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.

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).

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).

The following is a chronology of movements over a 24 hour period at the passenger station at Harrisburg, Pa. For my personal modeling purposes, I needed such a chronology of events. The date (September 26, 1954) was chosen as many of my reference materials have publish dates of 9/26/54.

The consists were derived from the public timetables. Where known, I substituted the Pennsy class designation in the consist listing.

There are many time differences between documents published on the same date. Where conflict occured, I opted for the data contained within the Employee Timetable.

To make this chronology more manageable, I split it into four pages: this Overview, and three "Tricks". A "trick" is synonymous with a work shift. Though the actual breakdown of tricks varied depending upon job title and locale, most ran 7 a.m.-3 p.m., first trick; 3 p.m.-11 p.m., second trick; and 11 p.m.-7 a.m., third trick.

Your feedback and corrections are appreciated. Enjoy!

Era & Train Manufacturer
1890's Pennsylvania Limited Westwood (wood and plastic kits)
1899 Pennsylvania Limited "Yellow Kid" Westerfield (resin kits)
1936 Broadway Limited The Coach Yard (brass)
1938 Broadway Limited Challenger Imports (brass; "Fleet of Modernism")
1938 Broadway Limited Oriental Limited (unpainted brass)
1938-41 Trail Blazer The Coach Yard (brass)
1938-41 The General The Coach Yard (brass)
1938-41 Spirit of St. Louis The Coach Yard (brass)
1940 (?) South Wind Challenger (brass; "Fleet of Modernism"; with streamlined K4s)
1940-41 MEC/B&M/NH/PRR East Wind Division Point (brass)
1941 Jeffersonian The Coach Yard (brass)
1948 Broadway Limited Oriental Limited (unpainted brass)
1948 Broadway Limited S. Soho & Co. (unpainted brass)
1948 Broadway Limited Lambert (unpainted brass)
1952 Senator Challenger Imports (brass)
1952 Congressional Challenger Imports (brass)
1952 Liberty Limited Challenger Imports (brass)
1953 Broadway Limited Walthers (plastic)
1956 AeroTrain Con Cor (plastic)
1956 AeroTrain Railworks (brass)
1956 (?) Keystone Railworks (brass)
(?) Congressional S. Soho & Co. (unpainted brass)


Keystone Crossings was a web site published by Jerry Britton from 1997 through June of 2018. The site featured prototypic and modeling information relevant to the Pennsylvania Railroad and achieved a sort of "cult following" during its 21 years in operation.

My first exposure to the World Wide Web was in 1992. At the time, there were no graphical web browsers. Browsing was solely text based and I used a program called Lynx to get around. I started learning HTML programming and was responsible for the initial web presence of Elizabethtown College, my employer at the time.

Graphical browsers came along shortly thereafter, and by 1996 I had the itch to build something bigger. Rather than writing meaningless code, strictly for the sake of doing so, I wanted a "real" subject that I could build on. I chose the Pennsylvania Railroad, never expecting that it would take on a life of its own.

The initial Keystone Crossing site lived on America Online and consisted of about a dozen pages. Bruce Smith, Rob Schoenberg, and I seemed to have the only Pennsy sites out there at the time.

Andy Miller (PRR_Talk list) shares his thoughts on the HO scale Pullman Sleeper offered by Bachmann Spectrum:

I finally got a Bachmann Pullman today. Why does B do these things?? Its terribly frustrating to see them do such a fine job of mold making, include interiors, metal truck, lights, Kadee-compatible couplers; and then just ignore the prototype!

I did some research. This very rare car did exist. For those interested here's what I dug up in the Wayner reprint of the Pullman Co's 1950 list of cars:

PRR 120 JT

The Z74 series were the most common of the Pennsy's business cars. However, their history is also the most convoluted. Over their lives, individual cars were reclassified, renumbered, and renamed many times. To make matters worse, for the historian, names were often re-used among one or more physical cars. The following documentation represents a "best effort" to piece together the physical car histories. A number in parenthesis indicates the iteration of use of a specific car number.

In HO scale, Bachmann offers a "heavyweight observation" car that is actually an early era version of a PRR Z74 business car (no evaluation of sub-class offered).

Bob Johnson's comments, as coordinator of the archives of the PRRT&HS:

1 - As built in 1-1929 to 4-1929 the cars had no side ladders and had the end ladders on the right side of the ends as you stand facing the end of the car. The side sill steps at the ends were a two-step style.

2 - About 1932 some, but not all, R50B cars began to receive freight car safety appliances. This added side ladders, changed the side sill steps to a single-step type, moved the end ladders to the left side, moved the brake wheel, added a brake platform, added a platform above the end ladders, and modified many handholds.

3 - On 4-3-1940 a second handhold was added on the left end of the sides of R50B cars with freight car safety appliances, but not to cars that kept the original configuration.

4 - On 12-18-1942 the end details described in #2 above were made standard for all R50B cars. This made a new variation with full freight car safety appliances on the ends, but no side ladders. I haven't seen any photos of this variation.

5 - Beginning in 1952 the running boards and side ladders were removed.


Broadway Limited Imports has been a champion in providing HO scale modelers with a breadth of fine steam locomotives. Herein is a listing of classes and road numbers released to date (may not be complete).

Road numbers in bold are in my personal collection (or on order).

Class H10s, 2-8-0 Consolidation

8014, 8022, 8259, 8304, 8421, 9422, 9915

N8 cabin car 478119 side view2

The N8 was the final cabin car (caboose) built by the Pennsylvania Railroad. Two hundred examples were built between December 1950 and June 1951, numbered 478020 to 478219. Cars 478100 to 478219 featured inductive trainphone antennas and battery boxes. Approximately half of the fleet had electrical lighting.

Besides brass, the N8 is available as a kit or ready-to-run from Bowser. Decals have been available from Mount Vernon Shops.


The information presented following was cumulated from the January 1955 edition of the ORER (Official Railroad Equipment Register). The data pages for the Pennsylvania Railroad indicate that the data is current as of October 1, 1954.

Subclasses are tallied separately, with the exception of H21a, H21b, and H21e hopper cars which which were listed in different combinations, but combined here as "H21a & variants".

The list only takes into account equipment available for interchange, so does not include miscellaneous and maintenance of way equipment. 

The referenced HO scale models are listed based on how the cars are lettered... not what they best represent. Some cars show comments as to their appropriateness, while cars that have not been evaluated are followed by a "(?)". "(OOB)" indicates that the manufacturer is out of business.

My compilation shows a total fleet of 183,689 cars available for interchange, broken out by Box, Gondola, Stock, Coke, Hopper, and Flat car types.