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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

07-11-20 PHOTOS: Harrisburg PRR Trip

The Harrisburg area is a mecca of railroad activity. A major hub on the PRR with the start of electrified service, Enola Yard and the Rockville bridge. It also had a significant Reading presence and to this day there is both an Amtrak terminal and a large Norfolk Southern presence. Harrisburg also has a lot of classic signaling and PRR artifacts and so a road trip to the Harrisburg area has been on my hit list for sone time now.

I finally got a chance to go out there with Chuchubob over Thanksgiving week in 2007. The weather was crummy, but we had a great time and got pretty lucky at all of our stops. On our way out to the 'Burg we stopped at Leaman Place and Conestoga on the Amtrak Harrisburg Line. As Amtrak re-signals the line, the old PRR signals are becoming increasingly endangered so it was good to get out and photo document them before Amtrak ruins things.

After that we stopped for lunch at a diner in Middletown, which was right on the Middletown and Hummlestown's segment of street running.

While nothing went by while we were eating, we did amble down to the M&H's yard and discovered an ad hoc trolley museum. While the M&H usually performs the duties of a shortline and tourist railroad, they are also still classified as an Electric or Interurban line and so can run non-FRA compliant trolleys and transit vehicles. As SEPTA has held fire sales over the yards, a surprising amount of this equipment had ended up on the M&H.

Finally, we drove up to the famous Rockville Bridge area. We took pictures at the east end at CP-ROCKVILLE and CP-WYE, then drove up to take pictures at a position light signal bridge on the Buffalo Line, then crossed the river to take pictures at the west end of the bridge at CP-HIP and CP-MARY.

At this point it was getting dark so we decided to call it a day, but now all of you can browse through all of the pictures I took.

Of course here's a photo tour that will hit all of the highlights of the trip.

It's not quite a tower and not quite a block station. The shack at LEAMAN has a small control board inside for two signals and two hand throw electrically locked turnouts.. LEAMAN is located just west of Rt 30 and the Strassburg connection. Note the Penn Central nameplate with PC slanted lettering.

LEAMAN consists of just a pair of semi-automatic signals and a hand operated crossover.  This is the 2R signal protecting the crossing for eastbound trains.

Here an Amtrak Keystone lead by Metroliner cab car #9634 train blasts through LEAMAN at 110mph in the drizzle.

Amtrak AEM-7 #935 is providing power on the rear.

The Conestoga station of CORK interlocking was until 1948 where the 4 track section of the PRR Main Line narrowed to two to fit over a bridge over the Conestoga Creek just before downtown Lancaster. Since then it has been where the New Holland branch splits off and also a lone trailing point pneumatically powered crossover. CORK is now in the process of being re-signaled and here the new colourized position light mast has been erected for movements off the New Holland Branch.

Here is the still functional air plant for the pneumatic switches on the old Conestoga section. Also visible is the new electric derail for the New Holland. Previously this and the switch had been manual electric lock units. While the crossover here will be removed, the traction department already pulled down the wire, nearly resulting in a de-wirement as they failed to notify the dispatchers. Also note that the new switch is of the concrete movable point frog type.

Careful where you drive when in Middletown as Alco switcher #1016 sometimes takes to the roads.

SEPTA PCC's class it up with a GE 44 ton at the M&H yard.

If someones wants to know where the SEPTA CTA cars went, there's a pair in middlwtown, along with an M-2 car.

They even have a carbarn with more "classically" styled trolleys. The agua trailer thing is actually a genset for wireless trolley operations.

Here is the famous curve where ROCKVILLE tower used to stand at MP 110 from Suburban Station, Philadelphia.

And the view out over the bridge showing the old set of piers. NS re-configured the layout so the bridge only had two tracks after wind blew an intermodal train into the river. Now there is a safety margin on either side of the tracks.  The pipes are from the now retired air plant that used to power the point machines at CP-ROCKVILLE until just a few years ago.

Surviving PRR position light signal bridge on the Buffalo Line. These are the distant signals to CP-WYE at the Rockville bridge. Those replacement mast signals have been standing there inactive for years now and one of the heads has even been stolen. Here both signals are displaying APPROACH.

Hey, check it out, a freight train led by an NS high hood GP-38 #5025 of Southern RR heritage.

Here is a large slide fence where the Buffalo Line heads through a water gap on the Susquehanna River. Note the use of a super tall signal mast ladder to access the sensors.

Here is a video as Bob drives along the fence.

CP-HIP is at the northern end (MP73) of the Port Road / Enola branch. It got a modern position light signal upgrade in the 1980's. Straight ahead is the connector to the Pittsburgh Line, off to the right is the wye track to the Rockville Bridge. 

CP-HIP also had pneumatic switch machines, but they appear to be marked for replacement :-(

Rockville bridge from the west end.

A a transfer move to Enola Yard emerged from the fog just past the new position lights at CP-ROCKVILLE. .I was able to get into position for a picture just below CP-MARY.  On the head end was NS SD40-2 #3270 and Conrail painted SD40-2 #3422.

 Here is a short video clip of the ballast train passing through CP-MARY.

Built in 1900-1901 the Rockville Bridge remains the longest stone masonry bridge in the world. It's amazing what they could build in 2 years back in the day. Today the bridge would be of crappier construction and would take twice as long.

Here is a clip as Bob drove through the underpass at Marysville needed to get to the other side of the main line.

At that point the rain started to pick up and it was time to head home Hope you enjoyed the photos.  Much thanks to Chuchubob for the ride and the patience.

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