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Skip Navigation LinksMystery Photos of the NP
  Introducing a feature from The Mainstreeter which has been an exciting activity on the Yahoo Groups discussion list, NP Telltale, and it seems fitting to share the fun with NPRHA members via our web site. In each issue of the Mainstreeter, Bill Kuebler introduces an NP photo without caption or identifying data which is repeated here with a very high resolution photo showing more information than possible in a printed photo. It will be up to you to figure out the basic what, where, when, and sometimes who of the photo. In addition, Bill may draw attention to some unusual detail in the photo and ask a bonus question or two about it. Readers will then have until the next Mainstreeter issue is published to solve the mystery by answering all the questions.
  This is not meant to be interactive, but it should be engaging. Just solve the mystery on your own, a rather enjoyable activity that can become addictive. This is not meant to be a contest; there is no prize, but there will be a reward. The reward is not in getting the right answer, but in learning how to get right answers, so you can put that interpretive skill to work for your own future photo studies. Bring to the task all your knowledge of NP equipment, people, and operations, and all your NP materials. You will likely expand your reservoir of information in the process. Refer to books, photos, timetables, special instructions, maps, track data, etc., and confer with friends, to help you solve the mystery.
  Each photo tells a story, and yet the photo doesn’t necessarily speak for itself. That’s where interpretation comes in. Most photos have far more detail in them (or implied by them) than initially meets the eye. Perhaps most important of all, learning to relate various categories of information to each other, rather than isolating and separating them as we railfans tend to do, will open up whole new vistas and possibilities for future NP photo study on your own. Thus, solving mysteries entails discovery. Historians and modelers, alike, can benefit from this process of discovery. And not least, of course, studying NP photos is just plain fun. What better way to spend one’s leisure time? Bill provides the answers in the indicated Mainstreeter issue.

  
  
Photo Summary
  
  
  
http://www.nprha.org/MysteryPhotos/40MysteryPhoto600.jpg
    Our next mystery photo is a change of pace in this column. Rather than an action shot, we’re featuring a roster shot, because there are times when one wishes to interpret one of these, as well. This photo offers several interesting details to study.
• What type of locomotive is it?
• What are the numbers of these four diesel units?
• What is the location?
• When was this photo taken? How can we tell?
• Bonus question: Which, if any, of these four units would ever carry a different number and what would the number(s) be?
Hi-Res Photo 40Bill Kuebler
  
http://www.nprha.org/MysteryPhotos/39MysteryPhoto600.jpg
    Now it’s time for yet another sort of picture: a nice color shot from a vestibule. This is an interesting photo, rich with details for interpretation. See what you come up with on this one!
• What trains are in the photo?
• What direction is the camera pointed?
• What model is the lead diesel unit on the train facing the camera?
• What is its road number?
• What is the location?
• When was this photo taken?
• On the photographer’s train, what kind of car is immediately in front of the camera?
• How many diesel units are in the locomotive of the photographer’s train, and how can we be sure?
Hi-Res Photo 39Bill Kuebler
  
http://research.nprha.org/MysteryPhotos/38MysteryPhoto600.jpg
     Our next mystery photo takes us back to a locomotive cab. See if you can identify some things in this scene.
• What train is passing over the switch?
• What train is the photo taken from?
• What is the location?
• When was this photo taken?
• What model is the lead diesel unit on the train ahead?
Bonus question: When was the lead diesel unit on the approaching train scrapped?
     The lack of terrain features in this view make this location difficult to identify—not unusual for locations on the eastern half of the NP’s system—but there are still some clues available. Contact me if you have any questions, comments, guesses, or need a hint.  kuebler@frontiernet.net
Hi-Res Photo 38Bill Kuebler
  
http://www.nprha.org/MysteryPhotos/37MysteryPhoto600.jpg
     Our next mystery photo takes us to a place we haven’t been yet in this series: a vista-dome. A perceptive passenger can see and study much of a railroad from the front row of the dome section on one of these cars. Let’s see what we can do with this view.
• What train is it?
• What direction is it headed?
• What is the location of the train?
• When was the photo taken?
Bonus questions:
• What is the final destination of the car from which the photo was taken?
• If you were assigned space in this dome car, what would your ticket show for “Car No._____”?
• What kind of car is just ahead of the dome car?
• Is this train on an ascending grade, or a descending grade? How can we tell?
Hi-Res Photo 37Bill Kuebler
  
http://research.nprha.org/MysteryPhotos/36MysteryPhoto600.jpg
     Our next mystery photo involves a cab ride! As usual, the view from the cab of an F-unit affords a great opportunity to see and study the NP’s line. Try answering these questions:
• What train is in the siding?
• What train was this photo taken from (see hint below)?
• What direction is the camera pointed?
• What is the location?
• What is the date of this photo?
Bonus question: Where is the depot? (I.e., why is it not in view?)
Hint: The photo was taken from a scheduled passenger train.
     As in nearly every NP photo, there are clues here. Time to get those thinking caps on! If you have any guesses, comments, or questions, send me an email at the address.  kuebler@frontiernet.net
Hi-Res Photo 36Bill Kuebler
  
http://research.nprha.org/MysteryPhotos/35MysteryPhoto600.jpg
    Our next mystery photo features a steam locomotive at a location that may look familiar to some of you. You may have even seen this location in a film!
• What train is it?
• What direction is it headed?
• What is the location?
• When was the photo taken?
Bonus question: When was this line built?
    If you need any hints, they’re just a mouse-click away.
Hi-Res Photo 35Bill Kuebler
  
Hi-Res Photo 38Bill Kuebler
  
Our next installment in the Mystery Photo series is a trio of scenes showing the same train at the same location. These may prove to be a bit challenging, even for you “NP experts”! See if you can answer these questions:
• What train is it?
• What direction is it headed?
• What model is each locomotive unit?
• What is the location?
• When were these photos taken?
• Bonus question: When was the line under the train constructed?
 Gather your NP materials and see what you can do with this one. Guesses, comments, and questions are welcome, as always.
—Bill Kuebler
Hi-Res Photo 34aBill Kuebler
  
Bill Kuebler
  
http://research.nprha.org/MysteryPhotos/35cMysteryPhoto600.jpg

 
Hi-Res Photo 34cBill Kuebler
  
http://www.nprha.org/MysteryPhotos/34%20Mystery%20Photo%2034-600.jpg
For our next Mystery Photo, we have an interesting black and white shot of a steam locomotive:
• What train is it?
• What engine is hauling the train?
• What is the location?
• When was the photo taken?
Bonus Question: What track is the one next to the photographer?
Drop me a line with your guesses and comments!
—Bill Kuebler
Hi-Res Photo 33Bill Kuebler
  
http://www.nprha.org/MysteryPhotos/33aMysteryPhoto33a600.jpg
For our next mystery photo, we have a pair
of scenes, on the front and back covers.
• What train appears in the two photos?
• What direction is it headed?
• What is the location?
• When was the photo taken?
• Bonus question: What is the model of the
first locomotive unit?

Drop a line with your guesses or comments.
kuebler@frontiernet.net
Hi-Res Photo 32aBill Kuebler
  
See Photo 32a
Hi-Res Photo 32bBill Kuebler
  
http://www.nprha.org/MysteryPhotos/32MysteryPhoto600.jpg
Here’s our next mystery photo:
• What trains are in the photo, and what direction is the camera pointed?
• What classes of engines are these?
• What is the location?
• When was the photo taken?
Bonus question: When was the line in this photo first constructed?
 
As always, I’m just a mouse click away if you’d like to offer any answers or discuss photo details.
Hi-Res Photo 31Bill Kuebler
  
http://research.nprha.org/MysteryPhotos/31MysteryPhoto600.jpg
Our next mystery photo features railroad equipment that contrasts sharply with domes, lounges, and diners. See if you can crack this one.
• What train is it, and what direction is it headed?
• What locomotive is handling the train?
• What is the location?
• When was the photo taken?
These essential questions should give us plenty to chew on. Drop me a line with your comments.
 
Bill Kuebler
Hi-Res Photo 30Bill Kuebler
  
   Here’s our next mystery photo.
• What train is it and what direction is it headed?
• What models of diesel units are powering this train?
• What is the location?
• When was the photo taken?
   And here’s one to challenge you sharp eyes out there: Identify each car in the train by type and, if possible, equipment number.
   Good luck. Drop me a line with your answers.
 
   Bill Kuebler
Hi-Res Photo 29Bill Kuebler
  
http://research.nprha.org/MysteryPhotos/29MysteryPhoto600.jpg
   Here’s our next mystery photo:
• What trains are in view, and what (railroad) direction is the camera pointed?
• What engines are handling these trains?
• What is the location?
• When was the photo taken?
   See if you can answer all these questions.
 
Good luck, and drop me a line with your comments.
Bill Kuebler
 
Hi-Res Photo 28Bill Kuebler
  
Here’s our next mystery photo.
• What trains are in view?
• What engines are in view?
• What is the location?
• When was this photo taken?
 
Bonus questions:
• Why are both trains on the same track?
• What is going on in this scene?
Have fun with this one. Drop me an email at kuebler@frontiernet.net if you have any comments or questions.
Hi-Res Photo 27Bill Kuebler
  
http://research.nprha.org/MysteryPhotos/27%20Mystery%20Photo%2027-600.jpg
Here’s our next mystery photo.
• What train is it?
• What diesel units (model and numbers) comprise the locomotive?
• What is the location?
• When was the photo taken?
This mystery photo is fairly straight forward. Yet it lacks some of the additional details that can help identify a photo, so it’s not a cinch by any means. See if you can answer all the questions. Drop me a line with your conclusions.
Hi-Res Photo 26Bill Kuebler
  
http://research.nprha.org/MysteryPhotos/26%20Mystery%20Photo%2026-600.jpg
Here’s mystery photo 25. See if you can answer these questions:
   --What train is it?
   --What direction is the train headed?
   --What is the location?
   --When was the photo taken?
Bonus question:
   --What track is in the foreground, closest to the camera?
As always, I’d be glad to hear from you with any guesses or comments.
Hi-Res Photo 25Bill Kuebler
  
http://research.nprha.org/MysteryPhotos/24%20Mystery%20Photo%2024-600.jpg
Our next mystery photo will hardly be a mystery to some of you—location-wise, at least. We may have to throw in a few extra bonus questions in order to make this a little more challenging!
   What train is it?
   What direction is the train headed?
   What diesel units (model and numbers) comprise the locomotive?
   What is the location?
   When was the photo taken?
Bonus Questions:
   What year was the track under the train first constructed?
   What track appears on the far side of the train?
   Assuming there are no cars from foreign roads in the train, and that its consist is typical for this time frame, how many streamlined, lightweight sleeping cars should there be in this train?
   What national, non-railroad magazine featured a photo of the lead diesel unit, and why?
See if you can answer all these questions. Drop me a line with replies and comments.
   Bill Kuebler <kuebler@frontiernet.net>
Hi-Res Photo 24Bill Kuebler
  
http://research.nprha.org/MysteryPhotos/23%20Mystery%20Photo%2023-600.jpg
Our next mystery photo will prove to be another easy one for some of you, and this time we’ll have no tricky bonus questions. Just the basic facts…
  What trains are in view?
  What engines are in view?
  What is the location?
  When was the picture taken?
Drop me a line with your guesses.
Hi-Res Photo 23Bill Kuebler
  
Photo 22 Preview
For our next mystery photo, we’ll try one that is rich with clues and should prove to be fairly easy to identify. Here’s a location that some of you will recognize almost immediately.
What is the location?
What (railroad) direction is the camera pointed?
When was the photo taken?
Bonus questions:
What was the longest station stop ever made by an NP passenger train here within “modern” memory (say, since the 1920s)? What was the reason for that stop?

Drop me a line with your thoughts about this photo.
Hi-Res Photo 22Bill Kuebler
  
Preview Photo
Here’s our next mystery photo.
• What train is it, and what direction is it headed?
• What type of locomotive is handling the train?
• What is the location?
• When was this photo taken?
As always, feel free to email me with your comments.
High-Res Photo 20Bill Kuebler
  
http://research.nprha.org/MysteryPhotos/19-MysteryPhoto600.jpg
Here’s our next mystery photo.
• What train is it, and what direction is it headed?
• What diesel units (model and road numbers) comprise the locomotive?
• What is the location?
• When was the photo taken?
Bonus question:
• Is this double track territory, or single track?
• For those of you with especially sharp eyes for detail—see if you can identify at least two railroad items in this scene that are unusual.
Drop me a line with your thoughts about this mystery photo.
High-Res Photo 19Bill Kuebler
  
Here’s our next mystery photo.
• What is the location?
• What direction (railroad east or west) is the camera pointed?
• What is going on in the scene?
• What is the date of the photo?
Bonus questions: How sharp is the curve in the foreground? What weight rail is in use on that curve?
If you think you know the answers or just want to discuss the photo, drop me a line.

High-Res Photo 18Bill Kuebler
  
Here is mystery photo 17.
• What train is it, and what direction is it headed?
• What is the exact location?
• What river is it?
• What snow-capped mountain range appears in the distance?
• When was this photo taken?
And one bonus question: How many cars are in this train? Hint: it is possible to get a fairly close estimate without counting cars.
Drop me a line with your answers and comments.
Hi-Res Photo 17Bill Kuebler
  
NP Mystery Photo 16
Here’s our next mystery photo:
• What train is it, and what direction is it headed?
• What is the location?
• When was the photo taken?
• What are the circumstances?
• What model(s) of diesel units comprise this locomotive?
 
Bonus questions:
• How heavy would this train have to be in order to match the tonnage rating of the engine for this district?
• What NP signs appear in this scene? Hint: there are three signs in view. As always, I welcome your comments.
 
As always, I welcome your comments.
Hi-Res Photo 16Bill Kuebler
  
Preview Image 15
Here’s the Mystery Photo 15. The location should look familiar to some of you.
• What train is it, and what direction is it headed?
• What locomotive is it?
• What is the location?
• When was the photo taken?
Bonus questions: Why are those rails lying there? How sharp is that curve? Send me an email with your ideas.
 
Hi-Res Photo 15Bill Kuebler
  
Preview Image 14
Our Mystery Photo 14 should prove to be rather easy. Many of you will recognize the location right away. The train is well known, too. Determining the date of the photo, however, will require some thought.
• What train is it, and what direction is it going?
• What is the location?
• What is the date?
Bonus questions: Assuming the blocks ahead are clear, what aspect should that block signal have been displaying just before this train reached the signal? Why?
Drop me an email with your comments.
Hi-Res Photo 14Bill Kuebler
  
Our Mystery Photo 13 should be a lot of fun. See if you can answer all these questions:
• What train is it?
• What units comprise the locomotive?
• What is the location?
• What is the date of the photo?
If you’d like to tackle some really challenging issues, try these bonus questions:
• What is the approximate weight of the train?
• What weight (per yard) rail is under the locomotive?
• What is the track structure here (i.e., anchoring; ties; ballast type and thickness; etc.)?
• When was this rail laid?
• Why does the ballast look so new?
Drop me an email if you think you know the answers. Good luck!
Hi-Res Photo 13Bill Kuebler
  
Preview Photo 12
Here’s our Mystery Photo 12:
• What train is it?
• What river is it?
• What is the location?
What is the date of the photo?
There are some interesting details in this one. Have fun with it! Drop me an email with your comments.
Hi-Res Photo 12Bill Kuebler
  
Preview Photo 11
Here’s our Mystery Photo 11:
• What train is it, and what direction is it headed?
• What diesel units comprise the locomotive?
• What is the location?
• When was this photo taken?
• What is the body of water over to the right?
Bonus question: What famous publicity photo was taken at this location?
Some of you may recognize this location right away. Generally, locations on the western half of the NP are easier to identify than those in, say, eastern North Dakota, due to the abundance and variety of identifiable terrain features in mountainous terrain. This photo is no exception. Drop me an email if you wish to offer a guess or comment.
Hi-Res Photo 11Bill Kuebler
  
Our Mystery Photo 10 involves an interesting derailment. Try answering these questions:
• What train is it?
• What is the location?
• What is the approximate date?
• What diesel units are in view?
• What caused this accident?
Drop me an email with your thoughts.
Hi-Res Photo 10aBill Kuebler
  
Our Mystery Photo 10 involves an interesting derailment. Try answering these questions:
• What train is it?
• What is the location?
• What is the approximate date?
• What diesel units are in view?
• What caused this accident?
Drop me an email with your thoughts.
Hi-Res Photo 10bBill Kuebler
  
Our Mystery Photo 10 involves an interesting derailment. Try answering these questions:
• What train is it?
• What is the location?
• What is the approximate date?
• What diesel units are in view?
• What caused this accident?
Drop me an email with your thoughts.
Hi-Res Photo 10cBill Kuebler
  
http://www.nprha.org/MysteryPhotos/09%20Mystery%20Photo%209a-600.jpg
Our Mystery Photo 9 is another pair of photos, though they are not necessarily in series. They came in a mixed, unsorted batch of slides, with no information on them. Whether they belong together is a matter open for debate. See if you can answer these questions:
●  What trains are involved in these scenes?
●  What direction is the camera facing in each photo?
●  What is/are the date(s) of these photos?
●  What are the locations of these scenes?
●  What are the circumstances in each photo?
If you can answer all these questions correctly without reference to past NP Telltale posts, you have a sharp eye, indeed!
Hi-Res Photo 09aBill Kuebler
  
http://research.nprha.org/MysteryPhotos/09%20Mystery%20Photo%209b-600.jpg
See Photo 09a
Hi-Res Photo 9bBill Kuebler
  
Here’s NP Mystery Photo 8 in the series. Its solution appears in Mainstreeter issue 2011-2 (30-2). Click the Hi-Res Photo 8 link on the right once to view a larger image, then put your cursor on the lower right corner of the image and click around till the Orange circle appears. Then click the circle to see the detail of largest image.
Questions:
• What train is it?
• What direction is it headed?
• When was the photo taken?
• What is the exact location?
And a couple of bonus questions:
• When was this locomotive’s last revenue trip?
• Where did that trip begin and end?
Hi-Res Photo 8Bill Kuebler
  
http://www.nprha.org/MysteryPhotos/07%20NP%20Mystery%20Photo%207b-600.jpg

Here’s the seventh NP Mystery Photo in the series is a pair of photos taken moments apart. The solution appears in Mainstreeter issue 2011-1 (30-1). Click the Hi-Res Photo 7s link on the right once to view a larger image, then put your cursor on the lower right corner of the image and click around till the Orange circle appears. Then click the circle to see the detail of largest image.
Questions:
• What train is it?
• What diesel units comprise this locomotive (model and road numbers)?
• When was this photo taken?
• What is the location?
• Who are the three men?
• What are the circumstances?
Bonus question:
• In the photo with only two men, why would the man on the left look so unhappy? Hint: He was a very likeable fellow with a fine personality. It was not like him to be unhappy.
I wouldn’t exactly offer a free dinner at a fine steakhouse for the first person (besides Telltale list members) to answer the bonus question correctly, but I’d sure be tempted to make such an offer! The answer entails a subtle fact and a very interesting story. Drop me a line with your thoughts.

Hi-Res Photo 7-GroupBill Kuebler
  
See Photo 7a
Hi-Res Photo 7-PairBill Kuebler
  
Here’s the sixth NP Mystery Photo in the series. Its solution appears in Mainstreeter issue 2010-4 (29-4). Click the Hi-Res Photo 6 link on the right once to view a larger image, then put your cursor on the lower right corner of the image and click around till the Orange circle appears. Then click the circle to see the detail of largest image. Get your thinking caps on for this one. For most of you NP fans, this one will be challenging to pinpoint.
Questions:
• What train is it?
• What engine is it?
• When was the photo taken?
• What is the exact location?
One bonus question, which might also serve as a clue:
• What would we see in the background if this photo had been taken a few years later? Drop me a line with your answer. I’d like to hear from you.
Have fun with this one!
Hi-Res Photo 6Bill Kuebler
  
Here’s the fifth NP Mystery Photo in the series. Its solution appears in Mainstreeter issue 2010-3 (29-3). Click the Hi-Res Photo 5 link on the right once to view a larger image, then put your cursor on the lower right corner of the image and click around till the Orange circle appears. Then click the circle to see the detail of largest image.
Questions:
• What train is it?
• What units comprise the locomotive?
• What (railroad) direction is the locomotive headed?
• When was this photo taken?
• What is the location?
• What is this train carrying?
No bonus questions for this one, but I will offer a couple of hints here: Pay very close attention to details on the locomotive as well as details in the surrounding area. Together these details make it possible to pinpoint the time of this photo to within a few months.
Hi-Res Photo 5Bill Kuebler
  
MysteryPreview4
Here’s the forth NP Mystery Photo in the series. Its solution appears in Mainstreeter issue 2010-2 (29-2). Click the Hi-Res Photo 4 link on the right once to view a larger image, then put your cursor on the lower right corner of the image and click around till the Orange circle appears. Then click the circle to see the detail of largest image.
Questions:
• What train is it?
• What direction is it headed?
• What models of diesel-electric units comprise the locomotive?
• When was the photo taken?
• What is the location?
Two-Part Bonus Question:
• Have you ever seen another NP photo taken at this location; if so, which photo? (Drop me a line with your answer to this one.)
• The wording of the bonus question might lead you to believe it impossible to get a wrong answer. Beware, however, because this mystery photo might fool you. Have fun with this one!
Hi-Res Photo 4Bill Kuebler
  
Here’s the third NP Mystery Photo in the series. Its solution appears in Mainstreeter issue 2010-1 (29-1). Click the Hi-Res Photo 3 link on the right once to view a larger image, then put your cursor on the lower right corner of the image and click around till the Orange circle appears. Then click the circle to see the detail of largest image.
Questions:
• What trains are involved in this scene?
• When was this photo taken?
• What is the location?
• What are the circumstances?
Bonus question:
• Which of these two trains is moving—or are both moving? How would we know?
Hi-Res Photo 3Bill Kuebler
  
Here’s the second NP Mystery Photo in the series. Its solution appears in Mainstreeter issue 2009-4 (28-4). 
Click the "Hi-Res Photo 2" link on the right once to view a larger image, then put your cursor on the lower right corner of the image and click around till the Orange circle appears. Then click the circle to see the detail of largest image.

Questions:
What train is it?
What direction is it headed?
When was the photo taken?
What is the location?
Bonus questions:
Is the train moving? Why or why not?
What’s wrong in this picture?
Hi-Res Photo 2Bill Kuebler
  
This is the first mystery photo for you to study. Its solution appears in Mainstreeter issue 2009-3 (28-3).
So let the fun begin with NP Mystery Photo #1. Click the "Hi-Res Photo 1" link on the right one time to view a larger image, then put your cursor on the lower right corner of the image and click around till the Orange circle appears. Then, click the circle to see the detail of largest image.
See if you can correctly answer all these questions:
What train is it?
What direction is the train headed?
When was this photo taken?
What is the exact location?
And a two-part bonus question:
What famous NP photo was taken at this location and where was that photo published?
Have at it!
Hi-Res Photo 1Bill Kuebler