Friday, January 12, 2018

A bit more Ferroeqinology:

After my recent post about the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad's Grant Street Station in Pittsburgh, I came across a few more ferroequinology pictures of interest.

First is steam locomotive 2101, formerly Reading Railroad, which was restored and used on the American Freedom Train & Chessie Steam Specials back in the 1970's.  Here is a picture I took, at Grant Street Station sometime during the run of the Steam Specials - from 1977 through 1978.  My pix are unfortunately undated, but are from that 1977-78 era.

Per Wikipedia, Reading 2101 is a 4-8-4 "Northern" type steam built for use by the Reading Company in 194.  Constructed from an earlier 2-8-0 locomotive built in 1923, the 2101 handled heavy coal train traffic for the Reading until being retired in 1959. Withheld from scrapping, the 2101 served as emergency backup power for the three other T1 locomotives serving the Reading's "Iron Horse Rambles" excursions until being sold for scrap in 1964. In 1975, the locomotive was restored to operation from scrapyard condition in an emergency 30-day overhaul after being selected to pull the first eastern portion of the American Freedom Train. After being involved (and seriously damaged) in a roundhouse fire in 1979, the 2101 was traded to the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore, in exchange for the C&O 614. Today the locomotive remains, inoperable and on static display, in its American Freedom Train paint scheme.

Here is 2101, on display at Pittsburgh's Grant Street Station, along with the cars from the Chessie Steam Special.

Following is a picture of the tail car of the Chessie Steam Special, at the bumping post in Grant Street Station.

And for anyone wondering what the PaTrain looked like "back in the day", following is a picture of one I captured from the vestibule of a steam excursion leaving Pittsburgh.  The regular engines (F-7's which reportedly belonged to the abandoned Wellsville, Addison and Galeton Railroad on the border of NY and PA) must have been out of service - a Chessie engine was on the point.  Unfortunately I do not recall the date, but it certainly was prior to 1989...because the Port Authority transferred the equipment to the Connecticut Department of Transportation after cesssation of PaTrain service in 1989.   I've lost track of their current whereabouts, though.

And for anyone with more interest in what PaTrain operations looked like, all you need to do is go here: where you can find quite a bit of video of them in operation. And pictures of the inside of the station, which appears exactly as I remember it.  Fascinating.

While the following has nothing to do with PaTrains, a great caption would be "Houston, we have a problem."   Or maybe:  "Ooopsy-daisy..."

I came across this scene in a small town in Western PA in the time frame of late 1986 or early 1987....the day after a massive snowfall and a concurrent major cold wave.  I can narrow the time down relatively closely, as #4213 (which began life as C&O's GP-30 #3018) was repainted into CSX livery and renumbered in 1986.  It appears freshly painted in the above, underneath winter's grime.

Ice between the rails from a drainage issue apparently lifted the wheels enough that the cab-end bogey escaped the confines of the rails, and led the engine off in a slightly different direction. The cars were cut off and picked up  by a relief engine (as they were blocking a public road crossing).  The crew was also apparently picked up, and they left the engine idling in order to prevent a freeze-up, a likely pollution incident.   When I went by a few days later, they had come back, re-railed and removed the loco.  The only evidence remaining of the entire incident was "marks in the snow..."  

You never know what you'll find in my picture collection!



  1. One would think that travel or transport by rail would be the most reliable of all but it often does not work out that way.
    We were supposed to be on the south bound auto trail out of Lorton on Friday Jan. 5th but AMTRAK canceled southbound trains on the 4th and 5th. With two fully booked trains cancelled it would not have been possible to book another room down on the auto train for a week so we just decided to drive.
    As we were passing Lorton we stopped in to find out what their excuse was for cancelling out train. The said that the northbound train was in the station but that there were still reports of snow down in the Carolina's or Georgia. We could see that the train was in the station with the car carriers empty. I think that they just did not want to call in a crew that may have been on overtime due to the delays the day before. On our drive south all the roads were clear and it did not look like there was much snow at all down through the Carolinas and none in Georgia.
    We are now in Florida where today it will likely get to 80 degrees.

    1. Sorry to hear of the cancellations. It was a nasty storm, but I had hoped they wouldn't cancel. (For whatever reason.)

      Hopefully your trip home will go forward without incident...