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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GE 44 Ton, Class GS4 / GS4m

The GE 44-ton switcher is a 4-axle diesel-electric locomotive built by General Electric between 1940 and 1956. It was designed for industrial and light switching duties, often replacing steam locomotives that had previously been assigned these chores. This locomotive's specific 44-short ton weight was directly related to one of the efficiencies the new diesel locomotives offered compared to their steam counterparts: reduced labor intensity. In the 1940s, the steam to diesel transition was in its infancy in North America, and railroad unions were trying to protect the locomotive fireman jobs that were redundant with diesel units. One measure taken to this end was the 1937 so-called "90,000 Pound Rule", a stipulation that locomotives weighing 90,000 pounds  – 45 short tons – or more required a fireman in addition to an engineer on common carrier railroads. Industrial and military railroads had no such stipulation. The 44-ton locomotive was born to skirt this requirement. Other manufacturers also built 44-ton switchers of center-cab configuration. 276 examples of this locomotive were built for U. S. railroads and industrial concerns, four were exported to Australia in 1944, 10 were exported to Canada, 10 were exported to Cuba, one was exported to the Dominican Republic, five were exported to France, three were exported to India, six were exported to Mexico, five were exported to Saudi Arabia, one was exported to Sweden, two were exported to Trinidad, 10 were exported to Uruguay, and 57 were built for the U. S. Military.

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by Bob Reid

From Pennsy Journal, V1 #1.

One of the more unusual models of diesel road power on the Pennsy was the passenger sharks. In their final days on the Long Branch, they attracted more railfans from all over the country in a effort to capture on film their operation. Only the Baldwin Centipedes surpassed the passenger sharks in my interest of Pennsy diesel power.

As of 1900 (interpreted from Form CT1000), the Pennsylvania Railroad -- which did not include "Lines West of Pittsburgh" -- was organized into Grand Divisions, Divisions, and Railroads. Railroads represented in bold are included in the listings but are believed to be independent railroads (many are confirmed so).

PRR 677216 H25 MLC1939 600x160 grande

The Pennsy's fleet of H25 class hoppers were built between July 1919 and July 1923. In addition to the 3,000 built for the PRR, the Pennsy 2,287 of the same cars from private operators, including Emmons Coal Company, Bethlehem Steel Company, Pickens-Mather and Co., and Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co., bringing the total to 5,287. Other than 500 purchased from Emmons, all others were built by Cambria Steel in Johnstown, Pa.

The H25 differed subtly in appearance from the H21A, and was done so because of lessons learned from the H21, H22 and H24 class hopper cars. The cars were initially delivered with a "drop-door" arrangement, but by August 1928 conversions began to the more modern "saw tooth" arrangement. There were many more differences, particularly on the ends, which are discussed in John Teichmoeller's book, Pennsylvania Railroad Steel Open Top Hopper Cars.

As of 1923 (interpreted from Form CT1000), the Pennsylvania Railroad was organized into Regions, Divisions, and Railroads. Railroads represented in bold are included in the listings but are believed to be independent railroads (many are confirmed so).

Central Region data courtesy of Robert Netzlof. (Anyone have the Western Region?)

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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The Pennsylvania Railroad had operated a specially designed car constructed on a flat car. It's purpose was to accurately measure the distance above and/or adjacent to the tracks of bridges, tunnels, stations and rock cuts, etc.

The demaind for increased speed to shorten travel time in both present day industry and the business world has caused the railroad to provide more clearance for movement of equipment. The trend to larger equipment such as locomotives, passenger & freight cars and larger loads in open top cars has made the gathering of clearance information an area of growing importance. The Pennsylvania has spent millions of dollars to increase clerances for handling traffic. In the 1950s alone, the Panhandle Division tunnel project between Pittsburgh, Pa., and Dennision, Oh., cost over $8 million.

These are the paint schemes applied to the GG1 over the course of the Pennsy. The green was actually darker, but is shown light here in order to contrast with black.

Early Prototype Scheme
1934 PRR: Dark Green, block pinstriping, small number keystone

1934: 4899/4800 only. (unit changed numbers in this scheme)

Developed by the PRR, this scheme predates the Loewy design. A similar design was used on the R1 experimental.

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RAILC X 40b 3w

Over the years, many lettering "schemes" have graced the sides of the Pennsy's vast fleet of rolling stock used in freight revenue service. This is a brief summary of an article by Brady McGuire which originally appeared in the Summer 1988 (Vol.21 No.2) issue of The Keystone, published by the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society. I highly recommend referring to the original text which contained much more information, prototype photos as examples, and official painting and lettering diagrams.

For modeling purposes, please remember that a particular scheme could be seen well after the period indicated below for the scheme. The period indicated represents what scheme would be applied to a car if painted during the period in question. But many cars, especially gondolas, were rarely repainted. For instance, a Circle Keystone gondola might be seen well into the 1960s...or even today!

Lettering banners and slogans were periodic modifications to lettering schemes which were not tied to a specific scheme but rather to a type of service or concept. For example, "Merchandise Service" or "Buy War Bonds".

As of 1884 (interpreted from Form 76), the Pennsylvania Railroad -- which did not include "Lines West of Pittsburgh" -- was organized into Grand Divisions, Divisions, and Railroads. Railroads represented in bold are included in the listings but are believed to be independent railroads (many are confirmed so).

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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.]