A fireman filling a tender with water, using a spout, and standing on the top of the tender. The Southern Pacific was using steam power when the picture was taken about 1938. Beebe took this at Lucin, Utah, where the Overland Limited was stopped for water.
Beebe, a journalist and socialite, popularized railroads, their romance, and railroad photography. Beebe's intense documentation of railroading extended to photos of workers engaging in routine activity. Water stops could occur as frequently as every 100 miles or so.
The image shows a Vanderbilt tender and water spout on a Southern Pacific Lines passenger train in 1938.
Beebe made this photograph from the ground, shooting upward to capture the fireman and spout silhouetted against the sky, creating an image that celebrates work and technology in heroic, dramatic, and romantic terms.