Incredible Vintage Photos Of Classic Trains And Railroads From The 1940s

Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division Farm Security Administration, Office of War Information colour Photographs, Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, Vintage Photos, Classic Photos, 1940s, 1950s, Trains, Locomotives, Transportation

[credit provider=”Library of Congress, Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information colour Photographs” url=”http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/fsac/”]

Trains were once the main mode of long distance transportation in America. Whether travelling out West or shipping huge orders of just about anything, odds are it was done via train.Among the railway lines making this possible was the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe. Construction started in 1859 and eventually it ran trains from Chicago to the Pacific Coast.

The Library of Congress has a stunning collection of photos of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway by Jack Delano of the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information. They depict the trains, the route, and the people who made them run.

It is a striking insight into the transportation system that once dominated our country. 

We kept the original titles and captions for the photos from the FSA/OWI so you can see how these were described at the time they were taken. 

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permalink=”santa-fe-rr-freight-train-about-to-leave-for-the-west-coast-from-corwith-yard-chicago-illinois-santa-fe-rr-trip-1″
title=”Santa Fe RR freight train about to leave for the West Coast from Corwith yard, Chicago, Illinois, Santa Fe R.R. trip.”
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permalink=”activity-in-the-santa-fe-rr-yard-los-angeles-calif-due-to-blackout-regulations-flood-lights-switch-lights-locomotive-headlights-and-lights-on-the-bridge-in-background-have-been-shaded-to-cast-light-downward-broad-streaks-of-light-are-caused-by-paths-of-locomotive-headlights-thin-wavy-lines-by-lamps-of-switchmen-working-in-the-yard-santa-fe-rr-trip-2″
title=”Activity in the Santa Fe R.R. yard, Los Angeles, Calif. Due to blackout regulations, flood lights, switch lights, locomotive headlights and lights on the bridge in background have been shaded to cast light downward. Broad streaks of light are caused by paths of locomotive headlights, thin wavy lines by lamps of switchmen working in the yard. Santa Fe R.R. trip.”
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[slide
permalink=”retiring-a-locomotive-driver-wheel-shopton-iowa-the-tire-is-heated-by-means-of-gas-until-it-can-be-slipped-over-the-wheel-contraction-on-cooling-will-hold-it-firmly-in-shape-santa-fe-rr-3″
title=”Retiring a locomotive driver wheel, Shopton, Iowa. The tire is heated by means of gas until it can be slipped over the wheel. Contraction on cooling will hold it firmly in shape. Santa Fe R.R.”
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[slide
permalink=”working-with-a-small-steam-drop-hammer-at-the-blacksmith-shop-in-the-santa-fe-rr-shops-topeka-kansas-4″
title=”Working with a small steam drop hammer at the blacksmith shop in the Santa Fe R.R. shops, Topeka, Kansas.”
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permalink=”santa-fe-rr-locomotive-shops-topeka-kansas-5″
title=”Santa Fe R.R. locomotive shops, Topeka, Kansas.”
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title=”Washing one of the Santa Fe R.R. 54 hundred horse power diesel freight locomotives in the roundhouse, Argentine, Kansas. Argentine yard is at Kansas City, Kansas.”
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permalink=”the-giant-10-million-bushel-grain-elevator-of-the-santa-fe-rr-kansas-7″
title=”The giant 10 million bushel grain elevator of the Santa Fe R.R., Kansas.”
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permalink=”santa-fe-rr-yards-argentine-kansas-argentine-yard-is-at-kansas-city-kansas-8″
title=”Santa Fe R.R. yards, Argentine, Kansas. Argentine yard is at Kansas City, Kansas.”
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permalink=”santa-fe-rr-yards-and-shops-argentine-kansas-argentine-yard-is-at-kansas-city-kansas-9″
title=”Santa Fe R.R. yards and shops, Argentine, Kansas. Argentine yard is at Kansas City, Kansas.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f2046f9ecad04c67e000025″
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[slide
permalink=”servicing-engines-at-coal-and-sand-chutes-at-argentine-yard-santa-fe-rr-kansas-city-kansas-10″
title=”Servicing engines at coal and sand chutes at Argentine yard, Santa Fe R.R., Kansas City, Kansas.”
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permalink=”night-view-of-part-of-santa-fe-rr-yard-kansas-city-kansas-11″
title=”Night view of part of Santa Fe R.R. yard, Kansas City, Kansas.”
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[slide
permalink=”general-view-of-the-city-and-the-atchison-topeka-and-santa-fe-railroad-amarillo-texas-santa-fe-rr-trip-12″
title=”General view of the city and the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad, Amarillo, Texas. Santa Fe R.R. trip.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f2046f76bb3f74626000007″
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[slide
permalink=”yardmaster-in-railroad-yards-amarillo-texas-13″
title=”Yardmaster in railroad yards, Amarillo Texas.”
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[slide
permalink=”santa-fe-rr-streamliner-the-super-chief-being-serviced-at-the-depot-albuquerque-nm-servicing-of-these-diesel-streamliners-takes-five-minutes-santa-fe-rr-trip-14″
title=”Santa Fe R.R. streamliner, the “super Chief,” being serviced at the depot, Albuquerque, N.M. Servicing of these diesel streamliners takes five minutes. Santa Fe R.R. trip.”
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permalink=”in-the-santa-fe-rr-yards-belen-new-mexico-15″
title=”In the Santa Fe R.R. yards, Belen, N[ew] Mex[ico.”
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permalink=”santa-fe-rr-yard-gallup-new-mexico-16″
title=”Santa Fe R.R. yard, Gallup, N[ew] Mex[ico.”
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[slide
permalink=”a-completely-overhauled-engine-on-the-transfer-table-at-the-atchison-topeka-and-santa-fe-railroad-locomotive-shops-albuquerque-new-mexico-it-is-now-ready-to-go-into-service-17″
title=”A completely overhauled engine on the transfer table at the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe railroad locomotive shops, Albuquerque, New Mexico. It is now ready to go into service.”
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permalink=”hammering-out-a-draw-bar-on-the-steam-drop-hammer-in-the-blacksmith-shop-santa-fe-rr-shops-albuquerque-new-mexico-18″
title=”Hammering out a draw bar on the steam drop hammer in the blacksmith shop, Santa Fe R.R. shops, Albuquerque, N[ew] Mex[ico).”
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permalink=”passing-a-section-house-along-the-atchison-topeka-and-santa-fe-railroad-encino-vicinity-new-mexico-19″
title=”Passing a section house along the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe railroad, Encino vicinity, New Mexico.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f204709ecad04c47e000014″
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[slide
permalink=”west-bound-santa-fe-rr-freight-train-waiting-in-a-siding-to-meet-an-east-bound-train-ricardo-new-mexico-20″
title=”West bound Santa Fe R.R. freight train waiting in a siding to meet an east bound train, Ricardo, N[ew] Mex[ico.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f2047056bb3f73526000008″
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[slide
permalink=”at-the-santa-fe-rr-tie-plant-albuquerque-new-mexico-the-ties-made-of-pine-and-fir-are-seasoned-for-eight-months-the-steaming-black-ties-in-the-center-have-just-come-from-the-retort-where-they-have-been-impregnated-with-creosote-for-eight-hours-this-plant-has-a-capacity-of-100000-ties-per-month-is-currently-producing-80000-21″
title=”At the Santa Fe R.R. tie plant, Albuquerque, N[ew] Mex[ico]. The ties made of pine and fir, are seasoned for eight months. The steaming black ties in the centre have just come from the retort where they have been impregnated with creosote for eight hours. This plant has a capacity of 100,000 ties per month; is currently producing 80,000.”
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permalink=”santa-fe-rr-west-bound-freight-stopping-for-water-melrose-new-mexico-22″
title=”Santa Fe R.R. west bound freight stopping for water, Melrose, N[ew] Mex[ico.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f20470beab8ea3a43000015″
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permalink=”santa-fe-rr-train-melrose-new-mexico-23″
title=”Santa Fe R.R. train, Melrose, N[ew] Mex[ico.”
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permalink=”santa-fe-rr-near-melrose-new-mexico-24″
title=”Santa Fe R.R. near Melrose, New Mexico.”
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[slide
permalink=”indian-houses-and-farms-on-the-laguna-indian-reservation-laguna-new-mexico-in-the-background-is-mount-taylor-the-santa-fe-rr-crosses-the-reservation-25″
title=”Indian houses and farms on the Laguna Indian reservation, Laguna N[ew] Mex[ico]. In the background is Mount Taylor. The Santa Fe R.R. crosses the reservation.”
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permalink=”landscape-along-the-santa-fe-rr-willard-new-mexico-26″
title=”Landscape along the Santa Fe R.R., Willard, N[ew] Mex[ico.”
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[slide
permalink=”santa-fe-rr-going-through-yucca-arizona-a-watering-and-refueling-stop-27″
title=”Santa Fe R.R. going through Yucca, Arizona; a watering and refueling stop.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f204718ecad04f57e00000b”
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[slide
permalink=”west-bound-passenger-train-going-around-a-curve-on-the-atchison-topeka-and-santa-fe-railroad-between-winslow-and-seligman-arizona-near-gleed-arizone-28″
title=”West-bound passenger train going around a curve on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe railroad between Winslow and Seligman, Arizona, [near] Gleed, Arizone.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f2047136bb3f74026000016″
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[slide
permalink=”a-east-bound-union-pacific-railroad-freight-train-waiting-in-a-siding-alray-calif-coming-up-through-cajon-pass-the-santa-fe-tracks-are-used-by-the-union-pacific-as-far-east-as-daggett-calif-santa-fe-rr-trip-29″
title=”A east bound Union Pacific railroad freight train waiting in a siding, Alray, Calif. Coming up through Cajon Pass. The Santa Fe tracks are used by the Union Pacific as far east as Daggett, Calif. Santa Fe R.R. trip.”
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[slide
permalink=”santa-fe-rr-crosses-the-colorado-river-into-california-between-topock-arizona-and-beal-california-30″
title=”Santa Fe R.R. crosses the Colorado River into California between Topock, Arizona and Beal, California.”
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[slide
permalink=”flagman-standing-at-a-distance-behind-a-santa-fe-rr-west-bound-freight-train-during-a-stop-bagdad-calif-31″
title=”Flagman standing at a distance behind a Santa Fe R.R. west bound freight train during a stop, Bagdad, Calif.”
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[slide
permalink=”santa-fe-rr-trains-going-through-cajon-pass-in-the-san-bernardino-mountains-cajon-calif-on-the-right-streamliner-chief-going-west-in-the-background-on-the-left-a-freight-train-with-a-helper-engine-going-east-santa-fe-trip-32″
title=”Santa Fe R.R. trains going through Cajon Pass in the San Bernardino Mountains, Cajon, Calif. On the right, streamliner “Chief” going west; in the background, on the left, a freight train with a helper engine, going east. Santa Fe trip.”
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permalink=”one-of-the-cuts-through-the-mountains-near-cajon-calif-cajon-pass-calif-33″
title=”One of the cuts through the mountains, near Cajon, Calif., Cajon Pass, Calif.”
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title=”Mojave Desert country, crossed by the Santa Fe R.R., Cadiz, Calif.”
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title=”Want to see more vintage photos?”
content=”Amazing Pictures Of Washington D.C. In The Early 1900s >
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