PRR Fleet of Modernism (1938-1947) integrated discussion

23060 views
128 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 16,411 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, October 27, 2019 3:18 AM

Jones1945, way back on this thread you gave the 1946 total number of passenger service cars for the PRR as 3416.   Did that include MU electrics and doodlebugs?

  • Member since
    April 2018
  • 1,450 posts
Posted by Jones1945 on Sunday, October 27, 2019 11:51 PM

daveklepper

Jones1945, way back on this thread you gave the 1946 total number of passenger service cars for the PRR as 3416.   Did that include MU electrics and doodlebugs? 

daveklepper, I am going to post the source if I can find it in my archive. IIRC it is a chart will brief detail.  

  • Member since
    April 2018
  • 1,450 posts
Posted by Jones1945 on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 12:58 AM

daveklepper

Jones1945, way back on this thread you gave the 1946 total number of passenger service cars for the PRR as 3416.   Did that include MU electrics and doodlebugs?

Dave, this is the only source of that figure I can find:

  • Member since
    April 2018
  • 1,450 posts
Posted by Jones1945 on Wednesday, January 29, 2020 8:11 PM

1


 

 

 

2


 

 

3


 

 

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 11,650 posts
Posted by Overmod on Thursday, January 30, 2020 9:59 AM

Highly amused at the relative time of the two trains, and the very different approach to handling them.

NYC sends the train out early -- really, as early as possible given the fixed time of the Century's departure -- and runs the thing on accelerated Century time (compare the number of stops and dwell involved for the coach train vs. the Century, and the added time doubtless involved in transiting Cleveland with a couple of engine changes) to get in with under-16-hour running (net of the time change).  

Then look how carefully the prose is crafted to draw the eye away from how slow the PRR train was, both as carded and as run.  It would be interesting to see what power PRR used west of Harrisburg on this train ... and I note that even with the longer time, PRR was carrying substantially fewer passengers, by what looks suspiciously like a full coach-load or more.

Anyone have the comparison timings for the two trains in the postwar years from late 1945 to about mid-1947?  Or any west-end timing splits using the S1 or S2 as power?

  • Member since
    April 2018
  • 1,450 posts
Posted by Jones1945 on Thursday, January 30, 2020 9:44 PM

Overmod

Highly amused at the relative time of the two trains, and the very different approach to handling them.

NYC sends the train out early -- really, as early as possible given the fixed time of the Century's departure -- and runs the thing on accelerated Century time (compare the number of stops and dwell involved for the coach train vs. the Century, and the added time doubtless involved in transiting Cleveland with a couple of engine changes) to get in with under-16-hour running (net of the time change).  

Then look how carefully the prose is crafted to draw the eye away from how slow the PRR train was, both as carded and as run.  It would be interesting to see what power PRR used west of Harrisburg on this train ... and I note that even with the longer time, PRR was carrying substantially fewer passengers, by what looks suspiciously like a full coach-load or more.

Compelling indeed! Not only the Pacemaker of NYC leaving earlier but the total running time was at least one hour shorter than the Trail Blazer of PRR, but surprisingly the Trail Blazer carried about 10% more passenger than the Pacemaker at least in the first two years (132000:114000 in 1st Year, 175000:167000 in 2nd Year) in contrast to the maiden run (July 28, 1939) of both trains (385:350 Westbound, 285:240 Eastbound)!

The NYC used heavyweight/betterment cars on the Pacemaker but provide a faster schedule. The PRR exclusively constructed at least two completely "new" consists for the Trail Blazer with rebuilt betterment cars but a little bit slower schedule compared to the NYC all-coach train. I think both trains were doing great during WWII but I do want to know which one carried more passengers after July 1941. I have seen 14-car consist of Trail Blazer in photographs but hardly can find a photo of the Pacemaker. I probably need to spend more time on NYCRR's book or people put more focus on the Century train.

Overmod
Anyone have the comparison timings for the two trains in the postwar years from late 1945 to about mid-1947?  Or any west-end timing splits using the S1 or S2 as power?

I want to know as well! In the early postwar years, it was the PRR T1, streamlined or poppet valve-geared K4s #5399 "fighting against" NYC's S-1/S-2 or destreamlined Hudsons. Very romantic in American railroading history when the countries best or newest machine competing for the same market. The westbound schedule of Trail Blazer shortened to 15hrs 30mins in the early 1950s. 

 

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 11,650 posts
Posted by Overmod on Friday, January 31, 2020 11:51 AM

Jones1945
Compelling indeed! Not only the Pacemaker of NYC leaving earlier but the total running time was at least one hour shorter than the Trail Blazer of PRR,,,

It was pretty clear to me that there were folks at the Central who were 'in tune' with the spirit of that first eastbound run of the second Super Chief consist...

Not only did they cut their little publicity show short about as soon as every seat was filled ... they ran the thing artificially fast en route.  Doubtless to 'make the news' with a timing that would stick in people's minds as what to expect when they took the production train...

... In the early postwar years, it was the PRR T1, streamlined or poppet valve-geared K4s #5399 "fighting against" NYC's S-1/S-2 or destreamlined Hudsons.

Much more likely that it was doubleheaded K4s competing against J3as and Niagaras, a great deal of the time.  It is hard to beat an 80"-drivered twelve-coupled articulated unless your railroad supports very long stretches of sustained high speed...

Now, I am tempted to wonder what two K4s rebuilt by Lima with poppets and vastly-improved superheaters might have done if balanced and suspension-modified to make T1-comparable (or at least N&W J-comparable) speed.  Of course we know that would rapidly become self-defeating with the great majority of PRR's coaches...

Very romantic in American railroading history when the countries best or newest machine competing for the same market.

Except that everyone by that point knew true high speed was essentially synonymous with Diesels and motor trains by that point.  NYC recognized this very early, first with Dieseliners and then with the time reductions that only diesels made possible -- even a C1a with no fuel stop would find a 15h45' carding difficult.  PRR recognized it too, but had trouble getting diesels that would stand the required pace on the existing ROW.  And by the time they did... it was essentially 'game over' as the game was worth playing.  The 1958 Broadway proved that dramatically if it had not been fully clear before.

The westbound schedule of Trail Blazer shortened to 15hrs 30mins in the early 1950s. 

Remember that this would include an hour for the time change; what was the eastbound carding?  Even so, you'd likely only achieve this practically with diesels or the equivalent.

  • Member since
    April 2018
  • 1,450 posts
Posted by Jones1945 on Saturday, February 1, 2020 1:25 AM

Overmod

 

It was pretty clear to me that there were folks at the Central who were 'in tune' with the spirit of that first eastbound run of the second Super Chief consist...

Not only did they cut their little publicity show short about as soon as every seat was filled ... they ran the thing artificially fast en route.  Doubtless to 'make the news' with a timing that would stick in people's minds as what to expect when they took the production train...

Amazing info! I am not familiar with ATSF's streamliner, thus I didn't know that the second lightweight Super Chief's first eastbound run was one year after they entered service. Many say the inauguration of the PRR Trail Blazer caught the management of New York Central off guard, but it seems to me that the leader of the Green Team (well the Pacemaker consist was painted in two tones "Pacemaker Green" in this case) reacted briskly. Maybe they were calculating and manipulative but these are essential characters of outstanding enterprisers. Good game well played, but the Green Team failed to turn the table for the Pacemaker, at least for the first two years.

Imagine how many railfan was actually looking for the 2nd Super Chief consist instead of the "old-school heavyweight" temporary consist of the Pacemaker but the folks were included in the publicity "hype" by the media, including the article in the Railway Age. Let alone we would never know how many patrons were "invited" by both RRs to take the first train (and get off the next station!) for free, how many journalists were "invited" to write an article about both trains and to not mentioning their shortcomings.

Money was tight for both teams, the establishment of the PRR's Fleet of Modernism involved a lot of good looking betterment cars, rebuilt or repainted of heavyweight equipment, which helped PRR to save tons of money. It was a smart investment, and it was smart to not inform NYCRR about the new all-coach train until the last minute. I believe that if NYCRR had enough time, they would have ordered new cars and created something like the Empire State Express; in fact,  NYC assigned about new 6 lightweight coaches constructed by Pressed Steel Car Company once the all-coach streamliner was proven a success.

It seems that the customer didn't really care about how "fast" the Pacemaker was, because it was an overnight train! The schedule of the Trail Blazer actually let the passenger had more time to sleep and have breakfast before getting off the train! Yes, one more hour to have breakfast and dress up! This was a win-win situation for the patron and PRR. IIRC I have seen the menu of breakfast on the 1939 version Trail Blazer but I need to confirm that, if it wasn't available in the dining car (I can't see why not), it should be the lounge car provided it. 

 

 

 

 

D70ER, D70CR, the Twin Unit Diner. 

 

Overmod

Much more likely that it was doubleheaded K4s competing against J3as and Niagaras, a great deal of the time.  It is hard to beat an 80"-drivered twelve-coupled articulated unless your railroad supports very long stretches of sustained high speed...

Now, I am tempted to wonder what two K4s rebuilt by Lima with poppets and vastly-improved superheaters might have done if balanced and suspension-modified to make T1-comparable (or at least N&W J-comparable) speed.  Of course we know that would rapidly become self-defeating with the great majority of PRR's coaches...

 

There is a video on YouTube showing the Jeffersonian powered by streamlined K4s doubleheaded with the unstreamlined one, very cool to see the doubleheaded K4s traveling at 90mph with 14 heavyweight betterment cars behind. 

Doubleheaded K4s ("4-6-2-4-6-2"?) was common even after all T1s were put into service but I did find some photos of the "poppet valve geared" #5399 hauling the Trail Blazer alone in different time period, maybe she was handling the sections of Trail Blazer (Could be as short as 9 cars).IIRC the #5399 could handle 1000 tons train alone and hit 93mph.  But outside the PRR race track between Crestline and Fort Wayne, the average speed of the trains was slow enough to let the passenger sleep, until the passenger saw the GG1 or sunlight...

Other guests including the PRR S2 direct-drive steam turbine and T1 prototype. I almost forgot that the PRR S2 was also another engine that could replace doubleheaded K4s on heavy trains! 1945 was the best year for me, S1, S2, T1 prototype could be found powering Chicago's crack trains. 

K4s leading the Trail Blazer:
 
 
 
 

Eastbound was 15hrs 25mins in 1952, the Pacemaker was the same, thanks to the magic power of diesel. EMC promised a solid 15 hours schedule for the proposed dieselized Broadway Limited as early as 1936. I have heard that if NYCRR pushing the limit of the diesel, 14 hours is possible on the Water Level Route.

If parallel universe is a fact not theory, PRR accepted the offer from EMC and operated the Broadway Limited with EMC E units in at least one "alternative universe". That might have boosted the ridership dramatically but we probably will never know! I think EMC's rendering of PRR's diesel engine was quite attractive...

   

We got the "Train of Tomorrow", but how about the "Track of Tomorrow"?

  • Member since
    April 2018
  • 1,450 posts
Posted by Jones1945 on Monday, February 3, 2020 7:47 AM

Feb 2020: Base on information provided by Coach Yard and photo evidence from Hagley internet archive. Updated the total number of betterment cars with individual car numbers provided on the front page of this post.

 

21---PRR-built lightweight and rebuilt cars for the Broadway Limited (1937)

2----Class BM70nb Mail car Nos.6529,8616 (For the Broadway Limited)

2----Class B70 Baggage car Nos.6051,6054 (For the Broadway Limited)

2----D70 Dining car Nos.8018, ? (For the Broadway Limited)

66---P70kr 56 seats coach Nos.4244-4309 (1940)

50---P70gsr 68 seat coach Nos.4194-4243 (Single Windows, May-July 1942)

50---P70gsr 56 seats coach Nos.4310-4359 (Paired Windows, May-July 1942) 

46---Betterment Pullman HW Sleepers (July 1939 – Jan 1940)

3---- *D70dr Dormitory-Kitchen HW Nos.8019,8021,8023,8025

6---- *D70cr Full Dining Car HW Nos.8020,8022,8024,8026, 8028, 8034

2---- *D70er Kitchen-Lunch Counter Car HW Nos.8027,8033

2---- D70asr Nos.4439, 4457

1---- PLC70r Lounge-cafe 

2---- PB70e Baggage-buffet #4931, 4950

9---- POC70r Conversion of P70s to observation cars Nos. 1120-1125,1131,?,?

3---- PB70f Combine Coach-baggage (Nos.5100-5112)

3---- PDB70r, PDB70ar, PDB70a Convert of PB70 to Combine lounge/dormitory/baggage cars Nos.6704-6706

3-----Conversion of PB70 combines to PB36

*Twin Unit Dining Car 

Total: 273 approx.

SUBSCRIBER & MEMBER LOGIN

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

FREE NEWSLETTER SIGNUP

Get the Classic Trains twice-monthly newsletter