Riding Locomotives With Jack Delano, Marion Wolcott And Andreas Feininger In Color (1939)

"My heart is warm with the friends I make, And better friends I'll not be knowing, Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take, No matter where it's going" — Edna St. Vincent Millay

Santa Fe R.R. train, Melrose, N[ew] Mex[ico] 1 transparency : color. Contributor: Delano, Jack Date: 1939

Santa Fe R.R. train, Melrose, New Mexico
Contributor: Delano, Jack
Date: 1939

In 1939, Jack Delano (August 1, 1914 – August 12, 1997), Marion Wolcott (June 7, 1910 – November 24, 1990) and Andreas Feininger (December 27, 1906 – February 18, 1999) were part of the platoon of photographers recording life in the USA for the  government’s Farm Security Administration (FSA). In all, the FSA published 644 color photographs, mostly on 35mm Kodachrome slides; a few are color transparencies.

 

 

Westbound freight train stopping for water, Melrose, N[ew] Mex[ico] 1 transparency : color. Contributor: Delano, Jack Date: 1939

Westbound freight train stopping for water, Melrose, New Mexico
Contributor: Delano, Jack
Date: 1939

Flagman standing at a distance behind a Santa Fe R.R. west bound freight train during a stop, Bagdad, Calif. 1 transparency : color. Contributor: Delano, Jack Date: 1939

Flagman standing at a distance behind a Santa Fe R.R. west bound freight train during a stop, Bagdad, Calif.
Contributor: Delano, Jack
Date: 1939

 

A train bringing copper ore out of the mine, Ducktown, Tenn. Fumes from smelting copper for sulfuric acid have destroyed all vegetation and eroded the land 1 slide : color. Contributor: Wolcott, Marion Post Date: 1939

A train bringing copper ore out of the mine, Ducktown, Tenn. Fumes from smelting copper for sulfuric acid have destroyed all vegetation and eroded the land
Contributor: Wolcott, Marion Post
Date: 1939

He’s leaving
(Leaving)
On that midnight train to Georgia, yeah
(Leaving on the midnight train)
Said he’s going back
(Going back to find)
To a simpler place and time…
– Gladys Knight & The Pips, Midnight Train To Georgia

 

Train going over the hump at C & NW RR's [i.e. Chicago and North Western railroad's] Proviso yard, Chicago, Ill. 1 transparency : color. Contributor: Delano, Jack Date: 1939

Train going over the hump at C & NW RR’s [i.e. Chicago and North Western railroad’s] Proviso yard, Chicago, Ill.
Contributor: Delano, Jack
Date: 1939

Santa Fe R.R. trains going through Cajon Pass in the San Bernardino Mountains, Cajon, Calif. On the right, streamliner "Chief" going west; in the background, on the left, a freight train with ... 1 transparency : color. Contributor: Delano, Jack Date: 1939

Santa Fe R.R. trains going through Cajon Pass in the San Bernardino Mountains, Cajon, Calif. On the right, streamliner “Chief” going west; in the background, on the left, a freight train with …
Contributor: Delano, Jack
Date: 1939

In the shuffling madness
Of the locomotive breath,
Runs the all, time loser,
Headlong to his death…
– Jethro Tull, Locomotive Breath

 

West bound Santa Fe R.R. freight train waiting in a siding to meet an east bound train, Ricardo, N[ew] Mex[ico] 1 transparency : color. Contributor: Delano, Jack Date: 1939

West bound Santa Fe R.R. freight train waiting in a siding to meet an east bound train, Ricardo, New Mexico
Contributor: Delano, Jack
Date: 1939

A train being pushed over the hump at the Proviso yard, C & NW RR., Chicago, Ill. 1 transparency : color. Contributor: Delano, Jack Date: 1939

A train being pushed over the hump at the Proviso yard, C & NW RR., Chicago, Ill.
Contributor: Delano, Jack
Date: 1939

Well I went to the depot, I’d never got there on time
Went down to the depot, I’d never got there on time
Well the train done left, she’s a rollin’ down the line
– Grateful Dead, Big Railroad Blues

 

Santa Fe R.R. freight train rounding a curve between Ash Fork and Gleed, Arizona 1 transparency : color. Contributor: Delano, Jack Date: 1939

Santa Fe R.R. freight train rounding a curve between Ash Fork and Gleed, Arizona
Contributor: Delano, Jack
Date: 1939

A train pulling out of the freight house at C & NW RR's Proviso(?) yard, Chicago, Ill. 1 transparency : color. Contributor: Delano, Jack Date: 1939

A train pulling out of the freight house at C & NW RR’s Proviso(?) yard, Chicago, Ill.
Contributor: Delano, Jack
Date: 1939

Oh, here it comes
Well, train, train, take me on out of this town
Train, train, Lord, take me on out of this town
Well, that woman I’m in love with, Lord, she’s Memphis bound…
– Blackfoot, Train, Train

 

[Train and several sets of railroad tracks in the snow, Massachusetts] 1 slide : color. Contributor: Delano, Jack Date: 1939

Train and several sets of railroad tracks in the snow, Massachusetts
Contributor: Delano, Jack
Date: 1939

Santa Fe R.R. train stopping for coal and water, Laguna, N[ew] Mex[ico] 1 transparency : color. Contributor: Delano, Jack Date: 1939

Santa Fe R.R. train stopping for coal and water, Laguna, New Mexico
Contributor: Delano, Jack
Date: 1939

Been in the country
Oh much too long
Trying to be a farmer
But nothing that I planted
Never seems to grow
Train comin’ round the bend
Train comin’ round the bend
– Velvet Underground, Train Round The Bend

 

Train pulling out of the freight house at C & NW RR's [i.e. Chicago and North Western railroad's] Proviso Yard, Chicago, Ill. 1 transparency : color. Contributor: Delano, Jack Date: 1939

Train pulling out of the freight house at C & NW RR’s [i.e. Chicago and North Western railroad’s] Proviso Yard, Chicago, Ill.
Contributor: Delano, Jack
Date: 1939

Singin’ “good morning America, how are ya?”
Saying “don’t ya know me? I’m your native son”
Yes, I’m the train they call the City of New Orleans
And I’ll be gone 500 miles when day is done
– Steve Goodman, City of New Orleans

 

West bound Santa Fe R.R. freight train stopping for water, Tolar, N[ew] Mex[ico] 1 transparency : color. Contributor: Delano, Jack Date: 1939

West bound Santa Fe R.R. freight train stopping for water, Tolar, New Mexico
Contributor: Delano, Jack
Date: 1939

Train going over the hump at the C & NW RR's [i.e. Chicago and North Western railroad's] Proviso yard, Chicago, Ill. 1 transparency : color. Contributor: Delano, Jack Date: 1939

Train going over the hump at the C & NW RR’s [i.e. Chicago and North Western railroad’s] Proviso yard, Chicago, Ill.
1 transparency : color.
Contributor: Delano, Jack
Date: 1939

Pardon me, boy
Is that the Chattanooga choo choo?
Track twenty-nine
Boy, you can gimme a shine
I can afford
To board a Chattanooga choo choo
I’ve got my fare
And just a trifle to spare
– Glenn Miller, Chattanooga Choo Choo

 

John Paulinski, car inspector, blue flagging a train for inspection, at Corwith yard, Santa Fe RR trip, Chicago, Ill. 1 transparency : color. Contributor: Delano, Jack Date: 1939

John Paulinski, car inspector, blue flagging a train for inspection, at Corwith yard, Santa Fe RR trip, Chicago, Ill.
Contributor: Delano, Jack
Date: 1939

Will I see you tonight
On a downtown train?
Every night it’s just the same
You leave me lonely, now
– Tom Waits, Downtown Train

 

Santa Fe RR freight train about to leave for the West Coast from Corwith yard, Chicago, Ill., Santa Fe R.R. trip 1 transparency : color. Contributor: Delano, Jack Date: 1939

Santa Fe RR freight train about to leave for the West Coast from Corwith yard, Chicago, Ill., Santa Fe R.R. trip
Contributor: Delano, Jack
Date: 1939

I’ve got my ticket, please mister conductor man, let me ride
Lord, if I make it to the lowland, I’ll be satisfied
– Muddy Waters, Southbound Train

 

West-bound passenger train going around a curve on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe railroad between Winslow and Seligman, Arizona, [near] Gleed, Arizone 1 transparency : color. Contributor: Delano, Jack Date: 1939

West-bound passenger train going around a curve on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe railroad between Winslow and Seligman, Arizona, [near] Gleed, Arizone
Contributor: Delano, Jack
Date: 1939

A east bound Union Pacific railroad freight train waiting in a siding, Alray, Calif. Coming up through Cajon Pass. The Santa Fe tracks are used by the Union Pacific as far east ... 1 transparency : color. Contributor: Delano, Jack Date: 1939

A east bound Union Pacific railroad freight train waiting in a siding, Alray, Calif. Coming up through Cajon Pass. The Santa Fe tracks are used by the Union Pacific as far east …
Contributor: Delano, Jack
Date: 1939

This is the Night Mail crossing the border
Bringing the cheque and the postal order
Letters for the rich, letters for the poor
The shop at the corner and the girl next door
– WH Auden, Night Mail

 

General view of yard and some of the locomotive shop of the C & NW RR [i.e. Chicago and North Western railroad] at 40th Street. On the tracks on the right are ... 1 transparency : color. Contributor: Delano, Jack Date: 1939

General view of yard and some of the locomotive shop of the C & NW RR [i.e. Chicago and North Western railroad] at 40th Street. On the tracks on the right are …
Contributor: Delano, Jack
Date: 1939

Carr Fork Canyon as seen from "G" bridge, Bingham Copper Mine, Utah 1 transparency : color. Contributor: Feininger, Andreas Date: 1939

Carr Fork Canyon as seen from “G” bridge, Bingham Copper Mine, Utah
Contributor: Feininger, Andreas
Date: 1939

I hear the train a comin’ rollin’ round the bend
I ain’t seen the sunshine since I don’t know when
Well I’m stuck in Folsom Prison and time keeps dragging on
While a train keeps a rollin’ on down to San Antone
– Johnny Cash, Folsom Prison Blues

 

Flagman standing behind his train to flag oncoming trains at a small siding between Laguna, N[ew] Mex[ico] and Gallup, N[ew] Mex[ico]. Sant Fe R.R., Santa Fe trip 1 transparency : color. | Photograph shows train and flagman in far distance. Contributor: Delano, Jack

Flagman standing behind his train to flag oncoming trains at a small siding between Laguna, New Mexico and Gallup, New Mexico. Sant Fe R.R., Santa Fe trip
Photograph shows train and flagman in far distance.
Contributor: Delano, Jack, 1939

Freight train with two helper engines climbing the steep grade of Cajon Pass (westbound), Cajon, Calif. 1 transparency : color. Contributor: Delano, Jack Date: 1939

Freight train with two helper engines climbing the steep grade of Cajon Pass (westbound), Cajon, Calif.
Contributor: Delano, Jack
Date: 1939

Holy the sea holy the desert holy the railroad holy the
locomotive holy the visions holy the hallucina-
tions holy the miracles holy the eyeball holy the
abyss!
Holy forgiveness! mercy! charity! faith! Holy! Ours!
bodies! suffering! magnanimity!
Holy the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent
kindness of the soul!”
— Allen Ginsberg, Howl and Other Poems

 

A train pulling out of the freight house at C & NW RR's Proviso(?) yard, Chicago, Ill. 1 transparency : color. Contributor: Delano, Jack Date: 1939

A train pulling out of the freight house at C & NW RR’s Proviso yard, Chicago, Ill.
Contributor: Delano, Jack
Date: 1939

“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.”
— Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

Santa Fe R.R. freight train rounding a curve between Ash Fork and Gleed, Arizona 1 transparency : color. Contributor: Delano, Jack Date: 1939

Santa Fe R.R. freight train rounding a curve between Ash Fork and Gleed, Arizona
Contributor: Delano, Jack
Date: 1939

Santa Fe R.R. freight train rounding a curve between Ash Fork and Gleed, Arizona 1 transparency : color. Contributor: Delano, Jack Date: 1939

Santa Fe R.R. freight train rounding a curve between Ash Fork and Gleed, Arizona
Contributor: Delano, Jack
Date: 1939

“Looking at the stars always makes me dream, as simply as I dream over the black dots representing towns and villages on a map. Why, I ask myself, shouldn’t the shining dots of the sky be as accessible as the black dots on the map of France? Just as we take a train to get to Tarascon or Rouen, we take death to reach a star.”
To die quietly of old age would be to go there on foot.”
— Vincent van Gogh

 

Westbound freight train stopping for water, Melrose, N[ew] Mex[ico] 1 transparency : color. Contributor: Delano, Jack Date: 1939

Westbound freight train stopping for water, Melrose, N[ew] Mex[ico]
Contributor: Delano, Jack
Date: 1939

Freight train going up Cajon Pass through the San Bernardino Mountains, Cajon, Calif. 1 transparency : color. Contributor: Delano, Jack Date: 1939

Freight train going up Cajon Pass through the San Bernardino Mountains, Cajon, Calif.
Contributor: Delano, Jack
Date: 1939

“I was amazed by the fact that I was not the only writer living, not the only young man “with a locomotive in his chest, and that’s a fact,” not the only youth with a million hungers and not one of them appeasable, not the only one who is lonely among multitudes, and does not know why.”
— Jack Kerouac

 

A train being pushed over the hump at the Proviso yard, C & NW RR., Chicago, Ill. 1 transparency : color. Contributor: Delano, Jack Date: 1939

A train being pushed over the hump at the Proviso yard, C & NW RR., Chicago, Ill.
Contributor: Delano, Jack
Date: 1939

Santa Fe R.R. freight train about to leave for the West Coast from Corwith yard, Chicago, Ill. 1 transparency : color. Contributor: Delano, Jack Date: 1939

Santa Fe R.R. freight train about to leave for the West Coast from Corwith yard, Chicago, Ill.
Contributor: Delano, Jack
Date: 1939

View in a departure yard at C & NW RR's [i.e. Chicago and North Western railroad's] Proviso (?) yard at twilight, Chicago, Ill. Brakeman is signaling with a red flare and the ... 1 transparency : color. Contributor: Delano, Jack Date: 1939

View in a departure yard at C & NW RR’s [i.e. Chicago and North Western railroad’s] Proviso yard at twilight, Chicago, Ill. Brakeman is signaling with a red flare and the …
Contributor: Delano, Jack
Date: 1939

Listen to the jingle, the rumble and the roar
As she glides along the woodland o’er the hills and by the shore
Hear the mighty rush of the engine hear those lonesome hoboes call
Traveling through the jungle on the Wabash Cannonball
– Wasbash Cannonball, Roy Acuff

 

Commuters, who have just come off the train, waiting for the bus to go home, Lowell, Mass. 1 slide : color. Contributor: Delano, Jack Date: 1939

Commuters, who have just come off the train, waiting for the bus to go home, Lowell, Mass.
Contributor: Delano, Jack
Date: 1939