Brakeman Laura Pendly puts all her strength into throwing a stubborn switch on a cold morning in Arizona in February 1985, so a Santa Fe work train could take a siding. Another photo from the series appears in "Women in Railroading," edited by Shirley Burman for Railroad Heritage No. 17, 2007.
While women always were a part of the railroad workforce, their numbers soared during both world wars and again in the 1980s. This image proves that women are capable of heavy work in adverse conditions.
The photograher used a medium-blue sky to silhouette several shots of Pendly struggling with the switch. Her dark blue jeans and red jacket in the middle of the frame contrast with the bright silver paint on the signal equipment to the left. Pendly's posture lends both motion and pattern to the image.