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Saturday, September 15, 2012

12-09-15 PHOTOS: HARRIS Tower Trips

Well if traveling to South Norwalk is a bit too far for you there is another preserved interlocking tower museum in Harrisburg, PA operated by the Harrisburg chapter NRHS. The former Pennsylvania Railroad HARRIS tower was built in 1930 and turned over to the NRHS chapter in 1992 after Amtrak closed it in a plant rationalization project. Unlike South Norwalk its 115 lever US&S Model 14 interlocking machine is completely operational and able to allow visitors to run a simulated 1943 schedule. Now I could go on and on about the history of HARRIS tower and how Model 14 machines function and operate, but I am going to save that for another time so I can instead focus on all the other cool railroad stuff I encountered in two trips I took to the museum this fall, one by Amtrak, the other by car.

HARRIS tower is a short 5 minute walk from the Amtrak Harrisburg passenger station and can also easily be reached from Philly in about 2 hours or Baltimore in 1 hour. It used to control the west end of the Harrisburg station complex where PRR GG1's were swapped for steam power. Today most Amtrak trains terminate at Harrisburg and only use the STATE interlocking at the east end of the station. Freight traffic comes in the form of the Norfolk Southern Harrisburg line which makes a big left turn to head down the former Reading railroad route instead of take the former PRR Main Line. While traffic on the NS line is intense, with upwards of 50 trains per day, Amtrak traffic passing the tower consists of only the single Pennsylvanian round trip and Keystone tainset relay moves.

You can see all the photos from both trips right here with the Amtrak trip first and then the road trip photos coming after. As part of the Amtrak trip Chuchubob and I stopped off at the Middletown and Hummlestown yard in Middletown to get an extra trip leg for more AGR points and to also kill turn until HARRIS tower opened at 10am. The tower museum is open most Saturdays from May through October from 10 until 3.

Here we see Amtrak Metroliner cab car #9645 departing the Middletown station in the trailing position.

The M&H still has its collection of SEPTA PCC cars like #2095 seen here.

#2095 sitting next to GE 44-ton #2 which is about to depart with the first excursion train of the morning hauling former DL&W commuter MU coaches.

Alco S-6 #151 painted in a Western Maryland scheme. 

Upon reaching Harrisburg I caught AEM-7 #923 hanging out across the platform from #952.

Space cab car #9649 hung out on the stub track while signals were displayed for #952 through STATE interlocking for the next schedule keystone departure.

PRR GG-1 #4859 on display at Harrisburg station.

Amtrak P32-8WH #512 is the substitute power on this day's eastbound Pennsylvanian due to a general shortage of P42's which was in turn due to an overhaul programme. 

NS C40-9W #9846 passing Harris tower, followed by SD60 #6577.

Most power on this route is NS's own due to the need for cab signals on leading locomotives, but sometimes foreign power like Union Pacific C44-10W #7859 does appear.

A pair of NS C40-9W's (#9679 and #9372) passing Amtrak HARRIS interlocking, which today was out of service due to a lightning strike. Interestingly enough I was in Amtrak Overbrook tower, which uses the same technology found in the now preserved HARRIS tower, when it was the victim of a lightning strike which tripped off all signaling power. Fortunately once the open breaker switch was found everything came right back up without damage, unlike the new "solid state" electronics in the fried HARRIS relay hut.

I have a good number of additional freight train photos from my first trip, but they were almost all C40-9W's like #9394 here, so its pretty clear what sort of power NS likes to keep on this route.

The old Silverliners still live at the Overbrook deadline like #262 here.

Reading II #9010 was still functional and had its pan up.

SEPTA SW8 switcher #50 waiting at 30th St Station. Not sure what its doing here as the Bomber sets don't run on weekends and thus won't need rescuing.

A few weeks later the P32-8WH's were still on Pennsylvanian duty with #514 seen here passing the westbound signal for NS's CP-HARRISBURG.

 Keystone trainset with AEM-7 #952 makes a relay move past #904.

The C40-9W's were still out in force with #9956 passing by the tower westbound.

NS C40-10W #7549 passed by in the other direction.

Well this is special. Reading and Northern SD50 #3501 buried in the middle of the lashup.

Another western C44-10W, this time BNSF #7467, passes by in the west direction in the #2 slot on the front of a merchandise train.

Soldiers and Sailors memorial bridge that stand next to Harris Tower.

Well that's it for this week. Next time tune in for a potpourri of CSX photos taken in and around the Baltimore area.

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