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Posted by Jersey Mike on Wed May 16 00:19:49 2018

As you have seen I have been desperately trying to document the PRR signals on the Main Line before they are replaced in over the next year or two.  In the summer of 2017 I had the opportunity to ride the Pennsylvanian eastbound from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, which would supplement my 2009 photo survey of the line in the opposite direction. I even booked Business Class to make sure I would get a view out the back.  Unfortunately, despite booking on a Monday Morning, my train attracted a PV out for a short joy ride over the curve to Harrisburg and back and was denied a view of the most important part of the line :-(  I did my best out the side window and I got rear shots east of Harrisburg, but all in all the trip was a bust.

If you are interested in the full set of photos I did manage to get, they are here.

The business class car was at the front of the train so I had the time and opportunity to get some pictures under the Pittsburgh train shed. Here we see Amtrak P42DC #89 on one of the two stub end tracks used by the Pennsylvanian.

The old PITT tower is visible through the trainshed columns. Built in the early 1950's, the tower housed one of the last and largest US&S Model 14 machines ever installed. Today the tower functions as a Port Authority police station with operational responsibility over the adjacent east busway that took over half of the former PRR Main Line right of way.

Here we look westward down the main station platform. Mainline track 1 is used by the Capitol Limited with a midnight westbound departure and an 5:30am eastbound departure. To the right of that is the old 3000' long Pitt controlled siding that used to store helper sets. In the 2000's, the west connection to the siding was removed leaving it as an infrequently used stub track.

Some railfans out to catch the PV movement at Latrobe.

A couple of views of Johnstown, PA. The first is a view from the Stone Bridge of the the Conemaugh River, channelized to prevent a recurrence of the deadly flood of 1889. The Stone Bridge, built in 1888, survived the flood unscathed and continues to serve in its original capacity. The second picture shows the top of the surviving PRR Johnstown Station.

Here we see the rear end of NS SD70ACU #7326. These were rebuilt SD90/43MACs purchased from Union Pacific over the last few years.

The offending private car was RPCX #2263 "Berlin", seen here rounding the horseshoe curve.

The viewing area was well patronized that day with fans seen here with PRR GP9 #7048.

Passing another train, the head end lashup included NS #6752, a former Conrail SD60I and NS #9250, an operation Lifesaver painted C44-9W.

I think the yardmaster at Altoona has a bit of OCD because many of the SD40E "helper packs" feature consecutive pairs of engine. here we see #6330 and #6331 coupled together in Altoona yard.

Working the local freight in the yard was a road slug set with NS GP40-2 #3011 and NS RP-E4C #754.

Interestingly, the re-signaling program is also affecting the new (2012) signals at CP-ANTIS. The issue with signal replacement isn't the age of the signals, it is the testing regime. Setting up a parallel infrastructure allows the new signal setup to be tested without taking track out of service.

Skipping across the Middle Division, my Train 43 arrives back on home rails passing HARRIS tower in Harrisburg, PA.

Our train was not only early into Harrisburg, but combined with the scheduled layover I had enough time to go and purchase lunch from a small shop inside the station. Afterwards I had about 20 or so minutes for photos. Here we see Amtrak P42DC #89 again at end end of the high level platform.

The private car Berlin was cut off as the owner was just looking for a brief joy ride over the more scenic parts of the PRR Main Line. Given the amount of padding in the schedule there was ample time to perform the operation.

Amtrak P42DC #120 was also on hand on the inspection track coupled to a spare Amfleet and Metroliner Cab Car.

The platform with GG1 #4859 was closed, but I got this photo from the stairway with an NS SD70ACe passing by en route to the former Reading railroad Valley Branch.

Out on the electrified portion of the Main Line, I was finally able to get some reverse direction shots out the back. Here the train is passing through Parkesburg, PA and the now disused PARK tower. The former 4-track full crossover at the junction of the abandoned A&S low grade line was under-utilized for decades before being replaced by a simple CTC crossover around 2012 or so.

CALN interlocking is the westernmost portion of the area controlled by the THORN tower CTC machine. There isn't much left after through freight operations were eliminated in the 80's, although evidence of the past is visible in the catenary structure. Track 2 being cut west of the interlocking around 2009 simply added insult to injury.

THORN still presides over a 6 track(!) full crossover, however only three of the tracks are still used for regular movements with most others being cut or used for MoW storage.

Case in point SEPTA Silverliner V #725 lays over on #2 track east of the interlocking to allow Train 43 to pass by on track 1. Track 2 is out of service just a few hundred feet to the east and track 3 on the other side of the interlocking was completely removed about 10 years ago.

Obligatory shot of the Whitford Flyover carrying the RoW of the Trenton low-grade line.

The 120 year old PAOLI tower still soldiering on while it's interlocking is slowly reconfigured for the new Paoli Transportation Centre Project. The 4 tracks with two side platforms will be replaced by 2 tracks with a
single center platform. This will likely create a future bottleneck if
service west of Malvern increases and the third track is restored to

SEPTA Silverliner V #858 at 30th St Station with a conductor walking past.

Upon my arrival in Philly I got one of the increasingly common rebuilt PATCO cars. #1004 now has three builders places!

Rebuilt PATCO car 1001 arriving at Haddonfield.

Well that's it for this set.  Tune in next time as I drop a friend off at Dulles Airport. 🙄


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