Jim Fredrickson 160 pages hardcover
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. Today, he is best remembered for operating this
territory from Auburn across the Cascade Range to Yakima. Jim kept the
“Mountain” running like clockwork.
The story of the Pacific Northwest railroading for most of the last
half of the twentieth century is entwined with Jim Fredrickson’s life.
His career spanned a period of far-reaching technological change—from
steam to diesel, from parcel freight to containers, from semaphore to
radio. And, being a fine, life-long photographer, Jim got it all down on
He also photographed the NP’s great competing lines—the Milwaukee,
Union Pacific, and Great Northern—and the successors, Burlington
Northern and Amtrak. Jim crossed the border into Canada to photograph
the Canadian Pacific, BC Electric, and Canadian National as well. Today,
his collection of regional railroad photographs and historical
memorabilia is unparalleled. Steam to Diesel presents some of his best.