Trains at Work on the Panama Canal

The first image featured today is an informal photograph included in an album of film negatives that were taken in 1909 by A.G. Bedell. It shows a work crew standing on the tracks by a locomotive while a steam shovel loads a dirt car in the background. Beyond the year and photographer, we don’t have any additional information about the image.


As mentioned in a previous post, there were many photographs taken by laborers during their time working on the Canal. The next two images are from the same series and, like the one pictured above, are informal shots in which the railroad’s role in construction is evident. We have very little information about the images and would welcome your input.

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Finally, the last image showing the railroad in use is an official government photograph that was shot in 1904. This terrific photograph really captures the complexity of the work that was done in the Culebra Cut, showing steam shovels, locomotives with French dump cars, and (zoom in to see details) men with shovels digging on the sides of the banks.


As always, we welcome any specific details you might have about the photographs, as well as any recollections about ancestors who worked with the railroad during construction or any other comments you would like to add.

Celebrating 160 Years of the Panama Railroad (1855-2015)