Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania Railroad’

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

Pa. Excursion Trip Set for May 18

February 17, 2017

Three organizations are teaming up to offer a rare mileage excursion over the Pennsylvania Railroad and Reading Railroad’s Shamokin Valley Branch.

PennsylvaniaThe May 18 trip will cover a 27-mile branch that is the third oldest railroad in the United States, having been chartered as the Danville & Pottsville Railroad in 1826.

The train will include a Pullman car, baggage car, three restored coaches and a PRR N8 cabin car.

The tracks are now used by the North Shore Railroad, which is operated by the SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority.

The train will depart from Sunbury, Pennsylvania, with bus transportation provided to the boarding site from Camp Hill, Wyomissing and Lancaster.

Tickets are $89 per person for those departing from one of the bus locations and $45 for those driving to Sunbury on their own.

The fare includes a bag lunch. Other sandwiches and drinks will be available for purchase on the train.

This trip is subject to cancellation due to insufficient and/or late registration.

Tickets can be purchased by sending a check made payable to the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society.

Send payments to Iron Ore Special, 1624 Suzanne Drive, West Chester, PA 19380-1573. Registration and payment are due by April 10,

For further information send a email query to ironorespecial@gmail.com.

Trip sponsors are the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society, the Reading Company Technical & Historical Society, and the Friends of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.

Pa. Museum Qualifies for Matching Grant.

February 1, 2017

Fundraising by the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania for a steam locomotive restoration project has reached the level where it qualifies for a matching grant of $50,000.

pa-rr-museumThe museum has raised more than $60,000 in its “Ready for the Roundhouse” campaign, thus matching a 50-50 grant from the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical and Historical Society.

The museum plans to use the money to restore five former PRR steam locomotives. The project needs to raise a total of $250,000.

The five locomotives include Pennsy M1b 4-8-2 No. 6755, K4s 4-6-2 No. 3750, L1s 2-8-2 No. 520, H10s 2-8-0 No. 7688 and B6sb 0-6-0 No. 1670.

All of them will be cosmetically restored and placed on display in a roundhouse that the museum plans to build. Groundbreaking for the roundhouse is expected to done this year.

Penn Central’s Stock Certificates Were Elaborate, Colorful, But Today are Mere Collector’s Items

January 27, 2017

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When Penn Central filed for bankruptcy protection in June 1970 it was not only the largest business failure in America to date, but it rendered stock in the beleaguered company all but worthless.

One footnote to the Penn Central story is that when the New York Central and Pennsylvania railroads merged on Feb. 1, 1968, the company was officially known as the Pennsylvania New York Central Transportation Company, a name that didn’t last long and was shortened to Penn Central Transportation Company.

As seen above the stock certificates came in two colors, blue and brown. Shareholders also had the option of mixing the two shades.

Not unlike many stock certificates, Penn Central stock had an elaborate appearance, featuring a profile of the Roman god Mercury. He was the god of financial gain, commerce, messages/communication, travelers, boundaries, luck, trickery and thieves.

Given some of the financial shenanigans that PC management practiced during their trouble company’s life, perhaps the choice of Mercury was appropriate given their embrace of the latter two of Mercury’s traits.

Mercury appears amid scenes of a city skyline and various forms of transportation.

Because the PRR was the nominal survivor of the merger, it’s date of origin is listed toward the top on the right hand side.

From a legal perspective, the PRR had changed its name to Pennsylvania New York Central Transportation Company.

That didn’t last long. On May 8, 1968, the company name changed to Penn Central Transportation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Penn Central Company.

For awhile, PC paid dividends to stock holders in an effort to create the illusion of success.

In reality, the railroad ran up a deficit of $2.8 million in its first year and it only grew from there, reaching $83 million in 1969. On June 21, 1970, PC entered bankruptcy proceedings.

At the time, Penn Central was the nation’s sixth largest company.

We all know that many of the railroad operations of PC were turned over to Consolidated Rail Corporation on April 1, 1976. Some PC lines not picked up by Conrail were saved, but others simply never saw rail service again and were eventually abandoned.

Penn Central Company survived the bankruptcy. It had considerable real estate holdings and eventually evolved into a financial services and insurance company later known as American Financial Group.

Today, Penn Central stock is a collectors item. One website that deals in old stocks and bonds is offering PC stock certificates online for $6.95, marked down from $10.95. On eBay, PC stock certificates on Thursday ranged in asking price from $2.19 to $8.19.

The stock certificates shown above are from the collection of Jack Norris.

Penn Central Memories Bleeding Through

January 16, 2017
A double set of Penn Central mating worms logos can be seen on the nose of a former New York Central E8A rusting away in the collection of the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum in Bellevue.

A double set of Penn Central mating worms logos can be seen on the nose of a former New York Central E8A rusting away at the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum in Bellevue.

Penn Central disappeared as a railroad on April 1, 1976, when many of its railroad assets were absorbed by the newly-formed Consolidated Rail Corporation.

But Penn Central as a corporate entity continued to exist because it had extensive real estate holdings.

The railroad of the name Penn Central is far better known than the Penn Central Corporation, which continue to hold and manage the non-rail assets owned by the railroad that Conrail didn’t want.

A decade after Penn Central, the railroad, ceased to operate, Penn Central, the corporation, continued to sell and manage those assets. It even reorganized itself on Oct. 24, 1978, when it adopted the Penn Central Corporation moniker, and on March 28, 1994, when it was renamed American Premium Underwriters.

That suggests an insurance company, which is exactly what it was. It had its headquarters in Cincinnati and later was acquired by American Financial Group.

But enough history of Penn Central the financial company. Penn Central the railroad best known for seeking bankruptcy protection in June 1970 still lives if you look for it.

You can find vestiges of PC in the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum as well as on the sides of covered hopper cars.

I present here a gallery of Penn Central memories that were still living that I found in the past year and a half at various locations in Ohio.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Look closely and you'll find evidence of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Penn Central, Conrail and the Wheeling & Lake Erie. The car is shown sitting on the lead to a grain elevator in Monroeville.

Look closely and you’ll find evidence of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Penn Central, Conrail and the Wheeling & Lake Erie. The car is shown sitting on the lead to a grain elevator in Monroeville.

The Penn Central logo is bleeding through over a Pennsylvania Railroad keystone logo.

The Penn Central logo is bleeding through over a Pennsylvania Railroad keystone logo.

A covered hopper in the consist of a Norfolk Southern train at Marion still wears its PC green and markings.

A covered hopper in the consist of a Norfolk Southern train at Marion still wears its PC green and markings.