rail freight services, and the PUC agreed to subsidize the operation. Goodwin Railroad was to be subsidized based on the "differences between revenue earnings of the line . . . and the necessary costs of providing services," plus an annual management fee.
The engine shown on the front of this post card was owned by the Goodwin Railroad. It is the railroad's Number 1 engine, an ex-MEC (number 557) and ex-Wolfeboro (number 101). This picture was taken on February 10, 1978. The photo is courtesy of Ronald N. Johnson. The Goodwin Railroad, an extension of Weaver Bros. Construction, was created in 1977 to operate the trackage, and did so until it too ended operations in 1980. Following the demise of the Goodwin, the North Stratford Railroad stepped in as an interim operator until the state could find a dependable and permanent operator. Peter Dearness approached the State of New Hampshire with a bid to operate the trackage with his newly formed New England Southern Railroad. Dearness' railroad won the bid, and in 1982 the operating contract was awarded to the New England Southern, which began freight operations on September 3, 1982, using State of New Hampshire-owned ALCO S1 1008. The railroad also leased a GE 44-ton switcher, #2, also state-owned. The first freight run consisted of a tanker for Home Gas in Northfield, a boxcar for Blue Seal Feeds (H.K. Webster) in Lakeport, and another boxcar of casting sand for Arwood Manufacturing in Tilton. On May 10, 2020, it was reported that the Vermont Rail System was to acquire New England Southern Railroad. In June of 2020, the sale was finalized and VRS became the immediate owner of NEGS. Its sole engine (2555) was patched with GMTX logos and renumbered to 1505. Currently, the New England Southern operates under Vermont Rail Systems and regularly only on the state-owned White Mountain Branch in central New Hampshire. The railroad's sole interchange point is with Pan Am Railways at Concord, from which loaded cars come inbound and empties depart.
The post card was published by Mary Jayne's Railroad Specialties (I have 243 post cards in my collection from her) with a little help from Alleghany Publishers. What is of note is that the post card was sent to the receiver by a person named Ron. I am wondering if the same Ron was the person who took the picture. The post card was sent without a stamp, as if it was part of a larger communication package. It would be very convenient to have a handful of these post cards on hand to use as personal notes!

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Love Those Alcos

Thanks to the foresight of Homer McGee, the president of the railway, the Green Bay Route loaded up on Alco-built locomotives and entered into the world of railroad competition with the "big boys". The front of this post card shows one of those Alcos at work leaving Green Bay, Wisconsin. The following information was gleaned from the website:
The Green Bay and Western Railroad was a paper carrying line and bridge route operating between the Mississippi River at Winona, Minnesota and Lake Michigan at Kewaunee, Wisconsin, via Green Bay. It was chartered in 1866 as the Green Bay and Lake Pepin to provide an outlet for the region's timber and agriculture. In 1853 a charter was granted to the Green Bay & Minnesota Railroad sufficient capital was never raised, however, and the railroad never was built. On April 12, 1866 a charter was granted to the Green Bay & Lake Pepin Railway (GB&LP) and construction of a route actually began in 1869. By January of 1872 regular service began between Green Bay and New London, a total route of forty miles. The railway finally reached the banks of the Mississippi River in East Winona, Wisconsin in December 1873. The GB&LP changed its name to the Green Bay & Minnesota Railroad (GB&M) in 1873 and fell under the control of Eastern railroad interests. The GB&M fell into receivership and was sold in foreclosure in 1881 to the Green Bay, Winona, & Saint Paul Railroad, which was created for the sole purpose of taking over the old company. Financial problems continued to plague the railroad and the line went into bankruptcy, emerging as the newly formed Green Bay & Western (GB&W) in May 1896. The Green Bay Route operated as sleepy backwoods railroad until the arrival of Homer McGee as President in 1934. His twenty-eight year tenure saw a massive program to improve the line, such as replacing all untreated softwood ties with treated hardwood, smoothing out grades to speed operations, and replacing old lightweight rail with ninety pound sections to enable the railroad to operate at speeds in excess of sixty-five miles per hour. Marginal branch lines were abandoned, the one was sold to outside interests, and another was fully merged into the GB&W. Under McGee's guidance the GB&W transformed itself into a high-speed bridge route powered by a modern fleet of Alco diesel locomotives, linking the upper Midwest with the East Coast via the Lake Michigan car ferries. By the 1960's over forty percent of all traffic on the Green Bay Route was overhead traffic, originating and terminating off line. The main commodity was forest and agricultural products shipped east and automobiles and auto parts shipped west. Increasing competition from highways and large-scale railroad mergers began to cut into the Green Bay Route's traffic and the writing was on the wall. The success of the railroad was dependent on the Kewaunee ferry which ceased operation in 1990. On August 27, 1993 the assets of the GB&W and the FRVR were merged into the Fox Valley & Western Railroad which was a subsidiary of the Wisconsin Central Transportation Corporation. Much of the rolling stock had their reporting marks painted over with WC subsidiary Sault Sainte Marie Bridge Company (SSAM). The remaining assets of the FV&W were merged into the Canadian National Railway along with parent WC on October 9, 2001. The actual Green Bay and Western Railroad Company still survives, though only as a shell.
The post card was published by RAILCARDS.COM out of Alameda, California. The webite does not exist any more, so I presume that the company went out of business. This is one of two hundred and four post cards that I have from this publisher. It is the third largest group of post cards in my collection.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Useful Then, and Useful Now

The railroad station pictured on the front of this post card is in Cortland, New York. Cortland is only about 55 kilometers (35 miles) from Syracuse, New York and 70 kilometers (40 miles) from Binghamton – almost due north and south between the two cities.
So, it makes sense that the first railroad to reach Cortland was the Syracuse and Binghamton Railroad, a forerunner of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad, which opened a line between Syracuse, New York, and Binghamton, New York, on October 18, 1854. It was joined in 1872 by the New York and Oswego Midland Railroad, which extended west from its existing line at Norwich, New York, to Freeville, New York. This line was later leased by the Elmira, Cortland and Northern Railroad, which in turn became part of the Lehigh Valley Railroad in 1896. The present building was constructed in 1910–1911, with a formal opening on April 4, 1911. The brick building measured 155 by 50 feet and stood two stories tall. The space was sufficient to contain a waiting room, baggage room, a "women's retiring room", a smoking room, and a ticket office. The second floor was given over to company offices. It replaced the original station, which had served both freight and passengers. A new freight house was also built. Traffic declined on the Elmira and Cortland Branch after World War I, and the Lehigh Valley gradually reduced service throughout the 1930s and 1940s. The last scheduled passenger service, between Cortland and DeRuyter, New York, ended on April 25, 1948. Limited service remained in the form of mixed trains. Even these ended south of Cortland on April 30, 1950, leaving a roundtrip between Cortland and Canastota, New York. This was effectively withdrawn after 1954. Lackawanna passenger service ended in 1958. The Lehigh Valley abandoned the branch north of Cortland in 1967. Most of the branch south of Cortland was out of service by the mid-1970s. Conrail, successor to the Lehigh Valley, abandoned all but 3 miles (4.8 km) within the vicinity of Cortland. This line is owned by the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway. The station is still standing today. As I searched the internet for information, I came to the conclusion that the old station is the heart of the Cortland Community Centre. This is their website: It looks like they are just starting to develop this website.
The post card was published by the William Jubb Company. The business started in 1908 and continued until the Great Depression era in the 1930s. The company published view-cards depicting scenes from western New York State. Their white-border cards manufactured in the United States were printed on a textured paper similar to that of linen cards. This is one of two post cards I have from this company.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Something is Fishy Here

The picture on the front of this post card was taken along the Green River
just a few miles northwest of the city of Green River in Wyoming. The Union Pacific Railroad tracks follow the river for a very short distance (maybe 4 or 5 kilometers), but just enough to get this gorgeous view of the river valley. This particular stretch of the tracks is called “Fish Cut”. This website gives some information about how to get there:,1595361,nodelay=1 Looks like the climb west of Green River to Peru. West of Green River on old Hwy 30 about 3 miles. This road parallels the tracks and is apparently a public road, Ive never been approached by UP police while on it. On the same road is access to the famous bridge over the Green where one can have a train and Castle Rock in the background in the frame. Cross the Green River and look up to your left to the tracks. Turn left on any dirt road that looks like it goes to the base of the hill below the tracks. Hike up to the tracks. Be aware that the cut has been changed from your postcard. The low side of the cut has been completely removed. These are the coordinates to Fish Cut: Latitude: 41.5477 Longitude: -109.5068 This web site gives you the story of why the length of track is called “Fish Cut”: "Fish Cut" is called that because of the fossil fish from the Eocene (about 48 million years old) Green River Formation. When they made the cut, they discovered some of the best preserved and most abundant fossil fish. If you've seen the fossil of a fish that died eating another fish, it came from that formation (which covers most of Southwest Wyoming and parts of Utah)... along with the millions of fossil fish often seen at museum gift shops for surprisingly low prices. Interestingly, Como Bluff to the east has a similar story involving UP railroad workers discovering abundant fossils, but there it was dinosaurs. Como Bluff is the dig that kicked off the western states dinosaur hunts, started the "war" between Cope and Marsh, and provided a huge percentage of dinosaur fossils in museums around the world. It's now the haunt of one of the most well-known living paleontologists, Bob Bakker (the one on Discovery Channel with the beat up hat and scraggly beard). The post card was published by the Barkalow Brothers. You may notice that there are some darker lines on this side of the card. That is because the post card is embossed and those are signs of wear. It was posted in July of 1908. Here is the story of the Barkalow Brothers as taken from the website
The Barkalow Brothers, Sidney D. Barkalow and Derrick V. Barkalow, arrived in Omaha from Ohio in 1856. BARKALOW BROS., news agents U. P. R. R., firm composed of D. V. and S. D. Barkalow, commenced business in 1865. D. V. B. of above firm was born in Warren County, Ohio, February, 1843. In 1856 he removed with his parents to Omaha, Neb. Learned printing and telegraphy, and about 1862 was engaged as operator on the overland telegraph line. He married in Cheyenne, W. T., May 24, 1876, to Miss Kate Whitehead. They have two children, Weltha M. and Robert V. Mr. B. is a member of the Pleasant Hours Club. S. D. Barkalow of above firm was born in Warren County, Ohio, in 1844; removed to Omaha Neb., with his parents in 1856. At the age of fifteen years he commenced clerking, and at seventeen started in business for himself in book and stationery firm of Barkalow Bros. They became the exclusive distributors of printed materials, including postcards, for the Union Pacific Railroad. They won won their contract with the U.P. in 1865 and became the exclusive news agents on the trains and in the stations along the line. The Barkalow Brothers also published non railroad oriented view-cards that were often printed by Tom Jones. They have been known to cooperate with Williamson-Haffner Company in their publishing efforts. They eventually became suppliers of hotel gift shops and moved their business to Fort Myers, Florida. However, I have seen that on June 9, 1972, the Barkalow Brothers were suing a janitorial company for damages caused by a fire that the Barkalow Brothers say was the janitorial company. This office was in Omaha, Nebraska.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

From This to a Parking Lot

The Grand Trunk station was a historic railroad station in Hamilton, Ontario, which was located on Stuart Street, at the beginning of Caroline Street North. In 1885, an effort was made to beautify the area to the east of the station itself with ornamental gardens.
You can see the results of that effort in the picture on the front of the post card. The embankment along Stuart Street provided an opportunity to let passengers passing by to know exactly what city they were in, with the word "Hamilton" written with white stones. If you would like to see what it looks like today (see title of this post,)the GPS coordinates of where the station was located are: 43°16′05″N 79°52′20″W Michael Willson Browne, one of the pioneers of the shipping industry in Hamilton, moved to Hamilton in 1836, and entered into a partnership with Daniel Charles Gunn, who retired in 1847. Mr. Browne became manager of the Grand Trunk Railway's office in Hamilton in 1864. The company was incorporated on November 10, 1852, as the Grand Trunk Railway Company of Canada to build a railway line between Montreal and Toronto. The charter was soon extended east to Portland, Maine and west to Sarnia, Canada West. In 1853 the GTR purchased the St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railway from Montreal to the Canada East – Vermont border, and the parent company Atlantic and St. Lawrence Railroad through to the harbour facilities at Portland. A line was also built to LĂ©vis, via Richmond from Montreal in 1855, part of the much-talked about "Maritime connection" in British North America. In the same year it purchased the Toronto and Guelph Railroad, whose railway was already under construction. But the Grand Trunk Railway Company changed the original route of the T&G and extended the line to Sarnia, a hub for Chicago-bound traffic. By July, 1856, the section from Sarnia to Toronto opened, and the section from Montreal to Toronto opened in October of that year. By 1859 a ferry service was established across the St. Clair River to Fort Gratiot (now Port Huron, Michigan). GTR underwent serious financial difficulties as a result of the building of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, and its shareholders, primarily in the United Kingdom, were determined to prevent the company from being nationalized as well. Eventually on July 12, 1920, GTR was placed under control of another federal government Board of Management while legal battles continued for several more years. Finally, on January 20, 1923, GTR was fully absorbed into the CNR on a date when all constituent companies were merged into the Crown Corporation. At the time that the GTR was fully merged into CNR, approximately 125 smaller railway companies comprised the Grand Trunk system, totalling 12,800 kilometres (8,000 mi) in Canada and 1,873 kilometres (1,164 mi) in the United States. I googled the location of this train station to see what it looks like today - IT IS NOW A PARKING LOT!! The back of this post card tells me that Canadians have been polite for a very long time. I have three post cards with this picture on the front.
The back of one of them tells me that it was mailed on December 8th of 1906. That is 114 years ago.
If you look in the upper right hand corner of another one of the post cards, where the postage stamp is to be placed, you will see the traditional rectangle to visually show you where the stamp goes. The words in the rectangle say, "Postage stamp should be affixed here." How polite is that?!!! .....on the other hand, if you look at the rectangle on a post card from the United States that is contemporary to our Hamilton Station (both approximately 1908) you will see that the message is much more directive, "Place Stamp Here".
I love being Canadian!

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Not Prince Albert in a Can...

Albert Canyon is a railway point at Mile 105.8, Mountain Subdivision of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). Adjacent to the west is Lauretta (Mile 109.5), and east is Downie (Mile 101.6). A hot box detector operates at Mile 105.0. Albert Canyon, one of the original CPR stations opened in 1886, was the Rogers Pass, then Connaught Tunnel, western slope base for pusher locomotives, which predominantly assisted eastbound freight trains up the steep 2.5% grade. The station name derives from the gorge, where the track crosses the south wall of the short box canyon on a narrow ledge. All passenger trains from the late 1880s until at least 1910 made a five-minute stop for passengers to alight and view the Illecillewaet River rushing through the 6-metre (20 ft.) wide gorge 91 metres (300 ft.) below. A stone parapet later replaced the wooden lookout - as seen on the front of this post card
on a rock outcrop. The final train to stop was in 1939. A dispatcher staffed the station telegraph office. A wye and water tank existed. To satisfy the anticipated mining boom, CPR added a long siding westward in 1898, and lengthened the wye southward. In 1910, a spark from a locomotive ignited leaves and timber near the tunnel 2 kilometres (1.25 mi.) west. The fire was initially controlled, but it later spread, almost reaching the section house. A 1916 CPR building program included a rooming and boarding house, cottages, and a five-stall engine house that replaced an earlier building. CPR erected a 91,000-litre; (24,000-US-gallon) oil fuelling tank in 1917, for oil-fired locomotives, and a mechanical coaling plant in 1921, for coal-fired locomotives. The engine house closed in 1940 when the pusher fleet relocated to Revelstoke. Prior to double tracking, a siding existed, which measured 73 cars long west and 77 east in the late 1890s, and 97 cars long in 1935. Still operational in 1948, it is unclear when the telegraph office closed. The final year passenger trains used the station was likely 1967. The section crew probably relocated about this time. In 1984, CPR constructed a 280-metre (930 ft.) test section of PaCT track (a reinforced, cast-in-place concrete foundation 23 cm thick with special clips, instead of spikes, holding the rails in place) at Albert Canyon to determine its suitability for laying in the Mount Macdonald Tunnel. The post card is the product of Byron Harmon's hard efforts.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Looks Like Disneyland but It's Not

At first glance, the locomotive pictured on the front of this post card looks like it is pulling into Main Street at Disneyland.
But, when I turn the post card over to read the description, I see that it is actually based closer to my home than I thought. It operates at the Silverwood Theme Park just north of Coeur d'Alene in Idaho. My research turned up a quaint bit of information: this theme park outbid Disneyland to purchase this particular steam locomotive. Unfortunately, the post card's description of the locomotive is that is it a "steam-chugging train" - period.

I had to go on line to see when it was built and by whom. Here is what I found:
The locomotive #7 is a 3-foot, narrow gauge built in 1915 by H. K Porter & Company. Henry Kirke Porter, along with this first partner, released the first steam locomotive on March 4, 1867. Their shop was in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and they only concentrated on building narrow gauge locomotives. Eventually, the company built almost 8,000 of them by the time the last one rolled off the line in 1950. Mr. Porter went through two partnerships until in 1878 he started H. K. Porter & Company. He was very successful because he used interchangeable parts to build his locomotives. A customer just had to come in and pick out the various sizes and shapes, etc., then wait while the company assembled the custom order. Mr. Porter died on April 10, 1921 while he was the 81 year old president of the company.

The post card was published by Quicksilver Photography. They are still in business in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.