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PRR Fleet of Modernism (1938-1947) integrated discussion

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Posted by Jones1945 on Sunday, March 7, 2021 4:15 AM

Thanks, Dave, I love your stories. Yes

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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, March 6, 2021 10:43 PM

Back then, those conductors also saw me on NY-Chicago sleeper trips.

I would not try something like this on Amtrak today.

Correction, it was an early lunch or a late breakfast, not dinner.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Saturday, March 6, 2021 8:43 PM

It sounds like the railroads were fairly tollerant of you game.  Unlike today's airlines, where if you don't complete a leg of your flight, they will cancel the rest of your trip including return flight, and may come after you with penalties.

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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, March 6, 2021 2:44 PM

The advantage of a Broadway Creek Duplex Room over a regular Roomett, without going to the cost of a Bedroom,. could compesate for the smoother ride, overall, on the Century.  But I don't recall having a problem with a good night's sleep on either train.  The trains with the problem for me were those with switching, both directions at Buffalo. and eastbound at Harrfisburg.  (Westbound, usually still awake and happy to go front and watch the engine change.)  Even that was just a minor problem, not a great reduction of the enjoyment of an overnight train ride.

The conductors Philadelphia -Harrisburg conductors seemed supportive of my game.  NY - Philly possibly less so.  My last ride using this plan was two or three days before the timetable change that dropped the Broadway.  On boarding at Lancaster. the conductor said, "Dave, go back (or forward?) to the first sleeper, and in Bedroom ? some friends are expecting you."  And indeed, two friends, I think Bob Presby and Ray Crapo. had a double bedroom, coming from Chicago, and expected me to join them.  But after the reversal at 30th Street, the new conductor said: "Mr. Klepper, you are not supposed to be ridiing in a sleeper, and I have to ask you to find a coach seat."  I promptly went to the diner and had my dinner, and one of my two friends joined me. 

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Posted by MidlandMike on Friday, March 5, 2021 10:24 PM

daveklepper
On Amtrak, the now-equipped with coaches and a sleeper-coach Broadway, westbound discharge and eastbound pick-up, would only handle NYC - Harrisburg and beyond.  I made frequent business trips NY - Lancaster. occasionally  buying a NY - Harrisburg round-trip and using it to an from Lancaster, where the Broadway did always stop.  And always enjoyed a  good meal.

Would the conductor lecture you about getting on or off at the unapproved station?

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, March 5, 2021 3:25 PM

Overmod
But as Juniatha pointed out, when you look at PRR's own promotional films you can see the general lack of what we'd consider general high-speed ride quality today.  

For those who haven't seen it, Juniatha referred to a 1946 PRR promo film called "Clear Track Ahead."  There's a sequence involving some cab shots of a PRR steam lcomotive, I don't know what kind, but you can plainly see the cab going bouncy-bouncy as the scenery whizzes by outside the window. 

The film's easily found on YouTube.

She also pointed out, and quite rightly, that at that time the Pennsy's obsession with 100 MPH passenger running was pretty illogical if that film was any indication of what the track conditions were like.  

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Posted by Jones1945 on Friday, March 5, 2021 11:11 AM

Overmod
But as Juniatha pointed out, when you look at PRR's own promotional films you can see the general lack of what we'd consider general high-speed ride quality today.  And the sources I've talked to over the years have mentioned that sleeping on parts of the PRR route could be a difficult thing if the constant motion didn't lull you.

No wonder why the Century had been leading the game until the 1950s...... Sleep well my dear "Standard Railroad of the World"...... Coffee

Tags: Sleep well
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Posted by Overmod on Friday, March 5, 2021 10:46 AM

I of course did not ride any of the PRR trains, and I doubt the PC trains, or the Amtrak trains replacing them, were at all representative of PRR track standards at least in the postwar '40s when higher speed came to matter.

But as Juniatha pointed out, when you look at PRR's own promotional films you can see the general lack of what we'd consider general high-speed ride quality today.  And the sources I've talked to over the years have mentioned that sleeping on parts of the PRR route could be a difficult thing if the constant motion didn't lull you.

If you look at lateral compliance in PRR trucks (at least before the late introduction of OSH in the early to mid '50s) and then think about how loaded Pullmans would behave over the Middle and Pittsburgh divisions...

I would cheerfully defer to Mr. Klepper or others who 'were there' and would understand well where particular ride motions were present and how they arose.

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Posted by Jones1945 on Friday, March 5, 2021 3:03 AM

Overmod
Twisting around Philadelphia, twitching along the Middle Division and over Horse Shoe, then whizzing across Ohio and Indiana as opposed to The Water Level Route -- You Can Sleep?

Was the Broadway route really that bad? Since I don't have first-hand experience, I inclined to not believing the "Water Level Route -- You Can Sleep" PR thing was a really big deal. You know Pennsy had a list of long-distance overnight trains served between New York and Chicago and used the same route as the Broadway, like the Manhattan Limited, Golden Arrow, Admiral, and the General which was considered a successful train in terms of ridership. Please enlighten me if I was wrong! 

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Posted by daveklepper on Friday, March 5, 2021 2:29 AM

Having been a patron of both trains, the Broadway into the Amtrak era and the rd until dwngraded to one catch-all Albany - Buffalo with through-car connections both ends, I can say that standards of food and service on both trains remained pretty good, and a lot better than most other LDs of both RR and others, the absolute worst being the NYCentral's downgraded Chicago - Detroit on-board service.

On Amtrak, the now-equipped with coaches and a sleeper-coach Broadway, westbound discharge and eastbound pick-up, would only handle NYC - Harrisburg and beyond.  I made frequent business trips NY - Lancaster. occasionally  buying a NY - Harrisburg round-trip and using it to an from Lancaster, where the Broadway did always stop.  And always enjoyed a  good meal.

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, March 4, 2021 7:37 PM

Jones1945
for people who wanted to enjoy a quiet long-distance overnight train ride, Broadway was the perfect train for them!

Twisting around Philadelphia, twitching along the Middle Division and over Horse Shoe, then whizzing across Ohio and Indiana as opposed to The Water Level Route -- You Can Sleep?

The real last laugh, and revenge in spades for the Liberty Limited (the advantage for which came via NYC's P&LE) was in 1958, when the Century got coaches and the 'smart set' went in droves to a PRR that knew exactly what mattered, and honestly tried.  Problem was that by then the smart set was giving way to the jet set, and nothing was going to work any more.

 

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Thursday, March 4, 2021 10:28 AM

The Broadway Limited was basically discontinued shortly after the Century was discontinued and the name was hung on the schedule of the General, right down to the number (48-49).

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, March 4, 2021 8:38 AM

Looking at Pacifics, the B&M had some great ones, built in the Hudson era, and also recall the Reading had some built as late as 1948, last used on PRSL trains and the last steam into 30th Street along with the K4s.

 

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, March 4, 2021 8:23 AM

Jones1945
Fascinating discussion, totally unexpected! I don't want to be nitpicky, Wayne, but you know the Broadway Limited ridership in 1938 was so low that it usually required only one single K4s to power the 9-car "lightweight" consist.

Oh, I heard about that, and it drove the Pennsy people crazy with envy!  The Broadway had everything the Century did in the way of comfort, appointments, food, fares, running times, you name it, but the Century always  got most of the high-end business.  

"What do they got that WE ain't got?"  

The Broadway got the last laugh, in a way.  The Century died in 1967 while the Broadway lasted into the Amtrak era, although obviously not the same train it was in years past.

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Posted by Jones1945 on Wednesday, March 3, 2021 9:16 PM

Fascinating discussion, totally unexpected! I don't want to be nitpicky, Wayne, but you know the Broadway Limited ridership in 1938 was so low that it usually required only one single K4s to power the 9-car "lightweight" consist. So it would have been a "race" between a 9-car train powered by a Pacific and a longer train (12-car?) powered by a Hudson. 

People who wanted to meet some new friends and looking for new business opportunities would definitely pick the 20th Century Limited; for people who wanted to enjoy a quiet long-distance overnight train ride, Broadway was the perfect train for them!

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, March 3, 2021 7:08 PM

Flintlock76
At any rate, what does it say to a potential customer when one railroad needs TWO locomotives to do a job that the competition only needs ONE for?

While the PRR's K4's were built in large numbers - they were not among the best of the Pacifics ever built.

Anecdote that my Father related from his first hand experiences between Baltimore and Washington on the B&O.  Scheduling out of DC created 'races' between B&O and PRR on the trains operating North of DC in many cases.  In the early 1920's the PRR trains with K4's would walk away from B&O trains and the Pacifics they were being operated with.  In 1927 the B&O took delivery of their 'President' Pacifics (engines named for the first 20 Presidents of the US).  With a President on the point, the B&O trains would walk the PRR's K4 led trains.  When electrification was implemented the PRR GG-1's beat anything and everything the B&O had - steam or diesel.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, March 3, 2021 3:04 PM

Overmod
They only needed about ONE AND A QUARTER worth of locomotives to do the job because, although obsolescent, those Pacifics were very good obsolescent.

Oh, I know, I know, and I'll be one happy guy if and when they get 1361 running again.  A classic!  

Well, Bennett Levin's involved last I heard, and if he's involved it'll get done.  

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, March 3, 2021 1:57 PM

You are right that looking forward from the engineer's view, the Century is on the left.  But if he is warching the race, it is from the obs at the rear, and the Century is on the right.   And I did it, saw it. but with La Grange products.   And I have to say, the Century did win, not by much, but it did win.  View from Moutain ?View or Tower View.  Enjoyed the Broadwat ride none the less.

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, March 3, 2021 1:02 PM

Flintlock76
At any rate, what does it say to a potential customer when one railroad needs TWO locomotives to do a job that the competition only needs ONE for?

They only needed about ONE AND A QUARTER worth of locomotives to do the job because, although obsolescent, those Pacifics were very good obsolescent.  The problem was that your standard railroad had standardized with almost 500 of them in just a little over 10 years, finishing just in time to miss the evolution of just about everything that made for true high-speed power... then concentrated the Depression-scarce improvement money largely on electrics that would never see Lines West.  So you had overkill economically justified in a number of ways -- we all know the right answer, which was essentially a '30s-balanced M1a, and we didn't quite get to the later right answer, which would have been an eight-driver duplex with the '48 mods, conjugation, and perhaps fast-acting traction control, but in the meantime you use up what you have, quantized as necessary.  

In addition, PRR -- while having the luxury of being able to discriminate snapping from helping -- had the interesting consequence of the relatively short but heavy grade in its Allegheny-divide crossing.  One could argue that since this was so obviously going to be addressed 'correctly' next after 1938 with extension of electrification, why bother with expensive new steam (aka 'where's my E8s Atlantic?' in a different context) why not be prepared to use that other ¾ of a locomotive you don't "need" most of the trip to provide the snapping without stopping -- think of it as an alternative to using expensive and frequently tetchy boosters or auxiliary locomotives...

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Posted by rcdrye on Wednesday, March 3, 2021 11:32 AM

And the Century is on the Broadway passenger's left leaving Englewood.

Englewood is inside Chicago's city limits added in 1889 as part of a bunch of annexations.  The station sat right on the boundary (S. State St) between the former townships of Lake and Hyde Park.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, March 3, 2021 11:01 AM

daveklepper

Flintlock:  Century on the right, not the left, leaving Englewood eastbound on the Broadway.

And, unless he is a railfan, why would the businessman inspect the head-end?

And post-WWII, what about a T1 vs. a Niagra?

 

Not purposely inspecting, but if he's looking out the window enjoying the ride he couldn't help but notice at some point.

Or, he could be waiting on the platform for the Broadway's arrival when the Century rolls in and gets a good look at it, they didn't always arrive at the same time.  Or depart at the same time, according to an article in the current "Classic Trains."  

Post-war?  Another matter.  And I'd love to see one of those races that never happened (Wink) between a T1 and a Niagara!

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, March 3, 2021 10:57 AM

Overmod
You really think a J-3a will out-accelerate two K4s in the speed range around Englewood?

Don't say it never happened.  

Besides, they weren't racing, remember?  Wink

At any rate, what does it say to a potential customer when one railroad needs TWO locomotives to do a job that the competition only needs ONE for?

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Wednesday, March 3, 2021 10:22 AM

I would hardly consider Englewood (roughly 63rd & State) to be a suburban stop, being well within the city limits.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, March 3, 2021 8:30 AM

Flintlock:  Century on the right, not the left, leaving Englewood eastbound on the Broadway.

And, unless he is a railfan, why would the businessman inspect the head-end?

And post-WWII, what about a T1 vs. a Niagra?

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, March 3, 2021 7:10 AM

Flintlock76
And that Dreyfuss Hudson beats your train in the Englewood drag race!

You really think a J-3a will out-accelerate two K4s in the speed range around Englewood?

It might, if NYC thought they were racing but the PRR crews missed the memo or had an inconvenient RFE or other weasel riding that day. At least one story in Trains had doubleheader K4s reaching their practical highest speed in the low 90s without great difficulty -- they neither rode nor guided well at that speed, but could get there... and the track in the Englewood speedway is relatively level and straight.

Reminds me of that picture in Trains of a doubleheader B&O train (I believe with P7s) supposedly handily out-accelerating a GG1 that was puffing an amazing amount of road dust... according to the caption.  I have always wondered if that were true.

I'll grant you the J3 with roller rods had considerably high permissible speed than most K4s, but it might be a while for it to reach that speed long enough to overcome the likely early lead... even if the new consist turned out significantly lighter than whatever ponderous FOM equipment might be over on the Pennsy.  And nobody pulled the tape on that engine afterward... Wink

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 8:42 PM

Those double-headed K4's are impressive as hell, and they're putting on quite a show.  But it reminds me of a post I made a while back (I forget which topic) where I said:

Imagine you're a businessman in 1938 riding the Broadway Limited from Chicago back to New York.  Leaving Englewood station you look out the window to your left and see the 20th Century Limited in all its Dreyfuss streamlined glory, while your  train is being pulled by two locomotives exactly the same as the one that pulled the train you rode off to war in as a young Doughboy in 1918. 

And that Dreyfuss Hudson beats  your train in the Englewood drag race!

(Which neither railroad will admit to running!)

Who's going to get your business next trip? 

Seriously though, what wouldn't any of us give just to see doubleheaded K4's again?  Or the drag race for that matter!

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Posted by Jones1945 on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 7:28 PM

Photo of the day. April 30, 2020:

https://www.trains.com/ctr/photos-videos/photo-of-the-day/englewood-engines/

"The Pennsylvania Railroad liked to double-head K4s Pacifics on heavy passenger trains. Here, the second section of eastbound train 76, the Trail Blazer, leaves Englewood, Ill., in south suburban Chicago in January 1941."

Paul Eilenberger, Harold Stinton collection

 

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Posted by Jones1945 on Monday, February 22, 2021 8:15 PM

Overmod

This leads me to wonder if there are proposed paint schemes for the prospective E6 order in the early '40s... 

I bet Loewy and EMD both had some interesting ideas, too bad the order was canceled after War Production Board failed to approve. A paint scheme that matches the FOM livery would have been awesome.

---------------------------------------

 

 

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Posted by BaltACD on Monday, February 22, 2021 8:06 PM

Art Deco and the railroads

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EW9g44fvjrM

 

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