In the African-American community, railroad work held high status and families often stayed in it through several generations. Leland Cain, the subject of this portrait, started work as a fourth cook (dishwasher) in 1941, remaining with the Chicago & North Western for 53 years. He worked on most of the C&NW’s passenger trains and later its business trains. In this photo, he is working on a business car on the Circus Train as it stopped in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1980. Cain, known by the nickname “Sugar,” retired as a bartender for Chicago’s RTA in 1996. He lives in Chicago in 2009. The Cain family, including Leland's father, son, step-daughter, brother, and nephew, by 2007 had counted 166 years of railroad service. His father, Leland Sr., was chairman of Local 351, the dining car union for C&NW employees, a part of the Joint Council of Dining Car Employees.
The photo appears in "It's Work" (2006), p. 27, published by the Center for Railroad Photography & Art.
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