Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania Railroad’

3 From the 1960s

November 14, 2017

Here are three local photos that show long-gone pieces of Northeast Ohio history from December 1966 and January 1967.

In the top images are boxcars on the now-removed Pennsylvania Railroad line to Orrville crossing the southbound Baltimore & Ohio tracks at Warwick.

Looking down the string of boxcars, the main road is there, but the railroad crossing cross bucks and the side road aren’t. Also, there is a bridge under Ohio Route 21 in this photo. How quickly the past is removed.

In the middle is Akron, Canton & Youngstown X991 big hook in Akron.

The bottom image shows Erie No. 21576 at the north end of the A&BB yard that served Columbia Chemical and PPG.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

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Quest for Keystone Fall Foliage: 3

November 2, 2017

NS westbound 19G approaches the east portal of the Gallitzen tunnels as fall color fills the hillsides of the east slope.

Last of Three Parts

My next destination was Cresson, where I didn’t plan to stay long, but NS had other ideas.

But first I had to find my way out of Lilly. I had no trouble getting onto Pennsylvania Route 53, but I missed a turn in downtown.

I swear there was no sign showing that you have to make a right turn at the intersection where Route 53 juts eastward.

I went straight and wound up on a dead-end street. I had to zig zag my way back.

I had brought maps of all the towns I planned to visit, but hadn’t studied the map of Lilly enough determine how to get out of Lilly other than to stay on Route 53.

There is a large parking lot next to the railfan viewing platform in Cresson. I parked and walked up onto the platform. There was just one other person there and he spotted me and came over.

He was from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and we had a nice conversation about railroad operations in Pennsylvania and the highways in the Keystone State.

He been headed toward State College on U.S. 322, but got into heavy traffic of football fans leaving town. Those would have been the fans who stayed overnight after the conclusion of the Saturday night game.

That traffic led him to go another direction on his motorcycle and he wound up in Cresson.

We had plenty of time to talk because NS decided to go on siesta again. My radio was silent for a long time until the 21M showed up around 2:30 p.m.

Across the tracks from the viewing platform were three R.J. Corman locomotives that weren’t going anywhere. At least I got to see some bright color on a locomotive.

Not long before the 21M showed up, the Pittsburgh East dispatcher called the signal gang foreman to report that he couldn’t get switch 11 to show as having been thrown.

There was a good reason for that. The crew that had been digging around that switch earlier in the day inadvertently had severed a cable. They found some spikes and spiked the switch into position.

Think someone on Monday morning was going to have to answer for that one?

After the 21M headed for points west, I bid farewell to the guy from Lancaster and headed for Gallitzin.

As had happened in Lilly, I made a wrong turn coming town and had to zig zag to where I was going. I knew I was going the wrong way when the street on which I was driving went beneath the NS tracks. Had I followed the proper route I would have remained north of the tracks at all times.

I parked at the railfan park at the west end of the tunnels, but my stay here was brief. Nothing was going on so I motored up the hill to an overlook just off Tunnelhill Street.

The overlook offers an expansive view to the east, although it is somewhat obscured by trees and other vegetation.

But it is open enough to get decent photograph of trains on the east side of the tunnels.

By now the temperatures had finally reached the 70s and I no longer needed to wear a jacket.

I looked up to see a jet high overhead. I had my longest telephoto lens on my camera and snapped a couple of image.

When I enlarged the image on the camera screen I could see that it appeared to be a Boeing 747. But I could not make out any airline markings.

The radio came to life with a detector going off to the east and a westbound 19G calling signals. It was what I wanted to hear.

I could make out the outline of a train through the trees and waited until the head end came into an open area.

As much as anything, it was this image that I had driven to Pennsylvania to get. I wanted a photograph of a train grinding along with the mountainsides in the background wearing their palette of autumn colors.

I got it even if the colors were more muted than I would have liked. But the image says autumn and the lighting was good.

Having gotten “the shot,” it was time to slowly begin making my way west toward home.

I spent some time at the park by the tunnels, getting the helpers on the 19G, a westbound helper set and an eastbound intermodal train.

There was one last spot I wanted to check out and it would turn out to be the one with the brightest color.

I had been told by a guy at Cassandra that the color by the Pennsylvania Route 53 bridge over the NS tracks between Cresson and Gallitzin was particularly good. It was.

Shortly after I arrived, an eastbound trash train came along. I photographed it from both sides of the Route 53 bridge.

I noticed that an abandoned bridge abutment would offer a better place to stand on the south side of the tracks.

I walked over there and caught an eastbound intermodal train. A couple of young railfans joined me and we talked some.

What I really wanted, though, was a westbound. The light favored westbounds and there was good color at the bend where the five-track mainline curves as it heads into Gallitzin.

I had planned to leave for home at 5 p.m. NS had about a half-hour to send me a westbound. But the railroad wasn’t cooperating.

As I walked to my car I heard a scratchy voice on the radio say something like “3 west.” Was it west of Cresson or somewhere east of Gallitzin?

I thought about going back, but the day was getting late and I had a long drive ahead of me.

As I got on U.S. 22 at Cresson, I saw another eastbound coal train passing below.

The skies began clouding up the further west I went. But shortly after cresting ridge of the Laurel Highlands in Jackson Township of Cambria County, I looked to my right at the open view of the valley below and saw the best autumn color I had seen all day.

I was going too fast to pull over, so I found a ramp to reverse direction. I then had to go up and over at an exit to head westbound again.

This time I was able to pull over, put on my flashers and get out for some photographs of color on the hillsides.

Dinner was at a burger and beer joint in Murraysville named Crave.

By the time I left it was nighttime. I had entered Pennsylvania in the dark and I would leave it the same way.

But at least I didn’t have to contend with any more “highway robbery” incidents at the state line.

One of Pennsylvania’s many quirks is that you pay through the nose to enter the state on the Pennsylvania Turnpike from Ohio, but they let you leave without paying a dime.

Come back soon Buckeye and don’t forget to bring $7 with you to get in.

A broader perspective of the east slope as the 19G makes its way uphill toward Gallitzin.

Westbound intermodal train 21M splits the old signals and the yet to be turned on new signals in Cresson.

The helpers on the rear of the 19G in Gallitzin.

A westbound helper set running light is about to emerge from Gallitzin Tunnel.

An eastbound stack train casts shadows in the late day light as it passes through Gallitzin Tunnel.

An eastbound empty trash train in the first of a seven-image sequence. The view is looking west off the Pennsylvania Route 53 bridge just outside of Cresson.

 

Last train of the day in a four-shot sequence. The view is near the Pennsylvania Route 53 bridge at Cresson .

Ohio Short Line Rebuilding Track

September 29, 2017

A western Ohio short-line railroad will get a makeover in a $900,000 track rebuilding project.

OmniTRAX, two Ohio counties and the City of Tiffin Port Authority are funding the track rebuilding of the Northern & Ohio Western.

Workers will replace 7,000 ties and resurface 24 miles of track. Earlier this year, new gates and lights were installed at two crossings and a road crossing was rebuilt in Gibsonburg. The state funded that project at a cost of $500,000.

Last year six rail crossings were rebuilt at a cost of $100,000, which brings to $1.6 million the money that has been spent or is planned to be expended over the past two years.

“The short line is a valuable asset to business in Seneca and Sandusky counties,” said port authority Chairman Jim Supance in a statement. “We are committed to continuing to invest in the rail and appreciate the partnership with OmniTRAX on day-to-day operations and projects like these.”

N&OW uses 25 miles of former Pennsylvania Railroad track southeast of Toledo, extending from Woodville to Tiffin, Ohio.

Ed’s Trip to Pennsylvania (Part 3)

September 23, 2017

Sunday morning found us back in downtown Altoona, Pennsylvania, to get a few more images of Norfolk Southern and Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian as they passed Alto Tower.

We ate breakfast and attended church that morning and also made a visit to the Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum.

At the museum we saw the ex-Pennsylvania Railroad GG1 and the Pennsy K4 1361 before heading home to Ohio.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

CSX Shops Paints ex-PRR Passenger Car Tuscan Red

August 28, 2017

A former Pennsylvania Railroad passenger car is being restored to its original colors at the CSX shops in Huntington, West Virginia.

The Braddock Inn is being repainted into its original Pennsy Tuscan red after wearing Maryland Area Regional Commuter colors for several years.

The car is slated to operate in October on the New River Train, which is hosted by CSX for the Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society.

The society owns the 69-year-old car, which it also plans to operate in charter service in Washington, New York, and the Midwest beginning with trips later this year.

It was built in February 1949 as a 21-roomette sleeper and regularly assigned to the Iron City Express between New York City, Washington and Pittsburgh.

A latter assignment found it on the Indianapolis Limited as a through sleeper before it was converted to a stainless steel coach.

New Jersey Transit operated the car for several years before selling it to MARC in 2004.

As part of the restoration process, the Baddock Inn received new floors, shelving, cabinets and other lounge car amenities.

Stack Trains on the Fort Wayne Line

August 25, 2017

In modern railroading double-stack trains have become very common to see. During an afternoon at Berea, for instance, you will see more double-stack trains than all other types combined. This is not always the case. Certain rail lines are devoid of this type of train.

One major route in our area is the former Pennsylvania Railroad west of Alliance. In the late Conrail into the first few years after the Norfolk Southern takeover, double-stack trains routinely used this route. After about 2002 NS rerouted these trains off this line.

This past weekend stack trains returned to the former Pennsy. Ironically, it was another double-stack train that derailed leaving Ft. Wayne, Indiana, which necessitated not one but two stack trains, 20T and 20A, to be rerouted between Ft Wayne and Alliance.

Here’s my take on 20T at Crestline Ohio on Aug. 19.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

T1 Trust Acquires Tender from New York Society

August 22, 2017

The Western New York Railway Historical Society has sold to the T1 Trust a tender that is being described as the last of its kind.

Former Pennsylvania Railroad long-haul tender No. 6659 was used behind an M1, a 4-8-2 Mountain-type locomotive.

The acquisition means that the T1 trust will not have to build a tender because the tender it purchased is essentially a T1 tender minus the streamlining.

Design, construction, and fabrication of a new tender was estimated to eat $3 million out of the T1 restoration project’s $10 million budget.

No. 6659 holds 31 tons of coal and 21,000 gallons of water. No other coast-to-coast tenders with 16-wheels are known to exist.

In a news release, the T1 Trust said that No. 6659 is in excellent condition with sealed hatches, minor surface rust and well-preserved trucks.

The WNYRHS had acquired No. 6659 with the intent of using it to replace the gutted-out short tender for its Pennsy 2-10-0 I1sa-type locomotive.

As part of the purchase agreement, the T1 Trust will fully restore the I1’s tender tank to its original specifications as part of a planned cosmetic restoration of the I1 locomotive. The tender restoration is estimated to cost $75,000.

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.