Photo of the Week
June 1, 2003

This week's photo is a unique photo that I recently purchased.  It is an old black and white post card, which is undated, but believe the photo was taken shortly after the Canal opened.  The post card is titled, No. 14 Special Train for the Gobs. Panama Canal.  I have been told by several CZ Images visitors that Gobs means sailors or Navy personnel. After closer examination, it is clear that all the passengers of this train are wearing Navy uniforms.  It is clearly stopped at the Pedro Miguel locks as you can see Cerro Luisa in the background right and the hills of Paraiso in the far background.  This was surely the early days when there were no fences around the locks and they allowed groups to visit and tour the operations.  The train must be setting on a spur track off the main line into the locks area.  You can see the emergency dam on the left of the photo frame.

Now the best part!  This locomotive had me puzzled at first.  When I first saw it with it's poor scan on ebay, I thought it might be one of the 299 class locomotives or maybe even  299.  Once I received the photo and scanned it in at 1200 resolution and I found it to be a P.R.R. Class 651 - 662 locomotive.  With the 1200 resolution scan I determined this was locomotive 656 by barely seeing the number markings on the locomotive cab side.  The 651 - 662 class locomotive was built in 1904 by American Locomotive Company, Brooks Works and purchased by the P.R.R. at $12,550 each.  It must have stayed in service till after the construction days and don't have a date that it went out of service.

It appears that the passenger cars are two different type Wason Passenger Coaches.  The one next to the coal tender has a higher roof.  The others have a different roof, but appear to be made by Wason as well.

Another forgotten piece of our Canal Zone heritage.

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