Two superb locomotive photographs

Thursday 16 April 2020

The two photographs on this post are from two different countries, with rather different style steam locomotives, but with two proud crews posing in a similar way beside their machines.

In the first photograph, from the United States, this old Cabinet photograph shows the crew of the Pennsylvania Railroad's locomotive number 3117, circa 1920.

The photograph is 6 inches by 8 inches in size, and mounted on a large 8 inch by 11 inch card suitable for framing. It would seem strange to witness this kind of photograph being taken today beside a modern railway engine, but this quote, from the book Northwestern Pacific Railroad by Fred Codoni (Arcadia Publishing, ISBN 978-0738531212) explains the story behind my photographs rather well:

"… at a time when crews posing beside their iron steeds was not considered loafing. That was also an age when engineers and firemen were regularly assigned to one engine, and the men and "their" locomotives became very close."

I have found another copy of the American photograph online – click here – so I would imagine copies were made available to the crew.

My second photograph, from the UK's London Brighton and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR) was taken in Brighton in 1909 according to a hand written date on the back of this real photo postcard.

I was particularly taken with this Brighton photograph when I noticed that, with typical British humour, one of the crew is holding his oil can so that it would empty into the pocket of the unsuspecting man next to him!

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