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Steam in Pennyslvania

Discussion in 'International Heritage Railways/Tramways' started by ADB968008, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Member Account Suspended

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    I have a long weekend coming up in the NYC area, and am planning a journey to see steam around Pennyslvania.
    a quick google shows many lines in PA state and in a radius of around 4 hours driving west of New York have come up with the following itiniery.. Bit of driving involved but I've done far worse before.

    Has anyone any experience of any of the lines below or other reccomendations in the area ?
    I plan to drop some pictures here of the next few days.

    Friday:

    1. Strasburg railroad..
    steam operated freight 630 am Friday morning, (connects with Canadian pacific and switches wagons to their line for local onward transfer by road).. Yes its a regular scheduled revenue earning freight train hauled by steam.

    Strasburg Rail Road - Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

    The website shows some impressive engineering.. 4 new build Thomas tank engines, subsequently sold on around the US. 1 new build from photgraphs.. No existing drawings..and several large contract jobs.

    This location also has on its premises:

    2. Pennyslvania railroad museum
    claims to have a steam loconotive that ran at 127 mph, faster than Mallard amongst its large collection

    RR Museum of PA :: Welcome

    3. Harrisburg Tower (signal box), and restored GG1 at the station
    NRHS - Harrisburg Chapter

    Saturday:

    4. Reading Northern's depot at Port Clinton (passing visit not sure what can be seen, but 2 steam locos are on the roster)
    RBMN

    5. Jim Thorpe (the town not a person) and the Lehigh Valley Railroad.. Diesel hauled but very scenic.
    LGSRY

    6. New hope and ivy land railroad
    steam operated shortline
    https://www.newhoperailroad.com/index.cfm

    Sunday:
    7. Whippany Railroad Museum
    Several static exhibits and restored station
    Whippany Railway Museum | Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, & Excursion Train Rides

    8. Steamtown Scranton
    well known round house and large collection of locos

    Steamtown National Historic Site - Steamtown National Historic Site

    9. Back to Newark and fly home Sunday night Get ready for WSR and GCR!

    Any advice, tips from anyone who's been there and done it in this area is appreciated.
     
  2. polmadie

    polmadie Member

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    Nice museum with plenty to see. In Amish country and nearby is an Amish museum. If you haven't noticed yet it is near to the town of Intercourse.
     
  3. ianh

    ianh New Member

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    Try to get over to the East Broad Top- it will not be running but it is a fascinating place to walk around.
     
  4. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Member Account Suspended

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    I had wondered about this, looks like it used to be an excellant line and then shut down, any ideas what happened ?
    Is any part of shed etc open or is it all locked up ?
     
  5. ianh

    ianh New Member

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    Not sure - even just driving round the locations is fascinating - rows of bogie hoppers with trees growing through. not sure re the situation at the depot, things are still happening just no trains running this year...
     
  6. marshall5

    marshall5 Well-Known Member

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    The Friends of the EBT are having a re-union there 5-7 Oct with lots of activities and diesel hauled train. Hope this helps.Ray.
     
  7. garth manor

    garth manor Member

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    Strasburg is a very professional operation, the shops perform repairs for other roads including n.g., and if you ask nicely full access will be given, although its a short line there are numerous photo opportunities to work up including Amish infrastructure although they of course do not wish to be in shot, it attracts plenty of tour groups hence schedule, nice model shop. The tower provides a back drop to the run around. Certainly a must on east coast, unlike some tourist operations this is not one where the only loco might be subbed by a GP9, they maintain to a high standard.
    The PRR museum across the country road is separate and is big, if you want to see everything inside and out then at least 2 hours is required, a wonderful museum covering what was a very important railroad.
    Lancaster is one of the weekend destinations at this time of year, fall colors etc, massive amount of factory shops, motels booked out, prices up, so avoid weekends generally.
    The EBT is an example of the different approach to preservation across the pond, the Kovalchick owners who came by it through being the scrappers and the preservationists who effectively leased and operated it have failed to renew their agreement so its in limbo, whilst it is absolutely fascinating on a brief visit and no guarantee of what you will see, given the distances, hard to recommend given some "live" alternatives.
     
  8. huochemi

    huochemi Well-Known Member Friend

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    Perhaps you can find out what is happening to K4 1361? This sad tale makes the Flying Scotsman overhaul look like a model of project management.
     
  9. odc

    odc New Member

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    Last I heard the K1 is being transported back to Altoona in bits and will be reassembled as a static exhibit
     
  10. marcus

    marcus New Member

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    I used to work on the West Somerset Railway but now live in NJ very close to Philadelphia. I was at Strasburg a few weeks ago and it has the feel a bit of the P&D to me - a tourist attraction that runs steam engines - rather than a preserved railway as we run in the UK. I am sure I have been spoilt by years at the WSR! I do agree that the works looks impressive. I did the tour round there nearly 10 years ago but wan't able to do it this most recent trip as it was just me and my 7 year old daughter. The PRR museum is also very good from memory of my visit 10 years back.

    Driving out there recently it was much closer than I remember - I guess 10 years of living in the USA makes distances seem much shorter (I am driving to Nashville in a few weeks and that will be about 12 hours all told!) I really should go to the PRR museum again and I had not heard of the freight train either.
     
  11. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Member Account Suspended

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    I visited Strasburg today and was very impressed. Arrived 5am place in darkness (I mean black out) plus mist and rain.. felt a bit like arriving in Amityville.
    Around 530am I heard 90 ( a 2-10-0) pull off the shed and prepare a caboose (to which around a dozen people came from out of the cornfields and a few climbed on board).
    At 630am We were pushed back to the junction with Amtrak where the loco detached and went onto the Conrail line to collect 6 wagons,
    The wagons were carrying: 1x Lumber (wood), 1 x Fuel oil, 1x Corn, 3x Grain, approx 1000 tons... yes thats around 20 fully loaded Mark 1s..

    The 2-10-0 then reversed back on to the caboose, and headed for Strasburg around 7.30am.
    Between 8am and 9am the 2-10-0 shunted the wagons to the awaiting road hauliers, starting with a grain hopper then the fuel oil.

    From 9.30-1030 the loco went for servicing before returning to shunt the passenger stock.
    I joined the 12pm train, 8 coaches... all immaculately restored inside and out.
    Canadian National 89 (2-8-0) had been pulled from the shed and Norfolk and Western 475 (4-8-0) was still in shed, with their scratch built Thomas.
    The line also had 7312 (0-6-0) undergoing overhaul which should be ready for next year.

    Impressed with their workshop kit and overhead cranes and the high standard of restoration there.
    Definitely I would reccomend a visit.

    IMG_7151.JPG
    IMG_7181.JPG SS1.jpg
    With the intial mist and rain, low light I thought I wasnt going to get anything worthwhile.. beyond the loco is the mainline which had several electric hauled commuters running past at high speed, I wonder their thoughts on seeing a 2-10-0 on a freight train heading for the branch ?
    IMG_7226.JPG S1590130.JPG IMG_7263.JPG IMG_7258.JPG IMG_7388.JPG
    IMG_7382.JPG
    Would you get away with this coach name in the UK ?

    IMG_7362.JPG

    Job Done.. for the wagon it's empty and the loco is onto the passenger stock
    IMG_7320.JPG IMG_7414.JPG IMG_7388.JPG IMG_7368.JPG IMG_7400.JPG
    Next to the line is the Caboose Motel.. a hotel with around 40-50 cabooses each painted for a different rail road, each caboose is a room which can be rented !!!
    S1590190.JPG

    Heres some pictures below.
     
  12. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Member Account Suspended

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    Ordinarily after a day like today at Strasburg, another railway musuem so close would be a hard act to follow, but the Pennyslvania Railroad musuem is equally fantastic and just across the street.
    It is a great collection of Pennyslvania Railroad locomotives (not a collection of whatever from where ever) and as such tells a great story of PA railroads.
    I have learnt a great deal in here today

    Brilliant layout of the collection, much like Shildon in the UK, although from outside it does look "warehouse" inside the feel is much more railroad orientated. (If only there was more like this in the UK).
    The collection was considerable and covered many aspects of railroading, though it would be nice to see less coaches and more locos around the turntable outside.

    I had no idea the scale of PA railroad operations or the variety of the fleet.
    Heres a few pictures below.

    IMG_7295.JPG

    So for those not in the know, the PARR claim is that this locomotive on June 12th 1905, ran at over 127mph thus surpassing that of 4468 Mallard.
    Considering by the time of the worlds fair in 1939 (at the time of the US tour by LMS 6229 Duchess of Hamilton as 6220 Coronation) the real 7002 had been scrapped, and the historical significance of this locomotive not only missed.. but forgotten and not noticed by the railway press following Mallards feats in 1938..
    This locomotive is actually 8063 and was renumbered 7002 specifically for the world fair of 1939 and retained it since.

    I leave it to debate.

    IMG_7297.JPG

    Also a product of 1939 is a replica of John Bull, a Robert Stephenson built locomotive of 1830 (1 year after rainhill) and exported to the US. The real one had been preserved and retired long since before 1939, however the real one remains the oldest original locomotive to operate as it was resteamed for it's 150th anniversary, and outliving the replica !

    IMG_7299.JPG IMG_7300.JPG IMG_7306.JPG S1590154.JPG S1590157.JPG S1590160.JPG S1590143.JPG S1590166.JPG
    The sheer size of some of these larger locomotives on the PA Rail road is impressive, yet still the passenger types for commuting were surprisingly familar wheel arrangements like 4-6-0s.
    After an interesting chat today I am interested to know more an the K4 class it seems to be on a few peoples popular lists.
     
  13. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Member Account Suspended

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    early morning drive to Reading Northerns Railroad facility at Port Clinton, this is a rural village off the side of a highway. The depot itself isnt easily visible, and obviously not public) but i managed one shot from a distance.
    Continued on to "Jim Thorpe" a town formerly known as Mauch Chunk that renamed itself after a famous Olympic Athlete in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, in an attempt to re-invigourate a failing tourist economy.
    The Reading Northern railroad operates a tourist line up the Lehigh Gorge for approx 16 miles along the river and features some interesting mountain scenery and the line has a rather sharp horse shoe bend.
    Painted especially for the railway is one of Reading Northerns SD50 diesels, number 426 (1 higher than the steam locomotive 425), which is formerly RNRR 5033 and Prior to that Union Pacific 5033.

    The line itself is an openly commericial operation, operated by a commerical railroad, the difference in quality stands out to that of the strasburg railroad. It is none the less a worthwhile ride, even if it is not steam hauled currently (RNRR has a steam locomotive under overhaul for this line).

    It is interesting to note how US lines brand their identities on their stock, much as commericial operators do, where as in the UK we tend to retain original paint schemes.

    Port Clinton, PA:

    IMG_7465.JPG IMG_7473.JPG

    Jim Thorpe Station and 426, also passing Reading Northern number 2000 (SD38) stabled in the yard.
    (Note the disused former telegraph poles which ran along the line, and in the lower competing Jersey Central trackbed alongside).

    IMG_7491.JPG IMG_7496.JPG S1600019.JPG S1600026.JPG S1600054.JPG
     
  14. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Member Account Suspended

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    New Hope and Ivy Town Railroad, located right on the Delaware river, where in the middle of the girder bridge is the demarcation between New Jersey and Pennyslvania states.
    The town is obviously very popular with tourists and has a lot of historic buildings.

    The line is quite long and is a commerical shortline working with freight, as well as a 4.5 mile preserved steam operation (run by enthusiasts).
    The line has 1 operational locomotive No 40 (a Baldwin 2-8-0) which was formerly on the Lancaster and Chester Railroad (thousands of miles away in the Carolinas).
    Under restoration is a Canadian National 4-6-0 Number 264, which was looking somewhat at an early stage of overhaul.
    The line also has several diesels SD40, GP30, C30-7.

    The line has quite some gradient from the station and immediately passes over the river on a wooden bridge and continues to climb.
    The staff here were amazingly friendly and were great to chat to.


    IMG_7565.JPG S1600147.JPG S1600140.JPG S1600083.JPG IMG_7611.JPG IMG_7587.JPG IMG_7581.JPG

    One major bonus to any UK rail enthusiast is for $40 (£25).. you get to do the line from the footplate !

    S1600120.JPG S1600122.JPG

    How would a GW loco handle these lumps of coal (and ash !)

    S1600126.JPG

    Finally the line has a massive 4-6-4 from the National Railways of Mexico, which they plan to some day overhaul to mainline condition.
    IMG_7620.JPG
     
  15. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    Love the pictures - thanks. Its a pity that no modern PRR passenger steam loco survived, but that seems to have been the story from most US lines.
    More on the K4 here - at least two of them survived, but they have not been too active lately.
     
  16. polmadie

    polmadie Member

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    4-8-4
     
  17. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Member Account Suspended

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    Went to Scranton today, will post pictures after I get back to London.
    the k4 has gone, apparently part ( I think he said frames) has gone to a company in Georgia for restoration, the rest to Altoona.
    The group apparently ran out of money and couldn't afford to complete it at Scranton, and Georgia is cheaper, but it is being restored.
    thats from some one on the pit in the round house.
     
  18. garth manor

    garth manor Member

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    The Alco has been at Hope for nearly 20 years with intermittent restoration having dropped its fire in 1966.

    Reading Northern has dabbled with steam for many years, I recall riding its Blue Mountain operation out of Temple about 25 years ago with pacific 425, and 2102 the T1 has been used on freight service in the past.

    Main line steam is very thin in comparison to here, those massive steam locos are so expensive to maintain.
     
  19. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Member Account Suspended

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    Strasburg quoted the restoration of no 90 2-10-0 at $750,000 and $25,000 annually for maintenace.
    although not a mainline loco it's price is probably comparable to the UK for an equivalent loco.

    New Hope reckoned $2mn for the 4-8-4 to go mainline.. Looking its current state, that could be similar for a UK pacific.
    I guess the difference is the number of mainline trips and the revenue earned.

    i was told a "boiler ticket" in the US is based around number of days operation ( I think he said 1472 or 1476 days or thereabouts)... That could give quite a long life to the loco on a weekend only operated line.

    I was trying to understand the quantity of Canadian locos making a home in the US Museums, and active, in predominance to US preserved ones ?, is this due to condition when acquired and maybe availability of Canadian types at the time ?..
     
  20. SG-Canada

    SG-Canada New Member

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    Availability mostly. Canadian steam hung on a bit longer than many US roads, so when individuals went out looking for Steam Locomotives to buy, what they could find were in Canadian deadlines. That's one of the reasons that the Blount Collection that founded Steamtown when it was a private collection had so many Canadian Locomotives.

    And the FRA inspection is 1,472 Days, but a 15 year maximum within the rules. If you want a read on the US Regulations go here, but be warned, it's long... .http://www.steamcentral.com/documents/49cfr230.pdf

    Relevant Extract:

    Apologies for any thread jacking, looks like you've had quite the trip around the east.

    -Stephen
     

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