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Photographer Jack Delano recognized trains as an iconic feature of American cultural identity. Trains are central to American life; trains had long linked small communities to the outside world. This image conveys and celebrates the sheer mechanical power of these big machines. This one was traveling between Winslow and Seligman, Arizona, and stopped on a siding to cool its wheels after descending a mountain. The FT locomotives demonstrated that diesel electrics could withstand the rigors of main line service. They matched the performance of typical main line steam locomotives of the day, such as Mikado and Northern types. Operating costs were potentially less than those of typical steam locomotives. They could start a heavy train faster than the vast major of steam locomotives then in service. Selected with historical data by Betsy Fahlman, Arizona State University; technical description by Brian Solomon.
Source Library of Congress
Coverage Spatial, Ash Fork, Arizona; Temporal, April 1943
Rights Library of Congress
Date Created 1943
Resource Type
Extent 2 1/4 in. x 2-1/4 in.
Depicted Railroad
Location Ash Fork, Arizona
Image Type Freight train in landscape
Train Type Freight
Equipment, Locomotive FT diesel: 109
Builder, locomotive Electro-Motive Corporation
Creator Description Jack Delano had careers as both a photographer for the Farm Security Administration, beginning in 1942, and a composer of music, who grew up on Puerto Rican folk songs. Born in Russia, he came to the U.S. in 1923. He graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1932, and got a job with the Farm Security Administration because of an impressive photographic project about mining conditions in the Pennsylvania anthracite area. As part of an FSA project he visited Puerto Rico and settled there in 1946. He photographed railroads extensively for the FSA and its successor, the Office of War Information.
Comments Many of Delano's railroad images were later published in James E. Valle's "The Iron Horse at War" (1977).
Collection Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information
Image ID Reproduction number LC-USW3-021302-E DLC (b&w film nitrate neg.)
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