One for the heavy metal fans...

Mark F. Jenkins

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... and unless we're talking ironclads, they didn't get any heavier than locomotives. Well postwar, but I wanted to share, since I just saw this photo for the first time today:

JohnChesterWatson_RR.JPG


The man on the left is my great-grandfather, John Chester "Chet" Watson, brakeman and part-time conductor. (I have his conductor's watch.) He passed away well before I was born... I don't suppose anyone can take a guess at the type of locomotive they're standing in front of from such a limited frame, but maybe...?
 

LCYingling3rd

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Apr 25, 2021
I tried to identify it by those three distinctive rails above their heads, but I haven't found it. It's a big boy, but I don't think it's a Baldwin. I will keep looking. It might help to know which railroad he worked for; B&O, PRR, etc. That might help narrow the search. I am originally from Baltimore and do have a B&O book with locomotive types in it. I will try to dig that up.

You have yourself a wonderful picture! I think it is fantastic to have an image of your great, grandfather at work with some of his co-workers!
 

Mark F. Jenkins

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Central Ohio
I don't know the railroad off the top of my head; he lived in eastern Ohio (Cambridge area) if that helps. I have his old logbook or ledger (don't know the proper term; my grandma called it her father's "Rail Road Book") and will look in there to see if there are any clues.

ETA: From an older map, I would expect that he was on the B&O or Penn lines; they cross at Cambridge. I think B&O is likely but can't conclusively say so yet.
 
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Mark F. Jenkins

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Central Ohio
This photo was tucked into the "Rail Road Book;" on the back it was labeled "East Bound Yard, 7-20-47." Eastbound to me would imply an east-west route, and therefore B&O. On the other hand, the caboose in the photo is labeled "Pennsylvania," though that didn't come through legibly on the scan (the original is only about 2" x 3.5"). So it might still be either Penn or B&O at this point...

EastBoundYard.JPG
 

Mark F. Jenkins

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Just talked to my dad, and as soon as I asked which railroad, he immediately responded with "Pennsylvania." He also told me a story about his grandpa (whom he described as 'a bit bigoted, but fun to be around') setting off "fuzees" (? evidently some sort of flare used in railroading) in the back yard on a Fourth of July.

ETA: Looking through the ledger (which appears to cover 1920-1930, so he was definitely active then), there's a printed portion that says he was hired July 27, 1920 as a brakeman; next to it is a handwritten note "Promoted Jan 11 1927". Lots of names of personnel and trips back and forth to here and there (primarily noted for pay purposes, it seems) but no indication of the locomotives that I have found yet... since he was a brakeman/conductor, that might not have been top of his list of concerns so long as his train had at least one?

The (routes? destinations?) most frequently mentioned include "Mansfield", "Dover", "Mines" and "Yds" (presumably Yards). I remember Grandma specifically saying that her dad worked on freight trains, not passenger trains, but because of his time of service he and his wife could ride for free.
 
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Mark F. Jenkins

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Continuing to notice more details in the Rail Road Book-- in the mid 1920s, he began to note the engine numbers as well as times and routes.

The numbers he mentions are

409 & 418 (apparently together)
647
960
968 (and 968 & 969 together)
2237
2823
2955
2958
7256*
7266
7392
7400
7409
7734
7741
9031*
9032
9060
9062
9071
9209
9351*
9770
9772
9773
9780
9782
9828
9872
9873
9879
9881

The engines noted most frequently are 7256, 9031, and 9351, and the combination 968 & 969. Later in the listings, it switches to "DM#1" and "DM#2"... (D for Diesel, maybe?)

There is also an occasional notation of "Wreck Train," which I presume was some sort of maintenance or track-clearing thing rather than an actual train wreck (there seem to be too many of them to all be train wrecks).

ETA: According to this site ... I looked up the three most-frequently listed numbers (7256, 9031, and 9351). 7256 (the third of that number) was a type H6a, as was 9031; 9351 was an H6b. All were 2-8-0s active in the 1920s. Now I just need to find if there are any H6 types remaining anywhere...

Further: I'm getting a rapid if somewhat unstructured education in steam locomotives here. Apparently 2-8-0s were extremely common freight haulers, very often used by Pennsylvania, and I saw a note that they were characterized by hauling "impressive loads at unimpressive speeds." :laugh: All that seems very consistent with what I know of Great-Grandpa's railroad service.
 
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bankerpapaw

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Dec 26, 2007
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Rome, Georgia
... and unless we're talking ironclads, they didn't get any heavier than locomotives. Well postwar, but I wanted to share, since I just saw this photo for the first time today:

View attachment 405480

The man on the left is my great-grandfather, John Chester "Chet" Watson, brakeman and part-time conductor. (I have his conductor's watch.) He passed away well before I was born... I don't suppose anyone can take a guess at the type of locomotive they're standing in front of from such a limited frame, but maybe...?
I also have my Grandfather's Railroad watch.
 

Mark F. Jenkins

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Central Ohio
It will take me a while to go through all the engines noted in his ledger... there are quite a lot! Maybe I'll find one that is the 2-6-6-2 or 2-6-6-4; the three I happened to check were all 2-8-0s.

ETA: Midway through, and most are 2-8-0s. I just hit a 4-4-0, though, so they aren't all the same.

No luck finding that one. But he didn't note down the engine# in all cases, unfortunately; there could very well be a 2-6-6-2 or 2-6-6-4 in the gaps. What I did find were 56 H-class 2-8-0s, 6 D-class 4-4-0s, 3 A-class 0-4-0s, an F-class 2-6-0, and a B-class 0-6-0. There were a couple of numbers that were illegible and I came up with no hits when I searched those numbers. The most frequent entries were variously-numbered H6b/H6sb and H6a.

Hypothesis: the reason they had that photo taken was because it was an unusual engine for them, perhaps? If one is usually working with smaller locomotives, a really big one would be quite an event, I'd imagine.
 
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Waterloo50

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England
... and unless we're talking ironclads, they didn't get any heavier than locomotives. Well postwar, but I wanted to share, since I just saw this photo for the first time today:

View attachment 405480

The man on the left is my great-grandfather, John Chester "Chet" Watson, brakeman and part-time conductor. (I have his conductor's watch.) He passed away well before I was born... I don't suppose anyone can take a guess at the type of locomotive they're standing in front of from such a limited frame, but maybe...?
The closest example that I can find is a 3751 Class 4-8-4 from Baldwin which would date the photo to about 1927 to 1929 ish. The Baldwin 4-8-4 was the ultimate multi purpose locomotive.
 
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mo
1942-44 the Pennsylvania RR built 125 2-10-4 Texas type, the largest fleet of 2-10-4 in existence. Apparently there are no survivors, least from PA RR linage.

The Chesapeake and Ohio ran 40 2-10-4's also, but there design were from stretching the 2-8-4 Berkshire design to a 2-10-4.

Edit- on the heavy metal aspect, read a reference they were designed to pull a 160 car 13,500 ton consist.....
 
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LCYingling3rd

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Apr 25, 2021
Railroading and the Civil War are certainly related issues. I am sure there are excellent discussions here; the first use of railroads to transport reinforcements at the First battle of Bull Run, the poor use of railroads by the Confederacy, the fighting along the B&O because of it's importance to the Union. I could go on and on, however, @Lubliner's interest in these machines reminds me of my favorite railroad story. I am from Baltimore so the B&O looms large in my mind. My mother is from Martinsburg WV and there is a large B&O yard there with two roundhouses to work on these amazing machines. (One has unfortunately burned down and the remaining one is being preserved and restored) As a teen, I used to take the train from Baltimore up to Martinsburg to visit my grandparents. So, I have long been interested in the B&O, especially as it relates to Martinsburg.

In the summer of 1861 Col. Thomas J Jackson conceived of the idea to steal trains from the North and transport them south onto the Southern rail line at Strasburg, VA. With the help of railroad engineers Thomas Sharp, Hugh Longust, and father and son, Joseph and Charles Keeler, teams of workers set to work. Special carriages and dollies were designed and built, the locomotives were disassembled and reassembled on the special carriages and theses engines were dragged down the famous Valley Pike by teams of forty horses the thirty-eight miles from Martinsburg through Winchester and on to Strasburg, VA.

What an amazing engineering feat and daring plan. I can't imagine the reactions of the citizens of the towns along the route as they watched giant, powerful steam locomotives traveling down the road built for horse and buggy. I believe some eighty engines made this strange passage.
 

Mark F. Jenkins

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Mar 31, 2012
Location
Central Ohio
Even if we never locate the exact engine in the photo, it's at least given me another place to visit: the Pennsylvania railroad museum in Strasburg PA. Many if not all of the types of locomotives that Great-Grandpa would have been familiar with appear to be represented in their collection, along with rolling stock.
 

DaveBrt

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Mar 6, 2010
Location
Charlotte, NC
Railroading and the Civil War are certainly related issues. I am sure there are excellent discussions here; the first use of railroads to transport reinforcements at the First battle of Bull Run, the poor use of railroads by the Confederacy, the fighting along the B&O because of it's importance to the Union. I could go on and on, however, @Lubliner's interest in these machines reminds me of my favorite railroad story. I am from Baltimore so the B&O looms large in my mind. My mother is from Martinsburg WV and there is a large B&O yard there with two roundhouses to work on these amazing machines. (One has unfortunately burned down and the remaining one is being preserved and restored) As a teen, I used to take the train from Baltimore up to Martinsburg to visit my grandparents. So, I have long been interested in the B&O, especially as it relates to Martinsburg.

In the summer of 1861 Col. Thomas J Jackson conceived of the idea to steal trains from the North and transport them south onto the Southern rail line at Strasburg, VA. With the help of railroad engineers Thomas Sharp, Hugh Longust, and father and son, Joseph and Charles Keeler, teams of workers set to work. Special carriages and dollies were designed and built, the locomotives were disassembled and reassembled on the special carriages and theses engines were dragged down the famous Valley Pike by teams of forty horses the thirty-eight miles from Martinsburg through Winchester and on to Strasburg, VA.

What an amazing engineering feat and daring plan. I can't imagine the reactions of the citizens of the towns along the route as they watched giant, powerful steam locomotives traveling down the road built for horse and buggy. I believe some eighty engines made this strange passage.
I tell the story of the Haul of the B&O's and other engines by Sharp in my book, Locomotives Up the Turnpike, available from me if you want one. There is no reason to believe Jackson had any interest in sending the locomotives south -- that all came from Richmond weeks after Jackson captured the trains.
 
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