From 1986, this 2″ pinback recognizes a campaign to keep Conrail alive, after a takeover attempt by Norfolk-Western.  In 1987, Conrail was released by the government to become a private enterprise.  As of the late 1990’s, both CSX and Norfolk-Southern share ownership of Conrail.

Reader Railroad

I found two post cards of the Reader Railroad recently.  Here’s a link: Reader Railroad

It’s really annoying.  I thought I had a handle on the dating of these cards, but, when I told a colleague about it, I realized that I had been totally wrong.  The cards were printed by Koppel Kolor (or Color) Cards in Hawthorne, New Jersey.  The company’s main building appears to have burned down in the mid 80s.

Update on the dating for these cards: mid-1960s.  See comment below courtesy of thedigitalphilatelist





Copper Creek Viaduct



The lower bridge was built in the late 1890s by the Virginia & Southwest Virginia rail road (V&SW).  That line was absorbed into the Southern Rail Road in 1916, just a year after this card was mailed.

The upper one, the Copper Creek Viaduct (a word the Marx Brothers had fun with in The Cocoanuts) was built by the C.C. & O in 1908.  The stated height now is 185′ , measuring from the river below.

You barely read the writing down the length of the viaduct, but I believe it says “crossed this just today” or something to that effect.

The post card itself appears to have been printed in Germany before WWI.

“The Clinchfield Route”



This is looking south at approx. 36.0720N, 82.3987W.

The card was printed by Curt Teich in Chicago.  It’s one of the “C” series of post cards issued between 1905 and 1926.  The Curt Teich records for this period are scanty and this number isn’t listed anywhere that I can find.  Nicely printed, though, and hand colored at the factory before the separations were shot for the print run.

ET&WNC in the Gorge



Following the track of the old ET & WNC Rail Road through Doe River Gorge is a fine hike, except in winter.  If there’s been some snow or freezing rain, getting across the derelict bridges can be dangerous.

This card was published by the American News Company of New York, but it was printed in Germany before the start of WWI.

I can’t read the place name on the postmark, and I’ve tried.  All I can see if the final “…ONE”.

I hope Dolly got home okay, though.

Coal Mine (somewhere)


This is a Real Photo Post Card.  The paper was made by Ansco of Binghamton NY.  The trademark is CYKO.  That trademark seems to have been discontinued in 1928, when Ansco merged with Agfa.

I acquired this card in East Tennessee from an individual who also didn’t know where it was, but was sold to me on the basis of the railroad stuff in the picture.  I figured I could work out where it was.  But I’ve had no luck.  These places came and went fairly quickly in the early days of commercial coal mining.

Ballast Regulator, Old

This old ballast regulator, devoid of any nameplates or other information (except that its motor was made by Detroit Diesel), sits just east of the former Greenbrier (sic) Dock near Vansant in Buchanan County VA. The Greenbrier facility closed in 2006. I have been unsuccessful in finding out when it was constructed. In early 2000’s, Greenbrier Dock was loading coal from the Lovers Gap mine, just a few miles away.

Fred Harvey Postcards, Pt. 2

On the back: San Francisco Chief En Route in California.  Santa Fe’s San Francisco Chief parallels a picturesque route through the San Joaquin Valley of California


On the back: A Santa Fe Streamliner.  With its streamlined powerful 6.000 H.P. Diesel-electric engine, a Santa Fe transcontinental train is an impressive sight as it climbs the ramparts of Cajon Pass in California.streamlinercomplete

Fred Harvey Postcards, Pt. 1

Fred Harvey is closely tied to the history of the Santa Fe (old Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe) railroad.  He made a sweetheart of a deal.
These cards are from the 1950s.

On the back:  (each card has the “Fred Harvey Hotels – Shops – Restaurants” mark) Santa Fe Streamliner in Cajon Pass.  Cajon Pass at the summit of the Coast Range is the Santa Fe’s Gateway to Southern California.  In the descent, tracks drop 2700 feet in 25 milessantafestreamlinercomplete
On the back: Leaving Santa Fe Bridge over Mississippi River at Fort Madison,  Iowa


On the back: Dining Car of the Santa Fe’s El Capitan.  Passengers relax leisurely for a luxurious Fred Harvey meal in the dining car of the Santa Fe’s streamlined transcontinental El Capitan.diningcarcomplete

Two Cabooses

When I took these pictures in Appalachia VA, the cabooses were just 2,200 feet from each other, but, boy, are they different.  Cast your baby blues on these:



The top one, nattily repainted, is on display in a small park.  It was built, according to the ID plate, in 1948.  It’s at 36.8998N, 82.78841W

The lower one, rough and ready, was still in the yard.  It’s a 1976 unit.

There’s a definitive book on N&W cabooses for sale from the NW Historical Society, but it’s $50.

French Broad River


Well, guess what we found in Corbin KY.  The Southern CNO&TP sleeper, French Broad River.

It’s had a rough life since 1950 or so, but it’s now safely, more or less, sitting on a cut section of track to the right of the old depot on, of course, Depot Street.  Here’s a look at the end of the car as shown above.


Conneaut O.



Conneaut OH is up on Lake Erie and in 1914, when this card was mailed, it had at least five railroads passing through it.  One was an electric commuter line, others were freight.

I bought this card as soon as I saw it.  It’s a typical Curt Teich day-to-night scene, but it’s nicely composed.  Other than that, it just evokes a time long gone.

Plattsburgh Barracks has an interesting history, check it out here.

Locomotives and Trains


Not a particularly rare poster (it folds out to a one-sided 22″ x 32″ size) and one that has been slightly damaged on one panel (I’m rather good at finding stuff that is “slightly damaged”) by being in contact with some sort of acidic paper.  It features 29 black-and-white photos of Southern history from 1830 (even one of a geezery-looking Nicholas W. Darrell) through the mid 50s.  Notice there’s no ZIP Code shown.

So, find yourself one of these and “paste these pictures in your railroad scrapbook”.

Old Fort Loops

This postcard, a victim of some greasy-fingered sort, was printed between 1908 and 1928, according to the Curt Teich dating number.  The “Old Fort Loops”, a site to see on Google Earth, are a series of railroad sinuosities around what is now Round Knob Lodge in western North Carolina  (35 39 10.64N 82 14 39.23W).  By the time this photo was taken, that train would have been bearing Southern livery (in the mid- to late-1800s, it was the Western North Carolina Railroad).  The “17 Points” means that the line could be viewed from 17 places at one time, or something like that.



All I could verify from web-based research was that the Southern Post Card Company did exist, but little else.

Railway Post Office


Even mended with tape (not my doing), this is a fine picture, taken by the American Car and Foundry Company in 1923.  Brand new car for Southern Railway.

po crew

I would guess that this is the crew that guarded and processed the mail on the car, getting ready to load up.  That’s a lot of security!

Railway post offices were mostly gone by 1962 and completely gone by 1977.