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1280px Train Overlook Cassandra panoramio 7

Many years ago, at a Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society annual meeting in Ohio, I procured a packet of documentation pertaining to MO tower at Cresson, Pa. The notes started in the early 19-teens and extended through the end of Pennsy.

One section included a study conducted during the middle of World War II to determine the feasibility of installing bi-directional signalling between SO (South Fork) and MO (Cresson) on the west slope. In a form dated April 7, 1942, Pittsburgh Division management requested authorization for the expenditure of $149,883 for "Reverse signals on number three track -- "MO" to "SO" and changes to crossovers at interlockings". The justification was as follows:

 

In order to provide increased efficiency of train operation and speed up the movement of eastern trains, between "SO" South Fork, and "MO" Cresson, a distance of 14.6 miles, on the Western Slope of the Pittsburgh Division, it is desired to:

(1) Provide reverse signaling on No. 3, the westward passenger track between "MO and "SO".

(2) Lengthen certain crossovers at "MO", "NY", and "SO", to provide for diverting movements at 30 m.p.h.

(3) Utilize spare levers on existing electro-pneumatic machine now in "SO" Tower for operation of switches at "W" interlocking to operate switches at "SO" and abandon the existing electro-mechanical machine.

(4) Provide power-operation at "NY" for three No. 15 crossovers in their new location by the application of 3-8 units on existing mechanical machine.

Reverse signalling was put into service on No. 3 track between "SG" west of Johnstown, and "SO" South Fork, in November, 1918, and between "MO" Cresson and "BF" Bennington in February 1942. The installation requested in this application will so equip No. 3 track continuously from "SG" to "BF" a distance of 29.5 miles or the entire Western Slope. 

The ascending grades for eastern trains between "SO" and "MO" range from 0.4% to 1.18% with the exception of 2.3 miles in the vacinity of Wilmore water pans. The slow freight train speeds on these heavy grades are resulting in congestion and delay to eastward freight trains due to the necessity for holding freight trains clear of No. 2 eastward passenger track for a considerable period of time in advance of scheduled passenger trains.

To relieve this congestion and reduce delays, eastward passenger trains are frequently operated against the current of traffic on No. 3 track under manual block system rules. These trains suffer considerable delays account of slowing up for train orders, entering and leaving the block via No. 10 crossovers at 15 m.p.h.

This method of operation combined with the loss of schedule and inoperative cab signals is highly undesirable in this territory with its sharp curves and frequent heavy fogs.

Installation of proposed signals and changes in crossovers, with incident changes in interlocking plants will provice increased flexibility and speed for both passenger and freight train operations and in addition, will result in operational savings as follows:

For the three day period, March 19th, 20th, and 21, 1942, eastward freight trains were delayed a total of 22.6 hours, and three helpers a total of 37.0 engine hours.These delays occurred to trains which were on overtime before reaching destination and at times when No. 3 track in this territory could have been used for eastward trains without interference to westward movements.

...

The requisition was approved and track No. 3 was signalled bi-directionally. Today there are three tracks on the western slope. The center track was the Pennsy's No. 3 track and remains bi-directional.

That study produced two string diagrams representing 24 hours of traffic between SO and MO on July 29, 1942. Below are the interpolated times at Cassandra, a popular train watching spot on the western slope, with trains routed against the normal flow of traffic on No. 3 indicated in bold.

So open your choice of beverage, sit back, and count the trains... 

IMG 3507Contemporary view looking down hill, railroad west. Eastbounds grind their way up the hill on the three-plus mile tangent. PRR track two had been removed. IMG 3433Contemporary view looking up hill, railroad east, towards Lilly. Views from the former Route 53 bridge are awesome!

 

Notes

Passenger train names were derived from the November 14, 1943, "Makeup of Trains" document.

No conclusions can be drawn regarding use of power. The documentation states that "the lead engine" is recorded.

Symbols like SO (South Fork), NY (Portage), and SK (Shire Oaks) designate source/destination towers and often indicate hopper runs. The symbol by itself is a westbound of empty hoppers. Eastbound with a "-B" suffix (e.g. "SO-B") indicates an eastbound of loaded hoppers with bituminous coal. SH and GH remain unknown. Other notable locations, not in this study, include DR (Derry), and GH (Pitcairn).. [Thanks to Rich Ribarevski.]

Symbol CMB was a Chicago-Enola train and not a mineral train (as in "CM-B"). [Thanks to Dave Evans.]

1Shifter is sourced from NY (Portage).

Observations

  • There were 40 eastbound and 37 westbound passenger movements (green).
  • There were 45 eastbound and 73 westbound freight movements.
  • There was 1 eastbound and 79 westbound light engine movements (blue).
  • Six eastbound passenger movements were routed over No. 3 track, using manual block rules, and are indicated in bold.
  • There were many passenger movements labeled "P-EX" (Passennger Extra) that could have been troop trains. They featured a variety of power, including M1 and I1.
  • Freight power is largely I1s/I1sa.
  • Passenger power is mostly K4s, with many M1.
  • A "rare" C1 makes an appearance (6:32 a.m.).
  • A N2s appears on a work train (9:18 a.m. and 2:07 p.m.).
  • A K4s appears on a freight train (3:00 a.m.).
  • A westbound cabin car movement appears (7:40 a.m.).
Time Track Dir Train Lead
Engine
Consist
L-E
Tons
Midnight -- July 29, 1942
12:04  4 WB PH I1sa 4525 0-90 2,850
12:10  3 WB 29 Broadway Limited K1s 5432    
12:16  2 EB 22 Manhattan Limited K4s 5463    
12:19  1 EB CMB L1s 1598 49-16  3,629
12:23 4 WB Engines I1s 3662
I1s 4552
Light 
12:24 3 WB 77 The Trail Blazer K4s 5434  
12:30  3 WB 31 Spirit of St. Louis K4s 5147  
12:32  2 EB 16 Manhattan Limited
(Pittsburgh Section)
K4s 3742  
12:45  3 WB 65 The Jeffersonian K4s 5459  
12:48  2 EB 50 The Statesman K4s 1653  
12:54 3 WB 21 (Philadelphia-Pittsburgh Local) K4s 5417  
1:05 3 WB ED-3 I1s 6333 41-25 3,150
1:08  2 EB 76 The Trail Blazer M1 6816  
 1:14 2 EB 68 The Red Arrow K4s 949  
1:14 3 WB DX I1s 3707 Light
1:19 3 WB Engine I1s 2867 Light
1:25 2 EB 60 The Pittsburgher K4s 5466  
1:33  2 EB P-EX M1 6988  
1:38  2 EB P-EX K4s 5433   
1:38 3 WB 23 Manhattan Limited K4s 1983  
1:44 4 WB PF-4 I1s 3662 64-4 3,450
 1:48 1 EB P-EX K4s 5341  
1:48 3 WB OD M1 6982
K4s 7275
Light 
1:55  1 EB 38 The Akronite/The Clevelander M1 6824  
1:59 3 WB JC-7 L1s 1174
I1s 4236
0-123 3,150
2:02 1 EB 36 M1 6815  
2:05 3 WB Engines I1s 4503
I1s 4380
I1s 3204
Light
2:11 3 WB Engines I1s 2945
I1s 4296
Light
2:20 3 WB P-EX L1s 1487  
2:26 3 WB Engines I1sa 4308
I1s 4375
Light
2:28 2 EB 68 The Red Arrow K4s 8242
N1s 7242
 
2:46  2 EB 40 Cincinnati Limited M1 6837  
2:50 3 WB 9 The Akronite K4s 5408  
2:52 2 EB P-EX K4s 3684  
2:57 3 WB 39 The Clevelander K4s 5391
K4s 5419
 
3:00 4 WB VL-9 K4s 5408    
3:02  2 EB 58 The Liberty Limited K4s 3761
K4s 3737
 
3:04 4 WB Engine I1sa 4344 Light
3:12 4 WB Engine I1s 4337 Light
3:15 4 WB Engine I1s 4431 Light
3:15 1 EB WS-4 M1 6879 72-1 3,250
3:16 2 EB 30 Spirit of St. Louis K4s 3677  
3:28 4 WB GH I1s 4341
L1s 1169
46-5 3,150
3:33 2 EB 48 The General K4s 623
3:41 3 EB 20 K4s 3671
3:43 4 WB 67 The American K4s 1195
3:47 1 EB DMB I1s 1728 49-1 4,180
3:52 2 EB 70 The Admiral K4s 5447  
3:56 3 EB 28 The Broadway Limited K4s 3684    
3:57 1 EB NY-8
ACS-10
L1s 1643 95-0 5,320
4:02 4 WB BF-5 L1s 3229
I1s 4335
44-9 2,445
4:04 4 WB DR I1sa 3701 Light
4:06 2 EB 64 The Jeffersonian K4s 8195  
4:06 4 WB CREST.      
4:14 1 EB LCL-2 M1 6944
? 343
58-0 2,320
4:20 3 WB P-EX M1 6845  
4:24 4 WB Engines I1s 982
I1s 4421
Light
4:30 3 WB Engine I1s 4325 Light
4:38 4 WB SO I1s 4465 0-88 1,800
4:43 3 WB CE-1 I1sa 4288
L1s 3498
32-31 2,713
4:44 1 EB SO-B I1sa 4685 74-0 6,500
4:49 2 EB WS-8 M1 6889 57-0 2,360
4:50 3 WB DX I1sa 4368 Light
5:05 4 WB SO I1s 1313 0-34 810
5:09 2 EB 78 The Pennsylvanian K4s 8378
K4s 3880
 
5:12 1 EB WS-10 I1s 3472 68-14 3,800
5:18 3 EB 35 K4s 5394  
5:22 3 EB 37 M1 6833
K4s 3867
 
5:44 4 WB Engine I1sa 4283 Light
5:56 1 EB SH-4 I1s 4265 88-10 6,083
5:56 4 WB VL-9 I1s 4576
L1s 555
24-66 2,956
6:03 3 WB M1 6861  
6:15 4 WB SK I1s 4350 0-121 2,850
6:17 3 WB 51 K4s 5336  
6:22 1 EB SO-B I1s 4458 76-0 6,500
6:28 3 WB 79 The Golden Arrow K4s 1522  
6:30 4 WB Engine I1sa 4482 Light
6:32 4 WB Engines C1 6630
I1s 4319
Light
6:34 4 WB 11 St. Louis Mail K4s 2112  
6:38 1 EB B-ORE M1 6877 49-0 4,900 
6:40 2 EB 42 The Rainbow K4s 1139  
6:45 4 WB Engines I1sa 4490
L1s 3496
I1s 4321
Light
6:48 4 WB 61 The Pittsburgher K4s 837  
6:56 4 WB Engines I1s 4296
I1s 2945
Light
6:58 4 WB 661 K4s 5022
7:00 1 EB B-ORE I1sa 1284 57-0 5,710
7:00 3 WB P-EX K4s 5347  
7:04 2 EB CMB L1s 1638 64-0 3,590
7:34 3 WB 667 K4s 3738  
7:36 1 EB B-ORE I1sa 3712 59-0 5,426
7:40 4 WB Cabins I1s 4556 5 CABS 125
7:46 4 WB CREST L1s 4162 23-70 3,150
7:48 3 WB Engines L1s 546
I1sa 3715
Light
7:50 1 EB B-ORE I1s 4385 55-0 5,346
7:52 3 WB Engines I1s 1456
I1s 4515
Light
8:00 1 EB DVL-8
OS-14
L1s 793 56-0 3,201
8:08 1 EB B-ORE L1s 1483 45-0 4,590
8:06 4 WB KJ I1s 4262 38-37 3,150
8:08 2 EB P-EX M1 6853  
8:14 2 EB AR I1s 4552 Light
8:18 4 WB DX I1s 3476 Light
8:22 3 EB 682 K4s 3848  
8:24 4 WB Engines I1s 4460
I1s 4321
Light
8:30 3 EB P-EX K4s 7288  
8:31 4 WB PG-7 I1s 4361 26-0 2,000
8:37 4 WB DX I1s 4330 Light
8:40 1 EB B-ORE I1s 4501 58-0 5,810
8:44 4 WB Engines I1sa 4232
I1sa 4272
Light
8:51 2 EB OS-8 I1sa 4244  67-0 4,500
8:56 1 EB SH H9s 3595  28-32 or 2,832
9:00 4 WB Engine I1s 4552 Light
9:09 4 WB Engine I1s 4239 Light
9:18 3 WB Engines I1sa 4666
I1s 3445
Light
9:18 4 WB Work Train N2s 9956    
9:20 1 EB PG-2 M1 6890 53-14 2,700
9:31 3 WB AHL-1 I1s 4377
I1sa 4660
52-33 3,386
9:46 4 WB Engine I1sa 4344 Light
9:58 2 EB 2 Pennsylvania Limited K4s 911  
9:58 WB NY-ENG I1s 6335
I1s 4353
Light
10:05 3 WB P-EX M1 6847  
10:14 1 EB NY-2 L1s 1386 59-0 3,007
10:16 3 WB 623 K4s 6981  
10:27 1 EB SO-B I1s 4355 85-0 6,500
10:27 3 WB Engines I1s 4380
I1s 4391
Light
10:30 2 EB 54 Gotham Limited K4s 1453  
10:35 4 WB LCL-3 I1s 4553
L1s 3649
35-76 3,000
10:37 3 WB DM I1s 1728 Light
10:44 1 EB PG-34 I1s 4524 3-0 200
10:48 2 EB P-EX K4s 5417  
10:55 4 WB WP-15 I1s 3724 29-5 2,000
11:00  1 EB JA-2 I1s 4503 75-2 5,670
11:04 3 WB 3 M1 6810  
11:09 2 EB 8 K4s 5459  
11:11 3 WB Engines I1s 4554
I1s 4674
Light
11:16 3 WB Engines I1sa 4528
I1s 4365
Light
11:21 3 WB Engines I1s 3666
I1s 4391
Light
11:21 4 WB NY H9s 303
H10s 8602
0-28 560
11:32 3 WB SO I1s 4695 0-57 1,150
11:32 4 WB GH L1s 283 66-0 5,385
11:44 1 EB AVL-2 I1sa 4471 77-0 3,490
11:48 2 EB 72 The Juniata M1 6851  
11:50 3 WB Engine I1s 4431 Light
11:54 2 EB P-EX K4s 646  
11:57 3 WB CW I1s 4302 0-102 2,800
11:58 1 EB SW-2 L1s 567 58-0 1,750
Noon -- July 29, 1942
12:01 3 WB Engine H6a 982 Light
12:07 2 EB AFW-8 M1 6962 70-0 2,590
12:28 4 WB NY H8sb 961
H10s 8354
0-25 500
12:34 3 WB LCL-1
LCL-5
I1sa 4280 65-1 2,310
12:44 1 EB BNY-16  ? 1053 62-4 3,615
12:58 3 WB VL-5 I1sa 1271 13-112 3,447
1:10 3 WB Engines I1s 4494
I1s 3204
Light
1:18 3 WB SO I1sa 4458 0-45 1,050
1:25 1 EB PWE-2 M1 6893 78-0 4,300
1:31 3 WB Engine I1s 3709 Light
1:34 3 WB Engine I1s 4421 Light
1:35 4 WB NY I1sa 4370 0-98 2,300
1:36 2 EB ED-2 I1sa 4658 62-0 3,400
1:39 3 WB Engine I1sa 4490 Light
1:49 4 WB Engine I1sa 4482 Light
1:52 1 EB ABF-6 L1s 1372 52-23 3,650
1:52 4 WB Engines I1sa 4563
I1s 3718
Light
1:58 4 WB Engines L1s 174
I1s 4429
Light
1:59 3 EB 24 K4s 1983  
2:16 4 WB Engines I1sa 4232
I1sa 4272

Light
2:26 4 WB Engines I1s 4526
I1s 6330
Light
2:10 2 EB VL-2A M1 6924 54-20 3,482
2:14   EB SH H9s 3592    
2:07 1 EB Work Train N2s 9956    
2:26 1 EB B-ORE I1s 3665 55-0 5,296
2:28 3 WB X PG-1
VL-9
I1s 4304 23-48 3,450
2:40 1 EB PR-6 I1sa 4510 71-3 5,220
2:41 4 WB Engine I1s 4319 Light
2:52 3 WB P-EX M1 6815
K4s 2761
 
2:52 4 WB GH L1s 1443 0-105 2,600
3:00 2 EB FW-8 L1s 512 32-0 910
3:02 WB Engines L1s 546
L1s 3496
Light
3:10 4 WB Engine I1s 4321 Light
3:14 1 EB SS-2 I1s 4566 77-0 6,028
3:16 2 EB CMB L1s 977 61-3 3,780
3:16 4 WB Engine I1s 3719 Light
3:20 3 WB 25 The Metropolitan K4s 5339
M1 6824
 
3:30 3 WB 15 M1 6837  
3:38 1 EB B-ORE I1s 4371  56-0 5590
3:44 4 WB Engines I1sa 4344
I1sa 3715
Light
4:08 1 EB PG-18 I1sa 4466 81-0 5,567
4:08 4 WB YA-5 I1s 515 17-90 3,447
4:12 3 WB OD K4s 5349 Light
4:20 2 EB 74 K4s 7275
K4s 5147
 
 4:24 1 EB SO-B I1s 4465 80-0 6,500
4:28 4 WB BF-3 I1s 4669 36-47 3,184
4:46 2 EB CE-2 L1s 637 79-4 4,190
4:57 4 WB Engines I1s 1728
I1s 4380
Light
5:01 3 WB Engines I1s 4328
I1s 4261
Light
5:06 4 WB Engines I1s 6335
I1s 3445
Light
5:18 1 EB VL-2B L1s 3494 55-0 3009
5:22 3 WB PG-1 I1s 3517 58-29 3,448
5:26 4 WB OD K4s 8195 Light
5:32 3 WB Engines I1s 3666
I1sa 4393
Light
5:42 3 WB Engines I1s 4353
I1s 4239
Light
5:47 2 EB OS-4C L1s 657 92-0 5,520
6:00 1 EB WJ-8 I1s 6329 77-0 6,207
6:00 4 WB SK I1sa 1284 0-125 3,150
6:06 4 WB Engines I1s 4554
I1s 4552
Light
6:10 2 EB OS-2 I1s 2867 72-0 4,320
6:16 1 EB OS-14 M1 6971 61-0 3,948
6:16  3 EB 46 K4s 5419    
6:16 4 WB Engines I1s 4573
I1sa 4528
Light
6:24 3 WB Engine I1s 4674 Light
6:24 4 WB 75 The Duquesne K4s 1653  
6:29 1 EB NS-2 I1sa 4308 40-0 3,127
6:40 3 WB 19 K4s 5344  
6:50  1 EB DR-B I1sa 4260 82-0 6,046
6:50 2 EB B-ORE I1sa 4666 58-0 5,450
6:50 4 WB SK I1s 4385 0-103 2,300
6:52 3 WB JC-7 I1s 4265 0-125 3,150
6:56 2 EB P-EX M1 6845  
6:59 2 EB P-EX I1s 4477  
7:20 1 EB Shifter1 L1s 305    
7:20 2 EB 612 K4s 5418  
7:27 1 EB 8 ? I1s 3701 67-0 6,175
7:27 2 EB CG-8 I1s 4256 56-0 1,680
7:30 4 WB Engine I1s 4494    
7:40 2 EB ED-4 M1 6907 66-0 3,300
7:43 4 WB VL-7 M1 6878 18-78 3,150
7:53 3 WB 33 The St. Louisan K4s 3884
K4s 7274
 
7:53 4 WB VC-1 M1 6918 67-3 3,889
7:58 2 EB VL-20 I1s 4507 59-0 3,125
8:02 1 EB B-ORE I1s 4414 57-0 5,400
8:04 3 WB DM I1s 4503 Light
8:11 3 WB Engines I1s 4391
I1s 982
Light
8:10 4 WB Engine I1sa 4490 Light
8:22 4 WB CW M1 6929 18-64 2,850
8:25 2 EB 18 M1 6861  
8:28 4 WB Engines I1s 4421
I1s 4431
Light
8:30 1 EB BF-16
NY-14
L1s 3281 91-16 5,010
8:31 2 EB OS-4 I1s 4341 65-0 3,900
8:32 4 WB NY H9s 3599
H9s 3595
0-20 400
8:33 3 WB Engines I1s 3709
I1s 4365
Light
8:42 3 WB NY-1 M1 6890 41-19 1,849
8:49 2 EB PNE-8 L1s 26 86-0 4,490
8:54 4 WB Engines I1sa 4482
I1s 4429
Light
8:58 1 EB SO-B I1sa 4232 83-0 6,500
9:00 4 WB Engines I1s 4526
I1s 6330
Light
9:04 4 WB Engines I1s 4529
I1sa 1284
Light
9:10 4 WB Engine I1s 3718 Light
9:04 2 EB CE-8 I1sa 4363 81-0 4,285
9:10 1 EB SH-4 I1s 4595 83-0 6,047
9:23 4 WB Engine I1s 4532 Light
9:32 3 WB P-EX M1 6816  
9:33 4 WB Engines I1s 4319
I1s 3204
Light
9:35 1 EB B-ORE I1s 4252 53-0 5,400
9:38 4 WB Engine I1sa 3715 Light
9:40 3 WB PG-5 M1 6941 27-1 1,287
9:44 4 WB Engines I1s 4325
I1s 4321
Light
9:51 2 EB AVL-8 I1s 4416 65-0 3,365
9:52 4 WB Engines I1s 4380
I1s 1728
Light
10:02 4 WB Engines I1s 4328
I1sa 4393
Light
10:13 3 WB 5 Pennsylvania Limited K4s 8242
K4s 5403
 
10:16 1 EB B-ORE I1s 4360 55-0 5,400
10:26 1 EB ACS-8 I1s 4347 63-0 2,890
10:26 2 EB PG-14 I1s 735 19-7 1,300
10:28 4 WB Engines I1s 3445
I1s 3666
Light
10:36 2 EB 652 K4s 1522  
10:39 4 WB Engines L1s 546
I1s 3719
Light
10:42 3 WB 71 K4s 949  
10:48 1 EB OS-14 I1s 4356 50-0 2,750
10:55 4 WB Engines I1s 4573
I1sa 4528
Light
10:57 2 EB 52 The New Yorker M1 6853
11:02 4 WB 49 The General K4s 5459
11:09 2 EB OS-2 I1s 4289 53-0 3,655
11:14 2 EB WS-4 M1 6903 54-0 3,150
11:14 4 WB A-CE-1 L1s 1386 51-9 3,074
11:16 1 EB OS-4B I1sa 4502 90-0 5,400
11:28 3 WB 69 The Red Arrow K4s 3884
K4s 3746
11:32 1 EB SO-B I1s 4272 79-0 6,500
11:34 3 WB 41 Cincinnati Limited K4s 623
K4s 3858
11:44 4 WB NL-1 I1sa 3712 84-5 3,900
11:46 1 EB AK-8 L1s 4031 34-29 2,450
11:52 3 WB 59 K4s 3880
K4s 5341
11:55 4 WB Engine I1s 4460 Light