Kevin’s Komments 03/22/2021

Railroad Logos

During last week’s “boxcars”, I came across a site called “Walker Evans and Trains of the 60’s”, .  This site caught my attention because it seems to focus on the railroad logos on boxcars – which because it’s taken in the ‘60s, it has a lot of the ‘50s cars/logos.

Let’s start with a logo I always thought was interesting – Lackawanna’s “The Route of Phoebe Snow”:

So…who was Phoebe Snow? Turns out that Phoebe Snow was a fictional character created by Earnest Elmo Caulkins to promote the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western RR. The ad campaign was one of the first to present a fictional character based on a live model. The strategy of the campaign was to promote the railroad because it burned anthracite coal (a cleaner burning coal). The advantage was that travelers would have less soot collecting on their clothes, hence the snow white dressed Phoebe Snow. Here’s a few of the ads:

The L&N picked up the nickname “The Old Reliable” during the last two decades of the 19th century.  It was a conservative and profitable railroad that continued paying out dividends even through the depression years. 

I found a clip on a story based on “The Old Reliable” that has an L&N locomotive named “Old Reliable”.  From the artwork below, you can see that the “Old Reliable” was a late 19th or very early 20th century Pacific.  As the story goes, the loco was still pulling trains in the ‘30s – hence “Old Reliable”.  While this story appears to have been made much later than the nickname, it provides an image to go along with the nickname.

So I pulled up the L&N loco roster to see if I could track down “Old Reliable”. Unfortunately, the roster only shows one Pacific that would match the description of “Old Reliable” – Number 152, built in 1905 by Rogers Locomotive Works. This was supposed to be L&N’s third Pacific, but I couldn’t identify 2 earlier Pacifics – the rest of the Pacifics on the roster fell after 1913 and had a more modern appearance. But look at the date of this photo – 1952! #152 was still pulling trains in the ‘50s…but in this particular case, it had to be towed into New Orleans because it didn’t have Automatic Train Stop equipment for the run into the city.

And here’s #152 in 1986 pulling a railfan train through Loyall, KY…

…And pulling an excursion train through Boston, KY in 2011. The latest photo I could find was 2017 when #152 was in the shops for some restoration work. So…maybe there is an “Old Reliable” to go with the L&N nickname!

So, how did the MoPac end up with the “Route of The Eagles” or the “Sceaming Eagles” or just “Eagle” logo?  It started with an employee contest in 1939 to name the new trains.  The name would be selected on “speed and bright modernness”.  Later that year, the employee magazine said that the chosen name was, “The Eagle – swift, graceful, powerful and since the creation of our Republic, the symbol of American progress”

The MoPac streamlined trains were called Eagles – this is the Colorado Eagle

This is the Texas Eagle:

Another “Screaming Eagle” – an Alco PA1

There was the Wabash “Follow the Flag” logo:

Wabash reinstated the Cannonball in 1950 – with the “Follow the Flag” emblem on the front:

Enough for now.

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