Old Railroad Pictures and a Short History of Some Steam Locomotives
Links above the text previews below lead to the rest of the railroad notes and pictures of old steam engines, electric trains, locomotive carbon arc headlights, railroad signals, insignia, snow plows, and so on:
Not Bram Stoker’s Dracula But An Experimental Steam Locomotive Coal Stoker Instead
A locomotive stoker, especially an experimental type, sometimes receives little attention among railroad historians as well as model-railroaders. So the details and pictures of this large South African steam engine and its tender with automatic stoker in its experimental stage might load up a little more interest. I have lifted the report and its black and white photographs (my tinting) from the December 13, 1913 issue of Scientific American. This weekly journal’s short article runs as follows: . . .
Electric Third-Rail Railroading with an Old General Electric Locomotive
A third-rail electric locomotive was tested by General Electric tested in 1904. It was a new model of electric locomotive with the power to replace the noisy, polluting steam engines thundering down a busy portion of a New York Railroad. The tests of the largest electrical manufacturer in the world at the time, as the advertisement below proudly boasts, proved its faster, cleaner, and quieter locomotive was a better choice for passenger service . . . .
Dazzling electric carbon arc headlights lit up the way for the awesome steam engines clattering through the night at 60 miles an hour at the beginning of the twentieth century. The horizontal light beams of those blazing electric furnaces illuminated the rails several miles ahead, while their brilliant shafts of light, like those below, shot high in the sky to warn unwitting pedestrians and automobiles of the oncoming danger over twenty miles away. . . .
Old steam locomotives and their railroads demanded powerful action, and for model-railroading buffs or students of old technology, these dynamic railroad photographs should add more steam to the memories of a bygone era than the idle illustrations so often found pasted upon the Internet. As time permits, in no particular order here, Larry Brian Radka has decided to try to rectify the situation a little by sharing some movement. The action consists mainly of black and white images, often tinted to reduce monotony. Beside his short descriptions of each of the photographs, pertinent definitions of railroad terms and historical details will occasionally ride along to help fulfill this short but nostalgic trip on the rails. . .
Old railroad insignia, car heralds, and other advertisements of the principal railroads of North America follow. Some, like the Illinois Central, Canadian Pacific, and New York Central are quite familiar. Others, like the Bangor and Arostock, Grand Trunk, and Pere Marquette are less well known. Nevertheless, all of them represent important rolling stock that transported the heavy materials that industrialized North America. . . .
Fixed railroad signals first used on railroads in the United States were Ball signals, derived from tide signals. Semaphores were used according to the old block system after 1851. Each block was one to seven miles long. As the train entered each block, the towerman put down his semaphore and notified the next tower by telegraph that rang a bell. After the train left his block, the towerman returned his semaphore to the safe position. . . .
Railroad Steam Engines or Locomotives and a Little History
This page was last modified on Thursday, March 03, 2016