Thursday, 28 February 2013

1916 and Railroad Postcards

A little unknown side to me (at least unknown on my blog) is my love for trains - for riding them collecting memorabilia about them and model railroads. One of the reasons why we need a house of our own is because of all the model railroad trains and gear we own that we have no room to make use and use them in the apartment. So when I found these two vintage railroad postcards I knew I had to buy them for myself and add them to my collection, luckily they were only 50 cents each, but what's even more surprising is what I learnt while scanning these postcards. 

Now i'm not too sure of the train nor the engine featured in this postcard but what's exciting it that it was postmarked October 19th, 1916. While the penned author narrows their name down to the initials G. A. B, it was dedicated to their "dear friend";

"Will write a letter at school 
Rensselarville, N.Y
Oct. 16, 1916

Dear Friend; - We arrived here about 1:30. Did not have any trouble. Everything worked fine. My pocket book was (...) all right. It wasn't very cold tonight not as cold as Sat. Passed a motor (...) on the (...). Be sure and write a letter tonight. Tell me if you have any time.
Your friend
G. A. B"

Reading unfamiliar 1910's handwriting isn't the easiest but you get a general lovely sense of the note, of someone going back to school, a note about the weather and sights along the way. Everything we'd now sadly not give a second thought to when we type out a text message.

The second postcard probably dating to the same era shows the flagship locomotive of New York Central's Empire State Express No. 999 - credited at the time as being the "most famous train in the world" as it was the world's first high speed passenger train.

Rather more then a note or a postcard this card remembers a dinner meal on this particular train - each item from cantaloupes to the potatoes, tomatoes and pickles marked and remembered. I love the notations "Great huh" and toothpicks. 

But what's even more special is what I learn when researching the Empire State Express using that infamous free encyclopedia - this train was detonated to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry - a museum we visited on our trip to the Windy City. I, yes little old me had not only seen this locomotive in person, but i'd actually stood on it.

Yeap that's me.


  1. The handwriting on the back of that postcard. Sigh-worthy. Just gorgeous! I wish I had more interesting penmanship!

    Jem xo

    1. The hand writing reminds me of my great aunt - just lovely. It's a shame they are culling the need for cursive to be taught in schools.

  2. the first one - pocket book was here, motor cycle and no idea of the third blank..

    1. Ah thank you - certainly looks right and makes sense too!

  3. I have never been on a train but I have wanted to for so long. I have been considering try to book a vacation to take a train ride across Canada. I bet the scenery would be beautiful.

    Tracy @ Sunny Days and Starry Nights

    Enter our Retro Designed Pencil Sharpener Giveaway

  4. If you like trains, you need to go to Grand Haven and see the Pere Marquette 1223. In Owosso is the 1223 which they based the Polar Express on. If you go to Lancaster, PA they have the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum.