Posts Tagged ‘Altoona Pennsylvania’

86 Lose Jobs at NS Altoona Locomotive Shop

July 13, 2021

Eight-six workers were furloughed last week at Norfolk Southern’s Juaniata Locomotive Shop in Altoona, Pennsylvania.

A news report indicated that another 14 positions were eliminated through attrition.

The workers were informed of the layoffs when they reported to work and were prohibited from entering the shop complex. The furloughs reported affected 32 electricians, 31 machinists, as well as those in other trades.

NS issued a statement saying the furloughs were part of a long-term business plan. However, union officials and a local state representative lambasted the job cuts.

“It’s all corporate greed,” said Stege Plazek, the local president of the Transport Workers Union, who was among those laid off. “They continue to slash manpower to fill their pockets.

”State Rep. Lou Schmitt (R-Altoona) said railroad managers were unwilling “to cut half a penny off their record-setting dividends to keep my people employed.”

The shop will continue to employ 400 workers.

PRR 1361 Restoration Set to Begin

July 12, 2021

Work is expected to begin soon on a $2.6 million restoration of former Pennsylvania Railroad 4-6-2 No. 1361.

The project is being overseen by the Railroaders Memorial Museum in Altoona, Pennsylvania.

The K-4 engine had been on static display for 28 years at Horseshoe Curve west of Altoona.

Restoration work to operating condition began in 1985 in Altoona and the 1361 pulled a 90-mile roundtrip excursion in April 1987 on the Nittany & Bald Eagle railroad, a former PRR branch.

The locomotive’s excursion life was cut short in late 1988 when an axle overheated during its return to Altoona.

Attempts to repair it failed and the locomotive spent time in the 1990s and early 2000s at Steamtown National Historic Site. It was supposed to be restored there but that work was never completed.

In 2007 No. 1361 returned to Altoona where it has languished ever since although some progress has been made at times toward restoring the K4 back to operating condition.

The objective of the latest restoration project is to return the locomotive to its early 1950s appearance when it operated in New Jersey commuter service.

Once the 1361 is operational, it will operate in various locations throughout Pennsylvania.

Museum officials said they have relationships with railroads, other museums, and tourist operations in the state and beyond.

“The goal is to employ those relationships to allow the K4 to visit those locations as a roaming ambassador to railroad history,” said Davidson Ward, president of FMW Solutions, which is working with the museum to restore the 1361.

 “Assuming fundraising is consistent and productive, we estimate three to four years. As with any restoration, however, this is always subject to change,” he said about when the K4 might be up and running.

The 1361 was built in Altoona and was one of 425 locomotives in its class. It was retired by the Pennsy in 1956.

FMW To Help with PRR 1361 Restoration

June 25, 2021

An Altoona railroad museum has hired a consulting firm to help with the restoration of Pennsylvania Railroad K4 No. 1361.

The announcement on Thursday by the Railroaders Memorial Museum said FMW Solutions will lead the effort to restore the 4-6-2 steam locomotive to operating condition.

FMW, which is based in Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee, recently helped with the restoration of U.S. Sugar 4-6-2 No. 148 in Florida and is working on the restoration of Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis 4-8-4 No. 576.

The cost of restoring the 1361 has been put at $2.6 million and the Altoona museum said fundraising efforts are being led by board chairman and former Norfolk Southern CEO Charles “Wick” Moorman. 

The 1361 was built at the Altoona Works in 1918 and ran until 1956 when it was placed on static display at Horseshoe Curve.

It was restored to operating condition in the late 1980s before being sidelined with mechanical problems after two years of operation.

Since then the locomotive resided for a time at Steamtown National Historic Site but plans to restore it there collapsed and the engine was delivered to Altoona in pieces.

Although some restoration work has been performed since then in Altoona on the tender and other locomotive components, little progress has been made. 

The museum hired FMW in 2019 to conduct a detailed inspection of the locomotive. That assessment has been reviewed and approved by the Federal Railroad Administration. 

Day on the East Slope

June 23, 2021

About three weeks ago I took a trip to Altoona, Pennsylvania, and railfanned the east slope of the former Pennsylvania Railroad Alleghany Mountain grade.

Here is a selection of some of my photographs, all of which were taken at Bennington Curve.

In order they include a downhill stack train, Amtrak’s westbound Pennsylvanian, and an eastbound coal train that had the PRR heritage leading and the Lehigh Valley heritage as a DPU

Photographs by Todd Dillon

Waiting to be Scrapped

January 28, 2021

Pennsylvania Railroad Fairbanks-Morse Train Master No. 6702 has called it a career and is waiting to be scrapped. By the time this image was made in the late 1960s to early 1970s, the Pennsy had become Penn Central. The location is the scrap line in Altoona, Pennsylvania, and the H24-66 F-M is sandwiched between two other units.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Where Was My Pole Filter?

December 30, 2020

In 1969 when I photographed Penn Central No. 8305, a Fairbanks-More H12-44, was still wearing New York Central paint as it sat in the scrap line in East Altoona, Pennsylvania. Sadly I had left my “pole” filter at home.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Found in Altoona

October 21, 2020

Deep in the heart of Pennsylvania Railroad territory the photographer found a former New York Central locomotive. RS12 No. No. 8305 was built by Alco in December 1951 for the NYC. It shown in Altoona, Pennsylvania, on Oct. 12, 1974. 

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Conrail Favorites From an Eastern Tour

September 27, 2020

During my July 1993 eastern railfanning tour with Marty Surdyk, we caught Conrail trains in a number of places including New York State and Pennsylvania.

Here are a few of my favorite images of the Conrail trains that I made during that tour.

The top photograph was made on the West Shore Line, a former New York Central property, and shows a southbound (railroad timetable eastbound) crossing Popolopen Creek.

I was standing on the Bear Mountain Bridge when I made the image.

In the next image, a northbound (timetable westbound) crosses Popolopen Creek.

The next two images were made in downtown Altoona, Pennsylvania, on the former Pennsylvania Railroad mainline.

The series concludes with an image made at the famed Horseshoe Curve.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

In the Altoona Dead Line

September 3, 2020

It’s June 1, 1969, in East Altoona, Pennsylvania. Former New York Central Fairbanks-Morse H12-44 is in one of the lines of dead locomotives in one of Penn Central’s scrap lines. Imagine the indignity that this unit must have felt to be spending its final days on the property of the hated rival Pennsylvania Railroad.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

He Got the Shot

June 28, 2020

The photographer stood on the roof of a Studebaker Lark to get enough elevation to shoot over the fence for this one.

It is  Oct. 12, 1974, in Altoona, Pennsylvania, and there is a sea of Penn Central locomotives of various makes and models.

Photograph by Robert Farkas