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PRR questions

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PRR questions
Posted by Pennsy_I1 on Friday, June 15, 2018 8:09 PM

Hello,

I am modeling the Pennsylvania RR in HO scale around Williamsport, PA around 1935. I would like to know how the PRR numbered trains. Were coal trains extras or did they have symbols like the manifests? I know that the manifests had symbols like "EC-2" or "RN." 

Another question: What coal hoppers should I use? My staging yard will have a 15" radius curve (I know, I cannot fit anything larger) and my trains will be 15-20 cars, with I1, M1, or L1 engines pulling on the road, and H8 or B6 engines shoving cars into/out of the yard. There will have to be a 2.5% grade or steeper on the yard lead.

Final question: What to do with cabooses. Since I have a small space to work with, I was planning a siding for engines to decouple from coal trains outside of the coal staging yard. Should the yard engine take the cabin into the yard or drop it on a caboose track near the siding?

Thank you in advance.

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Posted by ndbprr on Tuesday, June 19, 2018 5:16 PM

You should join PRR@PRR.groups.io.  That is where the PRR experts hang out.  You will get accurate information for your questions for specific years of operation.  You may also want to download copies of the Keystone Modeler from the PRRT&HS web site. Lots of great modeling.

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Posted by ATSFGuy on Wednesday, June 20, 2018 5:07 PM

HO Pennsy F7's with 34' coal hopper and an N5C Caboose will work.

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Posted by dehusman on Wednesday, June 20, 2018 6:46 PM

Pennsy_I1
Another question: What coal hoppers should I use? My staging yard will have a 15" radius curve (I know, I cannot fit anything larger) and my trains will be 15-20 cars, with I1, M1, or L1 engines pulling on the road, and H8 or B6 engines shoving cars into/out of the yard. There will have to be a 2.5% grade or steeper on the yard lead.

Are you sure about running 2-10-0 and 4-8-2 engines around a 15" radius with 2.5% grade?  Conventional wisdom says that's not a plan with a recipe for consistent success.  Normally a 24-36" radius would be better for those engines.

For the PRR, coal trains would be H21 quad hoppers (Bowser).  The PRR owned more H21's than the ATSF owned ALL types of cars.  That's what you should be running to model the PRR.  Otherwise the Bowser GL twin would be a good PRR selection.

How you work your yard depends on how you designed your yard.  Normally an empty coal train would come into the yard, the power would uncouple (not "decouple") and woud go to the engine tracks, a switcher would remove the caboose and move it to the caboose track.  It doesn't sound like you have designed it that way so its up to you.

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by Uncle_Bob on Wednesday, June 20, 2018 8:16 PM

I know the PRR coal trains and manifests used symbols, but I honestly don't know what symbols were used on Harrisburg/Enola-Buffalo or Altoona-Williamsport/Elmira trains.  Caloroso's book on the Elmira Branch probably has some helpful information, as might the recent book about the Shamokin Branch.

 As for equipment, I have to concur that most of the engines you want to run are way too big for 15"radius curves. If you plan to run passenger trains, use a K4s on the Buffalo Day Express, while a K4s or E6s would work for the varnish between the Finger Lakes, Williamsport, and points south.

 

Good luck!

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Posted by "JaBear" on Thursday, June 21, 2018 4:58 AM
Gidday, the thought of that 15 inch radius curve gives me the heebie jeebies, but as you’re aware of it, I won’t belabour the point, however I’ll bring your attention to this very informative site.
 
 
Cheers, the Bear.Smile

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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Posted by Silverliner266 on Thursday, June 21, 2018 9:03 AM

I don't know much about the PRR numbering system in the 1930s but I can check some reference books when I get home. Unfortunately, most of my books focus on the Philadelphia area. 

 

A fun way to get around the limitations caused by the 15" curve might be to add an engine servicing facility on the layout and then have a big lead and a storage siding before it joins the mainline. You can then use switchers to pull the hoppers to the operating level, put them in the siding, and hook up the larger locomotive(s) which has come over from your nearby engine facility. 

 

Sorry I guess this is a little OT for this section. 

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Posted by dehusman on Thursday, June 21, 2018 10:00 AM

A K 4-6-2 or G 4-6-0 pulling 3 or 4 P70 coaches could be a PRR passenger train almost anywhere.

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by NHTX on Thursday, June 21, 2018 10:44 AM

     Any kind of passenger train other than a short doodlebug or those super short Sierra RR cars on 15 inch curves is just asking for grief.  Even the K-4 Pacific will be problematic especially when combined with the envisioned grades.  The planned trackage projects an image of an urban industrial district instead of a mainline railroad unless we are talking about N scale.

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Posted by dehusman on Thursday, June 21, 2018 11:34 AM

NHTX
Any kind of passenger train other than a short doodlebug or those super short Sierra RR cars on 15 inch curves is just asking for grief.

Correct.  Don't be surprised if you have to remove diaphrams, underbody details, piping, stirrup steps, truck brake rigging, etc from the bottom of 70+ ft long cars to get the trucks to clear around curves.

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by ndbprr on Monday, June 25, 2018 5:40 PM

The PRR had 54' passenger cars that were used in commuter service in the Pittsburgh area and later were used to make the MP54 electric commuter cars for use in electrified territory.  ConCor produced both the straight passenger car and the electrified versions and are still available.  they are prototypical and may very well handle 15" radius curves.

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Posted by Pennsy_I1 on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 5:51 PM

The 15" curves are not the mainline. They are on a lead to a staging yard under the layout. Only coal cars would use that yard, and the mainline would have at least 20" curves. I am modeling steam only, and plan to run smaller passenger trains. Manifest trains will originate from a five-track stub-end yard. I was planning a siding where engines and cabooses would uncouple and a switcher would push the train into the yard. My engine service facility will be a roundhouse on an extension module. I hope that clears things up. Also, should I include coal cars from other roads, and how often should they be seen in my trains? 

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Posted by PRR8259 on Saturday, June 30, 2018 10:38 PM

ATSFGuy

HO Pennsy F7's with 34' coal hopper and an N5C Caboose will work.

ATSFGuy--

Please, the original poster was asking some serious questions.  It would be most helpful to actually provide answers of some value to the original poster.  Your post is wrong on ALL counts.  The OP is modeling circa 1935.  F-7's did not exist for more than 12 years into the future.  N-5C cabooses were constructed beginning in 1942, so they did not exist yet, and most everybody knows that most Pennsy hoppers of that era were NOT 34' cars, but were the longer sawtooth hoppers of H-21 and similar classes.

John

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Posted by Uncle_Bob on Thursday, July 05, 2018 4:29 PM

I don't know for sure about 1935, but certainly by the late 1940s foreign road cars (Montour, NYC, B&O, Cambria & Ohio, Berwind White Coal) were photographed on the Elmira Branch, which ran from Williamsport to Lake Ontario.  These were primarily 2-bay hoppers.  E6s 666 was often found on that line.  Are you modeling the Dike Line that provided the route for trains to head to Elmira, or the Buffalo Line and the area around Newberry Yard?  

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Posted by Pennsy_I1 on Thursday, July 05, 2018 4:36 PM

Uncle_Bob
  Are you modeling the Dike Line that provided the route for trains to head to Elmira, or the Buffalo Line and the area around Newberry Yard?  
 

I am modeling mostly the Elmira Branch operations, although the Williamsport Division mainline is included in the form of a staging yard. I am modeling Williamsport Yard rather than Newberry Yard. The focal point of the layout is the yard, with a small section of the Elmira Branch, as well as the mainline for through trains (such as most passenger).

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Posted by dehusman on Thursday, July 05, 2018 8:59 PM

Pennsy_I1
The 15" curves are not the mainline. They are on a lead to a staging yard under the layout. Only coal cars would use that yard, and the mainline would have at least 20" curves.

15" curves on a staging yard UNDER the layout.   No scarier words have been spoken. 

A mainline with 20" curves is really not any major improvement.   For the larger engines and passenger cars you probably need to be upwards of 24" radius.

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by cuyama on Thursday, July 05, 2018 9:32 PM

Pennsy_I1
My staging yard will have a 15" radius curve (I know, I cannot fit anything larger) and my trains will be 15-20 cars, with I1, M1, or L1 engines pulling on the road, and H8 or B6 engines shoving cars into/out of the yard. There will have to be a 2.5% grade or steeper on the yard lead.

The HO rule-of-thumb is 32/R (R being the radius) for the percentage additional effective grade added to the nominal grade in a curve. In your case, that's 2.13% added to your nominal 2.5% (plus!) to yield well over 4% grade. Pretty stout, and cars may be prone to “stringline” derailments toward the center of the curve – although shorter cars and engines mitigate this somewhat.

Not the best recipe for success in a hidden staging area. If it were me, I’d try to find a way to redesign. And if that wasn’t possible, mock it up and test.

Good luck.

Byron

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Posted by gmpullman on Thursday, July 05, 2018 10:03 PM

Pennsy_I1
I would like to know how the PRR numbered trains.

A handy listing is compiled here:

http://pennsyrr.com/index.php/freight/521-symbols

There's more "fun" freight train nick names and numbers here:

http://www.multimodalways.org/docs/railroads/RRorgs/AAR/AAR%20Names%20and%20Nicknames%20of%20Freight%20Trains%202-1952.pdf

 

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by Pennsy_I1 on Friday, July 06, 2018 10:40 PM

The largest engines I plan to use on the yard track are B-class 0-6-0s. I can redesign part of the layout, but I will have to have a 20" wye track. I can design a removable section above the curve. Would it work better to push cars up and around around the curve?

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Posted by dehusman on Saturday, July 07, 2018 9:13 AM

It is usually better to pull cars than push cars.  It is easier to pull a chain than push a chain.

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by cuyama on Saturday, July 07, 2018 11:55 AM

dehusman
It is usually better to pull cars than push cars.  It is easier to pull a chain than push a chain.

+1

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