A good read for steam heads.....................
A Pennsylvania Railroad Class T1.
LAST CHANCE for a Pennsylvania Railroad Class T1
By John R. Crosby
in 1948, Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) President Martin W. Clement
announced that "by May of this year we expect all our important
east-west passenger trains will be diesel-electric powered west of
to his word, hordes of pin-striped diesels began to arrive from La
Grange, Eddystone, Erie, and any other place that could slap together a
diesel locomotive. It seems that the Pennsy, in its rush to dieselize,
bought them all.
the arrival of the new power, it was not long before the Pennsy's T1
Locomotives, then only three or so years old were relegated to pulling
secondary trains. I was firing such a run between Fort Wayne, Indiana
and Crestline, Ohio, and return. Even our unglamorous trains, many
bereft of names, now regularly sported diesels on the head end.
best evidence of this was the way passenger engine crews dressed for
work. Most of us had discarded our work shirts, overalls, and bandanas
in favor of slacks and sport shirts. Some of the old-timers persisted
in wearing their Oshkosh or Carhartt overalls, but they were looked down
upon as hopeless fossils by we of the younger crowd.
While I had joined the slacks and shirt crowd, in the bottom of my grip I still carried a pair of goggles and gauntlet gloves.
the day in question, my engineer and I were awaiting the arrival of No.
43. The train was due into Crestline at 2:25 p.m., and was a typical
secondary train of that era. The normal consist was about 14 cars of
storage mail, Railway Express, and Railway Post office cars, a
combination car and two coaches. The train originated in Pitts burgh
and wound up in Chicago, making stops every 25 miles of so. On this
run, the only significant revenue was produced on the head end, not in
1:45 p.m. we received word that number 43 was running some 45 minutes
late, and was steam powered. We were being assigned a class T1, and
would we kindly get ourselves on the No. 5536.
Reluctantly we walked out of the roundhouse and searched for our engine. Way over on a back ready track we found it.
a pitiful sight! The engine and tender were coated with thick layers
of grime and soot. At any place where steam was discharged, either by
design or accident, streaks of gray dripped downward. Someone had
cleaned off the numbers on the side of the cab. This had been done in
such a fashion that each number looked as though it was in an oval
frame. To verify ownership, the flanks of the tender proudly displayed
the letters PENNSY. The LVANIA was totally covered by dirt. The rubber
diaphragm between the cab and tender was in shreds or missing. On the
engine, various inspection covers were missing, giving it a curiously
hollow appearance. The casing around the stacks was gone and they
showed up quite clearly.
had anticipated the cab would not be very clean so I scrounged up a
large ball of cotton waste. Climbing up into the cab confirmed my
suspicions that it was a filthy mess. About the only clean spot was the
engineer's seat where the hostler had sat while coaling up the tender.
Harry, my engineer, using the privileges of seniority, remained on the
ground and hollered up to me to get him a long oil can. I handed him
one and began to get busy with my cleaning. It was quite evident that
this engine had been sitting around for some time with the cab windows
open to the elements and whatever dirt happened to be in the area.
turned on the injector, then the squirt hose, and tried to wash down
all the dirt that I could dislodge with water. While I did achieve some
degree of success, there was still a lot of dirt in the cab as harry
climbed up the ladder. He was very careful not to touch any place I
happened to miss in my cleaning operation. He spent a few minutes
wiping off his seat, and the various valves and levers he would be
with his efforts, he sat down and began testing the air brakes,
whistle, bell, water pump, etc. While he was busy with his chores I got
the fire ready. Surprisingly, considering how long the engine had been
sitting around, the fire was in fairly good shape. It did not require
much to get it to my liking.
were now ready to back down to the station. Harry turned on the bell,
gave three short blasts on the whistle, opened the cylinder cocks, then
cracked open the throttle. We started to back up, blowing out large
amounts of water through the open cylinder cocks. At Riley Street I saw
that the dwarf signal governing our movement off the ready track to the
running track was displaying "restricting," allowing us to continue our
reverse move. We continued to back eastward until stopped by the
signal guarding access to the mainline. We sat here for some time until
we heard the unmistakable sound of a Pennsylvania chime whistle. No.
43 was finally in town.
few minutes later, a pair of bedraggled K4's slipped by on their way to
the roundhouse. As soon as they cleared the interlocking, I could see
the switch points flop over for our movement; this was followed by the
signal changing from "stop" to "restricting." I called the aspect to
Harry and we backed down to the train, rumbling across the tracks of the
Big Four's Cleveland to Columbus mainline.
we coupled onto the train, I noted that our conductor was standing on
the platform with a clearance card stating that No. 43 had no train
orders. He also let us know that today we had a total of 15 cars, all
heavyweight. It was quite obvious that his major concern was that of
maintaining as much distance as possible between himself and the filthy
car inspectors coupled the air and signal hoses, and then the steam
heat connectors. Harry ran the air test while I fed coal to the fire.
At 3:40 p.m., 1 our and 15 minutes late, the communicating whistle
peeped twice and we were finally on our way. Harry turned on the bell,
opened the sanders, and gently pulled on the throttle. With a T1, you
did not yank open the throttle unless you waned the engine to slip, sand
or no sand. We slowly began to move, again rumbling over the Big Four
diamonds (Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway or
CCC&StL which became the New York Central). At about 20 mph, Harry
made a running brake test. He released the brakes and opened the
throttle a bit more. We had a 4-mph speed restriction around an "S"
curve through the yard. Once clear of it, Harry got down to business
and the tired old 5536 began to accelerate just as its designers had
intended. [Keep it mind the T1s had rotary cam poppet valves].
spite of its cruddy appearance, this engine was still in good
mechanical condition. As the speed increased, so did the flow of
cinders, grime sand and dust, and other debris into and out of the cab.
Evidently, there were some nooks that I had overlooked in my cleaning
efforts. It was indeed fortunate that I still had my goggles
available. While our eyes are protected from the flying dirt, I cannot
say the same for our slacks and sport shirts.
was our first stop, only 12 minutes west of Crestline. We drove into
the station in a cloud of sand and dust, and blue brakeshoe smoke.
After a few minutes, during which mail, express and a few passengers had
either been unloaded or loaded, we started another dash to Upper
Sandusky, Ohio, all of 18 miles farther west. This was followed by
stops at Ada and Lima. During the Lima stop, we filled the tender to
its 19,000-gallon capacity.
farther west we went, the better the T1 performed. Our speed easily
passed 90 several times. Now, before anyone reading this gets excited
about the speed mentioned, and cites the fact that the legal speed limit
for passenger trains on the Fort Wayne division was 79 mph, let me
quote the road foreman at the time, on James A. (Pappy) Warren: "If you
can't make up time without worrying about the speed limit, I'll get
someone who can."
last scheduled stop was in Van Wert, Ohio. Again, Harry drove into the
station, making a precise spot so that the various mail and express
carts did not have to move far to find an open door. He called me over
to his side of the cab and said, "Johnny, this may be our last chance at
one of these beasts. What do you say about seeing just what she'll do
between here and Fort Wayne?" As he spoke, I noted that his face was
completely covered with dirt, except for the two white circles behind
deferential reply was, "You're the boss. My side of the cab is still
attached to yours." He nodded in reply to my answer, and issued a
warning. "You'd better get your fire ready, 'cause we're going to move
out of here."
this bit of information, I began to work on my fire. I grabbed the No.
5 scoop shovel and filled the back corners of the firebox. I shut off
the stoker jets and ran a big ward of coal into the firebox, right in
front of the firebox doors. When finished, I felt satisfied that I was
ready for what was to come.
the first peep of the communicating whistle, Harry turned on the bell
and sanders. A second later came the second peep. He cautiously opened
the throttle. The first six or so exhausts were relatively gentle
"chuffs" as we began to move. One of the exhaust blew a perfect smoke
ring. When Harry was satisfied that we had a good supply of sand under
the drivers, he pulled open the throttle a little farther. Until then,
the sounds of the exhaust had been drowned out by the sound of the
whistle, but no more. The exhaust began to snap and crack out of the
twin stacks. The presence of nearby warehouses and lumber yards created
a pronounced echo effect so that each exhaust was multiplied as it
bounced back and forth from building to building. This was the ultimate
in stereo. With the heavy throttle, the engine began to rock slightly
from side to side.
rounded the curve at Estry Tower, and now between us and Fort Wayne lay
31 miles of perfectly straight track. As soon as we cleared the
Cincinnati Northern diamond, Harry pulled the throttle wide open. The
engine began to quiver, and it was easy to note the acceleration. With a
good supply of sand, there was not a hint of a slip, although I did
note that Harry kept his hand on the throttle in anticipation of such an
event. As the speed built up, he began to move the reverse lever from
the corner up towards center, in effect shifting from low to high gear.
busy U.S. 30 crossing slipped by with the speedometer showing 78 mph.
Soon the needle showed 86. In spite of the large demand for steam, I
had no problem maintaining 300 pounds of steam pressure. This was not
necessarily due to my prowess as a fireman, but rather to the fact that
the engine was a free steamer. I cracked open the firedoors to check
the fire. I was satisfied to note that its color was bright
yellow-white. The coal that I had put into the back corners and in
front of the fire door was long gone.
is the location of a cast-iron post indicating Ohio on one side and
Indiana on the other. We did not have much time for reading as we were
now running at 96 mph. Harry had now moved the reverse lever to within
just a few points of being vertical. He was kept busy blowing for road
crossings. At our speed, there was not too much time from the passing
of a whistle post until the crossing showed up.
bounced straight through the Monroeville crossovers at 108 mph, with
the needle still unwinding. West of town we hit 110. The "T" still had
reserve left. The only problem we had was with dirt and soot. This
was compounded by coal dust from the tender.
At Maples the speedometer needle quit moving. We were now covering a mile in 30 seconds - 120 mph!
blazed by Adams Tower with the engine and tender each trying to go
their separate ways as they passed over the crossovers and siding
switches. The tower operator beat a hasty retreat as the breeze we
created tried to blow him over. Clearing the interlocking, Harry
applied the brakes and pulled our speed down to a more respectable 80.
We slipped into town, stopping at the coal dock for a load of coal.
With the tender full, we made our final dash of a mile to the Fort Wayne
there, we got off and headed downstairs to the crew room. The
passenger crew dispatcher, Chet Glant, met Harry as he turned in his
timeslip. "Harry, the dispatcher wants to talk to you upstairs." So
without cleaning ourselves, we both went up to the dispatcher's office.
dispatcher eyeballed us, shaking his head in wonder. Somewhat
sarcastically he asked, "Which one of you two clowns has a pilot's
license?" He paused for dramatic effect and continued, "You guys were
certainly flying low today. According to your timing by Estry and
Adams, it took you only 17 minutes to cover 27miles. Now my math is
nothing to brag about, but that averages out to something like 95 miles
per hour, and that from a station stop."
of us offered any comment. He looked at us for a few moments and
closed with the admonition, "Don't do this again." As we walked out he
grinned and added, Good job, guys."
did turn out to be my last trip on a T1. With the proliferation of
diesels on passenger trains, there was little call for maintaining much
of an extra passenger board. About the only business was that of
pulling dead, or nearly dead, Baldwin diesels. So when the engineers'
board was cut, I wound up back on freight with Q2's (4-4-6-4), J1's
(2-10-4) and F3's. But that is another story.