PRR Artifact Found at PRR ‘Burial’ Site

My girlfriend and I frequent flea markets. Usually we find old timetables, maybe a piece of china (Baltimore & Ohio more often than not, since so much of it exists) or an old railroad lantern from an old barn.

Once in a while, however, something truly remarkable or unexpected shows up. This is a story about such items.

Locomotive builder’s plates are rare, treasured items. They are also very expensive.

The builder’s plates in this photo are reproductions. They represent some of the most successful groups of Pennsylvania Railroad steam locomotives: Class K-4s Pacific, Class E-6s Atlantic, Class L-1 Mountain and Class I-1sA Decapod.

These were found as a group at a table that had absolutely no other railroad items.

What is even more fun is that they were found at the weekly flea market at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in New Jersey. For those unfamiliar with the Meadowlands (home of the New York Giants and Jets as well as a horse racing track), the facilities are built on landfill.

The entire area was swamps and pig farms way back when. In the 1960s, Penn Station in New York City was demolished.

All of the rubble from the massive building was shipped to the Meadowlands and dumped as landfill. When at the flea market or football game, Penn Station is under your feet.

I always get excited when a PRR item shows up at the Meadowlands. Sure, it is mostly coincidence.

But I like to think it is the old PRR letting you know that in spirit she is alive and well. Sort of like an occasional oil slick coming to the surface from a long forgotten ship wreck saying, “I’m still here. Remember.”

Article and Photograph by Jack Norris

 

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