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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Classic Railroad Photos - Rio Grande Steam In The 1940s

Written By: Ken Hulsey
Photos By: Lucius Beebe

Every railfan and railroad modeler know how important photographs from the 'golden age' of steam are. For the railfan, the images from a bye-gone age can help to keep the great history of railroading alive. To the railroad modeler, such images can be an invaluable tool. Allowing the craftsman to travel back in time, so that he can recreate such scenes on his own miniature main-line.

I don't think that will be necessary to sing the praises of one of the greatest railroad photographers of all time, Lucius Beebe, here. Just about everybody knows about his life-long dedication to preserving images of American trains on film for posterity.

Today, I have two fine examples of Beebe's work for you to enjoy. The first image (above) is of one of the Denver and Rio Grande Western's famed 4-8-4's on the head end of the lines No. 3 passenger train, the 'Westerner', on the out-skirts of Littleton, Colorado, circa 1940.

Locomotive No. 1705 is a prime example of the Grande's fleet of 4-8-4 'Northerns' that were kept polished and in perfect running condition at all times. Though these amazingly beautiful locomotives were the primary power for the lines top passenger trains, they were also often times used in freight service as well.

In our second photograph, Beebe was able to catch an interesting looking member of the Rio Grande's steam locomotive fleet, 4-6-2 light Pacific No. 802, barreling down the tracks between Colorado Springs and Denver.

To the observer, 802 would seem to have more than it's fair share of domes. Hey, in the varying grades of the Rocky Mountains, you can never have enough sand to improve traction.

Behind this interesting locomotive is the Grande's No. 10 passenger train, an unnamed local, consisting of a mail-storage car, two coaches, and a Pullman lounge.

Again, this image is circa 1940-1941.

Two classic images from the age of steam captured by the camera of Lucius Beebe.

More to come!

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