Overview | Summary | First Trick | Second Trick | Third Trick

Background

This page is a chronology of movements over a 24 hour period at the passenger station at Harrisburg, Pa. For my personal modeling purposes, I needed such a chronology of events. The date (September 26, 1954) was chosen as many of my reference materials have publish dates of 9/26/54.

The consists were derived from the public timetables. Where known, I substituted the Pennsy class designation in the consist listing.

There are many time differences between documents published on the same date. Where conflict occured, I opted for the data contained within the Employee Timetable.

To make this chronology more manageable, I split it into four pages: this Overview, and three "Tricks". A "trick" is synonymous with a work shift. Though the actual breakdown of tricks varied depending upon job title and locale, most ran 7 a.m.-3 p.m., first trick; 3 p.m.-11 p.m., second trick; and 11 p.m.-7 a.m., third trick.

Your feedback and corrections are appreciated. Enjoy!


Overview

Harrisburg, the capital city of the Pennsylvania Railroad's namesake state, is the largest city between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh on the Pennsy's "Broad Way". Its' four-track mainline passes through the station, though freight traffic had diminished in the early 1900's following construction of the Atglen & Susquehanna Branch which offered a "low-grade" route to Enola.

At Harrisburg, the PRR had a junction with the Cumberland Valley Railroad (later absorbed by the PRR) which ran to Hagerstown, Md. The Northern Central Railway (leased by the PRR in 1915), coming north out of Washington and Baltimore, secured trackage rights over the CV's bridge into the city, allowing their passengers to transfer directly to the Pennsy's mainline trains. The Reading Railroad also had an interchange at Harrisburg.

Just north of Harrisburg, at the Rockville Bridge where the Pennsy mainline crosses the Susquehanna River, there is a junction with what was the continuance of the Northern Central Railway northward to Williamsport, Pa., which offered connections to Erie, Pa., Buffalo, N.Y., and other northward destinations. After the NCRy was absorbed by the Pennsy, this became known as the Sunbury Branch.

The current station is the third on the site. The first two were "union stations", shared by the Pennsylvania Railroad, Reading Railroad, Northern Central Railway, and the Cumberland Valley Railroad. The third (and current) station excluded the Reading, which built its own station, and the CV maintained a small "depot" adjoining the much larger NCRy/PRR station. The CV station has long since been razed. The Reading discontinued passenger service into Harrisburg sometime in the 1950's and the station was razed in the early 1960's to make room for a new post office.

Since electrification of the Pennsy main between Harrisburg and Philadelphia in 1937, operations on the east side of the station are controlled by STATE tower, located inside the station building. Under their control was the coach yard, which sat between the two passenger mains and the two freight mains; the two-track approach of the Northern Central Branch (nee NCRy) coming in from the west; and access to the Railway Express Agency between the mainline and the NCRy.

Operations on the west side of the station are controlled by HARRIS tower, still standing and being restored by the Harrisburg Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society. Just west of the tower was the Harrisburg Locomotive Terminal, built in 1937 and razed in 1997. This terminal serviced primarily passenger locomotives, with freight service being handled across the river at Enola. This facility had a massive 750 ton coal tower, 180-degree roundhouse, and 125' turntable. One account claims this was the largest turntable on the system. A diesel facility was added shortly after the steam facility. It featured an 8-bay enginehouse.

Motive power operations were very involved at Harrisburg. Mainline trains ran under catenary between Philadelphia and Harrisburg, so it was common to see GG-1 electrics changing for T-1's or a set of E7's or E8's. The Northern Central Branch had many restrictions due to curvature and weight, so they continued to use K-4, K-5, and E7 power. These trains were often fitted with more powerful units for their westerly or northerly legs.

The timetables that follow do not include specific times for 1) Head end car movements such as mail storage cars and Railway Express Agency cars; 2) Movements to and from coach yards; and 3) Motive power exchanges.


Sources:

Employee Timetable No. 7 - Philadelphia Division, issued September 26, 1954.
This document provided arrival/departure/passage times of trains at Harrisburg on the "main line".

Public Timetable of East-West Trains, Form 4, issued September 26, 1954.
This document provided basic consist information, for east-west trains on the "main line" as well as to the south via the Northern Central Branch and to the north via the Sunbury (?) Branch. (I have since acquired Form 1 from this date but have not made a comparison; all data should be the same.)

Public Timetable of Philadelphia-Harrisburg-Roanoke Trains, Form 41, issued September 26, 1954.
This document provided basic consist information for Harrisburg-Philadelphia commuter trains and Harrisburg-Roanoke trains.

Through Freight Train Schedules Between Principal Points, issued February 1, 1952.
This docoment provided names and consist block information for some of the symbol freights.

Official Guide to the Railways, issued September, 1954.
This document provided some additional information for Philadelphia-Harrisburg commuter service and Harrisburg-Roanoke service.

"Pennsy Streamliners: The Blue Ribbon Fleet", by Joe Welsh.
This is a "must have" book for passenger modelers. Includes information about passenger cars in interchange service.

Sources Desired:

Makeup of Trains, Maryland Division, issued September 26, 1954.
This docoment WOULD PROVIDE more precise consist information, including head-end equipment and, in some cases, exact car names, for trains originating in Washington, D.C.

Makeup of Trains, Philadelphia Division, issued September 26, 1954.
This docoment WOULD PROVIDE more precise consist information, including head-end equipment and, in some cases, exact car names, for trains originating in Philadelphia or Harrisburg.


Footnotes:

Note 1: Name and consist block information from Through Freight Train Schedules Between Principal Points, issued February 1, 1952.

Note 4: Although listed as an "Enola to Buffalo" train, the Through Freight Train Schedules Between Principal Points clearly indicates this train originating at Harsimus Cove and passing through Harrisburg.

Note 6: Both the Form 1 and Makeup of Trains (main section) indicate a PS125 in this consist. However, the "Assignment of Sleeping Cars" section of theMakeup of Trains indicates a PS124.

Note 7: From "Pennsy Streamliners: The Blue Ribbon Fleet" by Joe Welsh, pp. 106-108.

Note 8: From "Pennsy Streamliners: The Blue Ribbon Fleet" by Joe Welsh, p. 110.

Note 9: From "Pennsy Streamliners: The Blue Ribbon Fleet" by Joe Welsh, p. 111.

Note 10: From "Pennsy Streamliners: The Blue Ribbon Fleet" by Joe Welsh, p. 94.

Note 11: From "Pennsy Streamliners: The Blue Ribbon Fleet" by Joe Welsh, p. 95.