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  • Writer's pictureRochelle Gridley

Railroad workers

The rail road was one of the most important employers in Bloomington-Normal and the Pantagraph was constantly updating the public on the status of the railroads. The "West Side" news reported on who had a train to drive, who was on leave, where the workers were going on vacation and who was sick. Here are a few images from the collection featuring life on the railroad.

Edward Bretschneider was a boilermaker in the shops and had been a German soldier during the Great War. Boyd Lawrence was a laborer with the railroad and an American who had fought on the fields of France. George S. Carruthers was a first aid attendant at the railroad yard and had been a British soldier in Palestine during the great war. Despite their former roles as combatants, the three men worked harmoniously for the Chicago and Alton.

Here John C. Knuth, fireman, at the Chicago and Alton yards demonstrates the alarm whistle in June 1944.

The code for the fire alarm signals were posted near the whistle -- I wonder if each man had the signals memorized?

Workers in the Chicago and Alton yard clear snow in January 1936.

These men were not injured in a work accident, but were part of a Red Cross first aid class in July 1937 and were all Wabash Railroad employees.

Another view of snow removal at the C & A rail yard.

An engine in the yard on that snowy January day in 1936. I"m sure there is someone out there who knows just which engine this is!

Here the Chicago and Alton dedicates their new flag in a ceremony on January 2, 1942. I wonder if they sang a few patriotic songs during the ceremony?

In April 1942 the Chicago & Alton hired a new civil engineer -- Tsung Chen, a Chinese citizen. Here he is looking at drawings with M.D. Carothers and E.G. Wall.

To find images of railroad employees and the rail road yard, search for "railroad employees" and "Railroad shops and yards."

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