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.

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Copper Creek Viaduct

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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”

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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

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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)

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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
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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
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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:

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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

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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.

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Conneaut O.

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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

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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.

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

Railway Post Office

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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.

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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.

Southern Medallion

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I found this sign at a flea market mall.  It’s 8.75″ in diameter, baked enamel finish and 10.75 ounces in weight. It has been dinged a bit and I’m not under any illusion that it’s an antique. I believe the company that produced these signs is no longer making them.  “Too expensive”, I read.

I’m not having any luck finding a similar sign yet.  I may have to (alert! 1960s TV series reference) “Wire Paladin, San Francisco”.

N&S Locomotives, Kingsport TN

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For as long as I can remember, there have been one or two N&W locomotives and a caboose on a short siding beside Lincoln Street, near the intersection with John B. Dennis in Kingsport.  These two are 2559 (EMD GP30) and 7026 (EMD GP50), with the caboose NS 555006.  One engine was idling at the time I took this picture.  Since this is basically CSX territory, I’ve wondered why these units are here.  Still wondering.

Later:  Not anymore!  Many thanks to Ralph Clark, a former engineer, who clued me in to these locomotives.  He recalled that, at some point in the past, Eastman wanted to uncouple from just having one railway servicing their vast facility, so they set up an arrangement with N&S to make a nightly run to Frisco to pick a shipment of coal and bring it back.  Pictured above, for all intents and purposes, is N&S’s foot on the ground in CSX territory.