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Railroads of America - Keeping the Memory Alive

Railroads of America - Keeping the Memory Alive

by guest blogger, Elmer Prather
My latest puzzle is a 1000-piece titled Railroads Of America by Wind River Studios. The picture of the puzzle displays thirty-eight railroad locomotives, each in its own window of the puzzle. This means that there are thirty-eight small puzzles making up the larger puzzle. In spending time putting a puzzle together, I must have a connection to it. My connection to this puzzle is my interest in steam powered locomotives and most of the locomotives pictured are steam powered.
38 railroad train images


Over the years I have done a lot of research on these type locomotives and have had the pleasure of riding in ten.

The locomotives displayed in the picture are a great representation of the many different sizes and ages of steam locomotives. The steam locomotives that were used to transport passengers had a five-man crew. The engineer, two brakemen, a conductor, and a fireman. Steam locomotives made it possible for people to travel a long distance in a short amount of time.

Steam engines required a lot of maintenance and crew changes. Many of the railroad companies built houses near some of the train depots where the steam engine crews could live. This allowed the trains carrying freight to be in operation twenty-four hours a day using fresh crews along the way. I once visited one of these crew houses in Spring Texas.

It can be argued that the invention of the steam locomotive is as revolutionary as the invention of flight; the steam engine locomotive moved over greater distances at a higher, consistent speed during that time. It was a revolution like nothing the world had previously experienced.

As information, one of the largest steam engines ever built was Union Pacific’s Big Boy X4006. This Big Boy steam locomotive is one of twenty-five that Union Pacific had built. This steam locomotive travelled one million, thirty-one thousand, two hundred and five miles during its 20 years in service. Union Pacific’s Big Boy X4006 is now located in the Museum of Transportation in Saint Louis, Missouri. I have taken the liberty of adding a picture I took of this special locomotive to this puzzle write up (see picture below).

Big Boy Train from Elmer Prather

The puzzle picture has a display of the locomotive that has been labeled the most beautiful locomotive in the world. It is Southern Pacific # 4449. It was called the Daylight and was used to transport passengers between Los Angeles and San Francisco. It is positioned as the second locomotive from the left on the middle row of the puzzle picture. The Southern Pacific # 4449 pictured in the puzzle and a sister locomotive of this class # 4460 are the only ones existing today and it too is in the Transportation Museum in Saint Louis, Missouri. I have visited this museum several times and am always amazed at all the steam powered locomotives they have displayed.
I loved putting this puzzle together and as I did, the steam locomotives that I had the pleasure of riding began to come alive in my memory. 
Elmer Prather
Canton, Georgia
Railroads of America jigsaw puzzle box
Railroads of America 1000 Piece puzzle by Wind River Studios
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