A trip to the freight yard in the late 1970s, part I

As a kid, I found it thrilling to go to freight yards.  You never knew what you’d see.  I recently purchased these slides because they reminded me of the feeling I had as a kid upon visiting the ol’ freight yard.  Hope you enjoy seeing them too.

NORTHERN PACIFIC 5583 NP 50' DOUBLE DOOR 1977 photog and location unknown bought from J Will July 2016 c

NP 5583 1977 photographer and location unknown, —©photo, C. E. Hunt Collection

I love this photo.  Three of my favorite railroads all together. The location is unknown but the date is 1977.  I imagine the location is California, but the seller did not know for sure.  For the purposes of this blog, it doesn’t completely matter.  I just wanted to help readers re-live the old school excitement of visiting the freight yard.

Freight Yard ATSF-Seaboard Boxcar Nov 1977 Bought from JD Gratz Aug 2016 Photog unknown

ATSF-Seaboard Boxcar Nov 1977 photographer and location unknown, —©photo, C. E. Hunt Collection

You have to love the variety and the billboard lettering.  For me, the late 1970s and early 1980s is the golden era of railroading.  I recently saw a similar Seaboard boxcar spotted in a late-1970s Rockford Files episode.  I wrote a post on it.  Click here to see it.

SOO Line 85' TTX Flat 5723 Topeka KS Dec 9 1978 John C Benson

SOO Line 85′ TTX Flat 5723 Topeka KS, Dec 9 1978  by John C Benson, –©photo, C. E. Hunt Collection

I loved seeing a few piggyback loads in many consists.  Somehow, it was more interesting to have just a few scattered in the consist versus a whole train of piggybacks and containers.  Note the beautiful L&N 40 footer!  (As a kid, about 1977, I also remember the thrill of seeing a lone Rock Island stock car in a consist in Houston.)

Freight Yard GN Boxcar Nov 1977 Bought from JD Gratz Aug 2016 Photog unknown

GN Boxcar Nov 1977 Photographer and location–©photo, C. E. Hunt Collection

To close Part I, enjoy this image of a GN box car in the fading glow of the day.  I can just hear my dad say,  “C’mon, it’s getting too dark.”


Note:  I have had a few readers ask about the sales component of Rails West (click here).  Over the last year of so, I have sold a number of items from my HO collection.  I do that for four reasons–

  1. To raise funds to purchase the scanner and some slides (including the above slides) to supplement my 1978-1981 slide collection (that I personally shot).
  2. Purchase a few additional era-appropriate cars and engines for my 1981 era Rail West layout.
  3. Sell items that are too new for the layout, and
  4. Have a collection that is more appropriately sized, given the size of my layout.  (In other words, I bought too damn much stuff!)

I am trying to keep Rails West and this site close to “break even.”  


In part II, I’ll share a few more gems from the late 1970s.