PENNSYRR.COM by Jerry Britton

divisions41 68

By Ed Spodobalski

[This article is presented in its entirety as it appeared in the December 1978 issue of Rails Northeast. No attempt is being made to present it here as original work. We have no means of contacting the original author, though the original publisher has indicated no offense in republication. We hope that the author would approve of its republication here and we are prepared to remove it if requested to do so. Also note that the content of the article is one of reporting simple facts as determined from actual PRR publications and it does not contain conjecture or personal opinion on the part of the author. Therefore, any researcher could arrive at the same data fairly readily.]


In the last article on this subject in the February, issue of RNE the former PRR regions and divisions were traced during the existence of the ill-fated PC. This article will attempt to follow each PRR division from 1941 up to the PC merger in early 1968. The era from 1941 to 1968 is divided up into 5 distinct time periods based upon the issuing of employee timetables by the PRR.


The first, and the longest time period was from 1941 to 1951; when the Pennsy issued system-wide new timetables in late 41 and early 42. These timetables reflected the consolidation of certain divisions of the PRR in the 1930's. The hierarchy of the PRR operations organization consisted of three levels: the Regions, Grand Divisions, and the Operating Divisions. Please refer to the accompanying chart showing the breakdown of Regions and Divisions for the various time periods referred to in this article.

divisions41 68(click on image for larger version)
[NOTE: This graphic does not include the additional 1955 structure discussed below.]

During the late 1940's the following divisional changes were made: the Wilkes-Barre Division was disbanded, the Schuylkill Branch going to the Philadelphia Terminal Division while the balance of the division was combined with the Williamsport Division to form the Susquehanna Division. On the Central Region there were many changes; the Renovo and Buffalo Divisions were consolidated to form the Northern Division, the Monongahela Division was merged into the Pittsburgh Division while the E & A Division and the Cleveland Division were combined to form the Lake Division. Out on the Western Region the Toledo Division was abolished, the line from Toledo Jct. to Detroit was made part of the Eastern Division, and the Sandusky Branch was transferred to the Columbus Division. the Logansport Division was also apportioned in similar fashion; the main line from Bradford, Ohio to Anoka, Ind. was transferred to the Columbus Division while the remainder of the division was combined with the Chicago Terminal Division to form a new Chicago Division; also the Grand Rapids Division was merged into the Fort Wayne Division. Finally the Indianapolis and St. Louis Divisions were merged to form the Southwestern Division, with this we move into the second time period of 1951 to 1954.

In 1951 the PRR issued new employee timetables system-wide with which it reduced its 27 operating divisions of 1941 down to 19 operating divisions, including the Atlantic Division which was operated jointly with the Reading. More importantly though, the 10 Grand Divisions had been abolished and the divisions were now assigned directly to one of the 3 Regions.

The third period, which was the shortest of the five, lasted for just one issue of employee timetables. On October 30, 1955 with new timetables issued system-wide all divisions were redesignated Districts; and this was a prelude to the PRR going to the Operating Regions of the next period.

[Drew McGhee and Al Buchan, "PRR-Talk" subscribers, have submitted documentation that shows that in the spring of 1955, just prior to the subsequent major reorganization (next paragraph), there were some minor changes in the existing division structure. Based on employe timetable covers, the Susquehanna Division is in the Eastern Region, rather than the Central Region.]

In 1955-56, the Pennsy went from the aforementioned 19 Operating Districts to 9 Operating Regions. The transition was as follows: The New York district remained basically intact and was redesignated the New York Region; The Atlantic District remained as such, an independent operation with the Reading, but technically was considered art of the Philadelphia Region. The Maruland and Delmarva Districts were combined to form the new Chesapeake Region. The final change on the Eastern Region was the merging of the Philadelphia Terminal and the Philadelphia District to form the Philadelphia Region.

On the Central Region the Susquehanna and Northern Districts were formed into the Northern Region. The consolidation of the Middle, Pittsburgh, Conemaugh and portions of the Eastern and Panhandle Districts formed the new Pittsburgh Region. The remaining portion of the Eastern District was combined with the Lake District to create the Lake Region.

The Western Region had the following changes: A portion of the Panhandle District was combined with the Columbus and Cincinnati Districts to form the new Buckeye Region, while the Chicago and Ft. Wayne Districts merged to make up the Northwestern Region. The Southwestern District was no changes and was simply redesignated the Southwestern Region. Thus the PRR was divided up into 9 Operating Regions.

So we now come to the fourth time period of 1956 to 1964 when on April 29, 1956, the PRR issued system-wide new employee timetables for the 9 regions. Also at this time all reference to the Eastern, Central and Western Regions were deleted. The Pennsy operated under the 9 Region setup until early 1964 when it decided to go back to the 3 main regions consisting of operating divisions. As a result in March 1964 the PRR initiated the following changes: The Philadelphhia Region was divided into the Harrisburg and Philadelphia Divisions, these in company with the Chesapeake and New York Divisions formed the Eastern Region. The Pittsburgh Region was broke down into two divisions; the Pittsburgh and Allegheny, together with the newly designated Lake and Northern Divisions formed the Central Region. The Northwestern Region was divided into the Ft. Wayne and Chicago Divisions and they in company with the redesignated Buckeye and Southwestern Divisions comprised the Western Region. In the fifth and final time period beginning in 1964, the PRR consisted of 3 homogeneous Operating Regions each having four operating divisions. Operationally the Pennsy remained as such until the merger with the New York Central in February, 1968.

(Due to incomplete data before 1930, I am not able to complete so perhaps one of our Pennsy readers has data covering the period from 1920 or before up to 1940).