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.
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The Pennsy had 550 class R50b high speed express reefers, numbered 2551-3100. They were 54'6" long and rode on PRR standard 4-wheel cast steel passenger trucks, class 2D-P5. When not needed for refrigerator duties, express reefers often carried dry express shipments. One unit is preserved at the Railroaders Memorial Museum in Altoona, PA.
The Pennsy also had 36 class R60 63' reefers, built by ACF in 1913. Car and load could not exceed 140,000 pounds. Ice capacity was 184 cu. ft.
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Iron ore travelled on the PRR from the inception of the steel industry. Until the 1940's, when the import of ore made any significant impact, the majority of the ore came from the Misabe range of Minnesota and was shipped via boat on the Great Lakes to eastern ports.
Until the arrival of cars specifically designed for the weight of iron ore -- the G38's and G39's circa 1960 -- almost any class of hopper came into use. H21a's were the most prevalent on the system, followed by GLa's.
Since iron ore was significantly heavier than coal, these hoppers could only manage one "scoop" of ore placed directly over each truck. This is why photos of ore in hopper cars make the cars look like they are largely empty. Filling the car or loading the center of longer cars would cause the car to buckle under the load! (An overhead view of an iron ore-loaded H21a appears on page 70 of Pennsy Steam Years, Volume I.)
Ken McCorry wrote "The H-21 class was the biggest on the PRR until the H-39 came along in 1960. Since the import ore business started in Phila in 1954 my educated guess would be H-21'a , GLa, H-31, H-35. The PRR knew the H-21 fleet was close to the end of it's economic life in the early 50's. They built or purchased the H-35 in 1956 as a possible replacement for the H-21 fleet. The H-36 and H-37 class were also built as a possible replacement. While most railroads would build a few cars for a test the PRR did it in a big way buying 1000-1500 of some of the pre H-39 classes. By the end of the 50's the 70 ton car was the norm and the H-39 became the replacement for the H-21. The ore business also showed the weakness of hopper doors keeping ore inside the car so thats one of the reasons the G-38's were built. When pellets became the norm the steam lance holes in the 38's would leak a steady stream of pellets along the right of way. The G-38 also cubed out with pellets before it weighed out therefore the G-39 class.
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The P70 was the first of the Pennsy's 80-foot all-steel coaches. Over 1,000 of the cars were built by Altoona and several other car builders between 1907 and 1929. The early cars featured 88 seats, but as of 1926 they were built with 80 seats. Depending on the builder, some vestibule door windows were one solid panel where others had a vertical divider. A group of cars built by American Car & Foundry had larger vestibule windows.
The "P" prefix designates a "passenger" car -- a coach specifically -- and does not include "passenger baggage" (PB), "passenger baggage mail" (PBM), "cafe" (PC), or "electric cars and trailers" (MP).
The "70" designates the length of the passenger compartment. The P70 series was an 80-foot car less two vestibules leaving a 70 foot passenger compartment.
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