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Steam to Diesel; Jim Fredrickson's Railroading Journal - Washington State Historical Society

Steam to Diesel; Jim Fredrickson's Railroading Journal

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Steam to Diesel; Jim Fredrickson's Railroading Journal by Jim Fredrickson.

"In 1943, old hands at Tacoma's Union Station probably didn't think much of the idea of hiring a green 16-year-old kid. But with so many men away at war, the labor shortage was critical and any new worker was welcome. Jim Fredrickson didn't disappoint. From this humble start, he flourished as a train dispatcher extraordinaire on the Northern Pacific's Tacoma Division in Washington State.

Jim worked his way up through the division to qualify for the 'Mountain' district, and today is best remembered for operating this territory from Auburn across the Cascade Range to Yakima. Jim kept the 'Mountain' running like clockwork.

Jim's life, in fact, is the story of Pacific Northwest railroading for most of the mid twentieth century. His career spanned a period of far-reaching technological changes - from steam to diesel, from parcel freight to containers, and from semaphore to radio. Being a life-long photographer, Jim got it all down on film.

He also took shots of the NP's great competing lines - especially the Milwaukee and Great Northern - and the successors, Burlington Northern and Amtrak. Nor was Jim averse to crossing the border into Canada to photograph the Canadian Pacific, BC Electric, and Canadian National. Today his collection of regional railroad photographs and historical memorabilia is unparalleled. Here is some of the best!"


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