The Pennsy Modeler
In order to portray Pennsylvania Railroad and interchange partners as accurately as possible, this blog contains articles which are essentially notes to myself, but are shared should the community desire the same information.
Articles are sorted by modification date, so if an existing article receives an update it will be presented at the top of the list again.
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Strates Shows, America's only railroad carnival, travels the United States during a seven-month season, transporting personnel and equipment with 61 rail cars and 34 trucks. Traveling with the show are some 400 employees and families who operate the many rides, games and concessions.
Strates Shows has a history dating back to 1923 when James E. Strates, a Greek immigrant, began his first show. Mr. Strates came to America in 1909 and, like many immigrants, worked at a number of odd jobs. In 1919, he joined a carnival athletic show as a wrestler taking on all challengers. In 1923, James E. Strates acquired Southern Tier Shows and in 1932 changed its name to James E. Strates Shows. Mr. Strates continued to build and manage the carnival until his death in 1959. At that time his son, E. James Strates, assumed responsibility for the carnival and still operates it today.
Strates Shows are known to have ridden the rails of the Pennsy during the era being modeled.
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The economic success of the railroads depended on freight shipped in full cars. The idea of putting truck trailers on flatcars was a method of moving less-than-carload shipments economically. This "intermodal" concept held the hope of competing with trucks which were taking more and more of this business from the railroads.
In the mid-thirties, the Chicago, the Great Western and then the New Haven railroads began piggy back service limited to their own railroad. By 1953, the CB&Q, the Eastern Illinois and the Southern Pacific railroads had joined the innovation. Most cars were surplus 50's flatcars equipped with new decks by the railroads. By 1955, an additional 25 railroads had begun some form of piggy back service. A significant legal battle between the truckers and the railroads resulted in a ruling permitting interstate piggy back service using either railroad or privately owned trailers. The stage was set for rapid expansion of intermodal services.
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GE U25B, Class GF25
The GE U25B was General Electric's first independent entry into the United States domestic road switcher diesel-electric locomotive railroad market for heavy production road locomotives since 1936. From 1940 through 1953, GE participated in a design, production, and marketing consortium (Alco-GE) for diesel-electric locomotives with the American Locomotive Company. In 1956 the GE Universal Series of diesel locomotives was founded for the export market. The U25B was the first attempt at the domestic market since its termination of the consortium agreement with Alco.
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Another collection of notes unrelated to the Pennsy... but hey, it's my web site!
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak (reporting marks AMTK, AMTZ), is a passenger railroad service that provides medium and long-distance intercity service in the contiguous United States and to nine Canadian cities.
Founded in 1971 as a quasi-public corporation to operate many U.S. passenger rail services, it receives a combination of state and federal subsidies but is managed as a for-profit organization. Amtrak's headquarters is located one block west of Union Station in Washington, D.C.
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I consider the following Pennsylvania Railroad model railroads to have a high degree of fidelity to the prototype. They are not freelance, protolance, etc., but depict specific locales on the Pennsy based on historic documentation with a minimum of "modeler's license."
Those in bold I have had the opportunity to operate on. Those in italics are on my "bucket list" to visit.
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Nope, no Pennsy content here! I've always been a closet Auto Train fan, ever since it was first featured in Model Railroader in December 1972 and January 1973. I had the privilege of riding the train later in 1973.
Auto-Train Corporation (reporting mark AUT) was a privately owned railroad which used its own rolling stock, and traveled on rails leased from major railroads along the route of its trains, serving central Florida from points in the Mid-Atlantic region near Washington, DC, and the Midwest near Louisville, Kentucky, during the 1970s. Despite the popularity of the service on its primary route, which parallels busy Interstate 95 along much of the eastern coast of the United States in five states, the company failed financially after operating for almost 10 years. After a hiatus, a similarly named and operated service (Auto Train) was begun under the government-financed Amtrak in 1983, which became one of the railroad's most popular services.
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This table cross references Pennsy electric locomotives by class, type, sub class, sub class designator, year of introduction, and availability of HO scale models.
Eventually, clicking on minor class number will link to a class-specific page which will include prototype builder data, specifications, unit rosters, and unit photos.
Corrections and additions to this page are welcome. However, please refrain from submitting roster and subclass information for classes whose class detail pages have not yet been created. Thank you.
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The Pennsy was known to operate on its rails locomotives which it did not own. These inclued railroad test units, builder test units, demonstrators, and leased units.
Railroad Test Units
July and August, 1924: The PRR borrowed a 37-ton GE gas-electic at the piers in New York City.
1937: The PRR borrowed an EMC 600 hp switcher for potential use at the General Motors plant in Linden, New Jersey. The Pennsy purchased the unit afterwards -- Class ES6 #5911.
1947: The Pennsy tested an F-M H20-44 as a potential helper west of Altoona. They eventually went with EMD F3's for this purpose, in an A-B-A configuration.
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‘Two of the greatest post-war symbols of democracy in action’ in Harrisburg in 1947
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Over the years, I have had the opportunity to operate on many fine model railroads, including...
- Chris Adams' New York, New Haven & Hartford
- Bill Blackburn's Pennsylvania Railroad, Great Valley Division
- Jim Clay's Pennsylvania Railroad, Cumberland Valley Branch (deceased)
- Jim Dalberg's New Jersey Northern
- Tony Koester's Nickel Plate Road
- Steven Mallery's Pennsylvania Railroad, Buffalo Line
- Bob Martin's Central Pennsylvania Railroad (deceased)
- Larry Reynolds' Pennsylvania Railroad, Altoona Area
- Dave Rohrbaugh's South Penn Railroad
- Dave Trone's West Penn Railroad
- Jeff Warner's PRR/RDG/WM South Central Region
- Bob Zeolla's Conrail Conemaugh Line
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Alco RS-1, Class AS10s / AS10am / AS10ams / AS10as
The ALCO RS-1 was a 4-axle road switcher diesel-electric locomotive built by Alco-GE between 1941 and 1953 and the American Locomotive Company from 1953 to 1960. The Montreal Locomotive Works built three RS-1s in 1954. This model has the distinction of having the longest production run of any diesel locomotive for the North American market. The RS-1 was in production for 19 years from the first unit Rock Island #748 in March 1941 to the last unit National of Mexico #5663 in March 1960.
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