Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania Railroad’

T1 Restoration Group Reports Building Cab

July 18, 2017

A group restoring a Pennsylvania Railroad steam locomotive recently announced that it has finished building the engine’s cab.

The rebuilding was done in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, in a former PRR shop how owned by Curry Rail Service.

The group, The T1 Trust, is seeking to restore PRR T1 4-4-4-4 No. 5550.

The group described finishing the cab as a major step forward. Earlier this year it said it had cast its first boxpok driver.

Curry Rail is a locomotive supplier and railcar maintenance company that is a corporate sponsor of the T1 Trust project.

The Pennsy had 52 Class T1 locomotives, including 25 built at its shops in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Another 27 were built by Baldwin Locomotive Works.

Most of them were built in 1945 and 1946 and used in high-speed passenger service.

L&I To Build Overpass in Downtown Columbus, Ind.

July 8, 2017

CSX and the Louisville & Indiana Railroad will join with the city of Columbus, Indiana, and Bartholomew County to pay for an overpass to carry Indiana Route 46 over the L&I tracks in downtown Columbus.

The bridge is part of a $100 million line rehabilitation project on the former Pennsylvania Railroad mainline between Indianapolis and Louisville, Kentucky.

Although the L&I owns the tracks, CSX has helped the short-line railroad pay for track upgrades.

CSX routes through trains over the line between Louisville and Indianapolis. Some CSX trains use part of the route to go from Louisville to Cincinnati, getting onto the St. Louis line of the former Baltimore & Ohio at Seymour, Indiana.

The upgrading of the L&I line is expected to be completed next year. CSX has indicated that it will increase its use of the line.

Officials said Indiana Route 46 is the primary entrance and exit for motorists and trucks heading into and out of downtown Columbus.

CSX Plans Major Changes for Indianapolis

June 15, 2017

CSX is planning major changes to its operations in Indianapolis, including closing Avon Yard and its dispatching center, and spending millions to rebuild smaller facilities.

The news was reported on Trainorders.com by a poster who reprinted a memorandum from a railroad labor union officer who attended a meeting held in Indianapolis to be briefed on the changes.

The only date given for the changes was Oct. 31, when dispatching operations now based in Indianapolis will be moved to Jacksonville, Florida.

The CSX Indy dispatch office is a former Conrail facility that now oversees former Conrail territories that CSX acquired in 1999. It also dispatches all former B&O lines in Northeast Ohio operated by CSX.

Avon is a former New York Central hump classification yard that opened in June 1960.

Earlier this month CSX said it would close the locomotive shop there, but now it plans to farm out its other activities to the Hawthorne, Transfer and State Street yards. A new intermodal facility is to be constructed at a site to be named.

All of those facilities will be receive track upgrades and new buildings. The operating plan is to base scheduled jobs out of all yards on all three shifts.

Hawthorne will handle road trains while State and Transfer yards will handle the local and industry work.

As part of the restructuring, the local jobs will be assigned three-person  crews, which CSX management believes will be able to more efficiently handle switching.

Hawthorne, a former Pennsylvania Railroad yard, is a stub-end facility because the ex-PRR mainline on the east side of Indianapolis has been abandoned.

Avon crew pools will change at one of the three yards, although the operating plan is still being worked out.

This will include re-advertising all of the pool jobs to take into account adjustments in mileage and other operating changes.

One report is that some switching now done at Avon will be taken over by the Alton & Southern in the St. Louis region.

In years past, Avon built blocks for Penn Central and Conrail that were interchanged with western railroads in St. Louis and the St. Elmo, Illinois, gateway.

Locomotive fueling now done in Avon will be done throughout the Indianapolis terminal by fuel trucks. Car department repairs will be performed at Hawthorne.

The union memorandum said CSX wants to move quickly on the terminal changes, ideally within the next 45 days.

One impetus for closing Avon might be that the area around it has developed into a busy commercial-residential area and CSX might see an opportunity to sell land to developers.

Columbus to Help Fund Passenger Rail Study

June 12, 2017

The city of Columbus has agreed to contribute $250,000 toward the planning efforts to establish intercity rail service between Ohio’s capital city and Chicago.

That amount will be added to the $350,000 already committed by other cities, businesses and others.

All Aboard Ohio, a rail passenger advocacy group, reported in its June newsletter that some central Ohio entities that it didn’t name might contribute another $100,000.

Work on the proposed Chicago-Columbus route is being conducted by the Federal Railroad Administration and the engineering firm HNTB.

Their planning efforts are currently focused on the former Pennsylvania Railroad mainline between Lima, Ohio, and Gary, Indiana, that was once used by Amtrak’s Chicago-New York Broadway Limited and Chicago-Washington Capitol Limited.

The preferred route from Columbus is the CSX Toledo Terminal and Scottslawn subdivisions, which cross the ex-PRR mainline at Dunkirk, Ohio.

In a related move, the FRA is reported to be well along in creating a Midwest Regional Rail Planning Study.

That document will create a 40-year vision that builds on the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative that was proposed more than a decade ago but has never been implemented.

The Midwest Midwest rail concept would cost an estimated $2.5 billion for new locomotives, passenger cars, upgraded tracks, modernized stations, increased train frequencies and faster travel times.

The Ohio Rail Development Commission is participating in the plan, which will establish the priorities, and studies and investments needed to implement projects in the coming decades.

Dennison Seeks Bids for Steam Loco Restoration

May 22, 2017

The Village of Dennison, Ohio, is seeking bids to remodel a steam locomotive and tender that is now sitting at the former Pennsylvania Railroad station in town, which the village owns.

A published legal notice said that the village has a preferred architect do the planning and specifications. The plans are available from the village for $50 per copy.

Proposals are due by June 14 and bidders are being sought who have at least 10 years of experience.

The remodeling is expected to be a cosmetic restoration rather than a project to return the locomotive to operating condition.

PRR Artifact Found at PRR ‘Burial’ Site

May 10, 2017

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

 

Harris Tower Gets Additions, Makeover

April 29, 2017

The Harris Tower Railroad Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, will have a slightly new look when it reopens on May 27.

The structure has been rehabilitated and expanded displays created.

The Harrisburg Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, which owns the tower, has restored 40 windows, power-washed the interior, upgraded one bathroom with period-appropriate fixtures, re-painted the second floor, and installed replica lighting fixtures. The tower’s electro-pneumatic switching machine is to have its covers sand blasted and re-painted.

On the tower’s ground floor are three new display cases showing recently-acquired memorabilia pertinent to the structure’s history.

The museum is open on Saturdays between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. There is no admission charge.

When Pennsy Had a Yard in Akron

April 7, 2017

Perhaps you will have the same feeling of disbelief as I had when I looked at these two Mike Ondecker images.

Where was this heavily industrialized area? I didn’t know, but the sign on one of the factories matched a company in Cleveland, so I labeled this as Cleveland.

Much to my surprise, several railfans said this was Akron!

It was only upon close observation that I realized this was taken from a Firestone building.

On the left where a stone company now is located was once the Pennsylvania Railroad yard in Akron.

The building on the left is part of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. Erie No. 517 is most likely bringing a cut of cars back to the Erie Lackawanna McCoy Street Yard.

This Akron of the early 1960s is totally unlike today’s railroad/industrial scene, but thanks to Mike these memories come alive again.

Article by Robert Farkas, Photographs by Mike Ondecker

 

Trains of 5 Railroads in 6 Hours

April 6, 2017

New Jersey Transit in Newark station.

I went railfanning out at Bound Brook, New Jersey, last week. I took New Jersey Transit to get there.

At Bound Brook, the old Central of New Jersey and the old Lehigh Valley mainlines are about 50 feet apart.

You can stand on the NJT platform and photograph both lines. The LV line today is Conrail Shared Assets, hosting Norfolk Southern, CSX and local Conrail action.

The CNJ line is strictly the domain of NJT. It was used by the Baltimore & Ohio, Reading and CNJ.

After Conrail formed the CNJ eventually went to NJT and the Reading/B&O connection was switched over to connect with the LV line instead. Any local freight service is handled by NS.

In my travels I also had to change trains at Penn Station in Newark, New Jersey. Here are some shots from the day, including short line Morristown & Erie bringing freight down to Harrison, New Jersey via the old Lackawanna mainline, for interchange with CSX.

It’s a 1964 Alco C424 in actual freight service in 2017. The Pennsylvania Railroad bench is in Penn Station. Some things change, some remain the same.

In all, I made photographs  of five railroads in six hours.

Article and Photographs by Jack Norris

 

Remember PRR’s Philadelphia Day Trips

March 14, 2017

For those people that like to take day trips by train, here are some great outings from Philadelphia that were operated by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1923. I wish those wonderful prices were still around today. Philadelphia to New York by New Jersey Transit and SEPTA today is about $50 round trip. The cheapest Amtrak fare is $56 one way.

Article by Jack Norris