For the greatest span of its life (1941-1956), the Pennsy's Middle Division main line spanned from BANKS tower (exclusive) near Marysville, Pa., to SLOPE tower near Altoona, Pa.
The following historical references to the Middle Division come from Chris Baer's "Chronology of the Pennsylvania Railroad"...
April 18, 1847 PRR Board confirms engineer corps for Eastern Division... no corps is appointed for Middle Division crossing Allegheny Mountain, and Thomson abolishes it after taking charge, placing the division point at the summit; later a separate Mountain Division is created for the engineering work in the section between Altoona and Johnstown."
Mar. 10, 1848 Cleveland & Pittsburgh Railroad orders additional surveys between Hudson and Cleveland; contracts 32 miles of the Middle Division.
Feb. 3, 1855 Granville Bridge on Middle Division destroyed by fire.
May 13, 1855 PRR Bridge No. 7 over Little Juniata River on Middle Division burned.
May 19, 1855 New Bridge No. 7 opens over Little Juniata River on Middle Division.
1856 Middle Division created; Mifflin to Conemaugh. [A cause for confusion!]
Mar. 1, 1857 According to W. B. Wilson this date PRR is divided into Eastern, Middle and Western Divisions; Enoch Lewis made Superintendent of Middle Division, running from Mifflintown to Conemaugh.
Sep. 1, 1857 Headquarters of Middle Division moved to Harrisburg.
Jan. 1, 1858 General reorganization: Legal Dept. organization changed to three solicitors at Philadelphia, Altoona and Harrisburg; in Transportation Dept. create division superintendents for Philadelphia, Eastern, Middle, and Western Divisions (prob. implemented earlier - E. Lewis appt Supt of Middle Div 3/1/57).
Nov. 10, 1858 PRR Board confirms appointment of John B. Anderson (1818?-1897) as Superintendent of Middle Division replacing Enoch Lewis.
Dec. 18, 1858 PRR Road Committee authorizes construction of houses at Altoona for Resident Engineer and Superintendent of Middle Division.
Aug. 1, 1860 Robert Pitcairn, age 24, named Superintendent of Middle Division replacing S.D. Young promoted to Eastern Division.
Feb. 1, 1863 Eastern Division (PRR) abolished and divided between Philadelphia Division (Dillerville-Harrisburg) and Middle Division (Harrisburg-Mifflin); Middle Division becomes Harrisburg-Altoona; Western Division (PRR) becomes Altoona-Pittsburgh and is renamed Pittsburgh Division.
Mar. 1, 1865? Samuel A. Black resigns as Superintendent of the Oil Creek Railroad to be Assistant Superintendent of the Middle Division of the PRR.
Apr. 10, 1865 Samuel A. Black (1821?-1890), formerly Superintendent of the Philadelphia & Erie Railroad and the Oil Creek Railroad, named Superintendent of the Middle Division of the PRR, replacing Samuel D. Young (1820?-1866).
July 1866 PRR completes double track between Mill Creek and Bridgeport on Middle Division.
Mar. 1867 Maye's Bridge on Middle Division double-tracked.
Nov. 1867 PRR completes second track between Manayunk (Baree) and Newtown Hamilton on Middle Division.
Nov. 1867 PRR opens double track between Manayunk and Mapleton on Middle Division.
Dec. 1867 PRR completes second track between Mount Union and Mapleton on Middle Division.
1867 New iron bridges built over West Branch of Brandywine Creek at Coatesville, Mayes Bridge on Middle Division, and Big Conestoga Creek east of Lancaster.
1868 PRR completes double-tracking of Middle Division except for 2,440 feet between Mapleton and Bridgeport.
Nov. 1871 PRR introduces its first cabin car (caboose) with cupola on the Middle Division.
1874 Use of track pans extended to Philadelphia, Middle and New York Divisions.
Jan. 1, 1875 James McCrea appointed Superintendent of Middle Division, replacing Samuel A. Black, resigned.
Summer 1875 PRR completes installation of banner-type block signals on Middle Division; system is installed for projected Centennial traffic; octagonal signal towers 6 to 10 miles apart; box signal on lattice bridge or later on top of tower; shows either oil light or moveable red and green shutters for stop and reduced speed.
Apr. 10, 1876 Middle Division Superintendent James McCrea begins practice of identifying entire freight train crews by "cabin car" rather than assigning engineer and fireman to a particular locomotive; will run on a first-in-first-out basis as before; system, devised by McCrea, increased efficiency of utilization by 50% but is very unpopular with engineers and firemen.
Apr. 17, 1876 Perrysville renamed Port Royal on Middle Division.
Nov. 8, 1876 Day of maximum passenger travel on PRR Grand Division; on Philadelphia Division 124 trains, 629 cars, and 26,603 passengers; on Middle Division, 37 trains, 262 cars, and 11,679 passengers; on Pittsburgh Division, 70 trains, 339 cars, and 12,991 passengers; also 86 freight trains and 2,236 cars on Philadelphia Division, 42 freight trains and 1,879 cars on Middle Division, and 63 freight trains and 1,641 cars on Pittsburgh Division.
Nov, 25, 1876 PRR extends practice of identifying entire freight train crews by "cabin car" rather than assigning engineer and fireman to a particular locomotive from Middle Division to entire main line; crews working out of Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Altoona and Pittsburgh run on a first-in-first-out basis; plan is generally disliked by employees.
1876 General Manager Frank Thomson's "Standard" track of 67-lb. steel rail, full ballast, ditching, and rail splice completed on Middle and Pittsburgh Divisions and nearly completed on Philadelphia and New York Divisions.
Aug. 1877 PRR experiments with an early type of lower quadrant semaphore signal at Shady Side and at several locations on the Middle and Philadelphia Divisions; signals are mounted on the regular block towers.
Oct. 15, 1878 James McCrea appointed Superintendent of New York Division replacing George W. Barker, deceased; Sutherland M. Prevost to Superintendent of Middle Division, replacing McCrea.
1880 Primitive automatic train stop designed by Joseph Wood (1846-1922) and Axel S. Vogt (1849-1921) of the Motive Power Dept. installed on some Middle Division locomotives; arm on semaphore breaks glass tube on locomotive, applying brakes; tube too easily broken by other objects and system abandoned in 1883.
July 1, 1881 William F. Lockhard (1825-1889) resigns as Superintendent of Philadelphia Division for health and made Superintendent of the Junction Railroad in place of Henry C. Jones, resigned; Lockhard is replaced on the Philadelphia Division by Sutherland M. Prevost (1845-1905); H.H. Carter named Superintendent of Middle Division, replacing Prevost; Joseph B. Hutchinson (1844-1934) named Superintendent of Frederick Division, replacing Carter; William H. Phillips (1847- ) named Superintendent of Lewistown Division [when was Lewistown Division formed?], replacing Hutchinson.
1881 New Middle Division roundhouse built at Altoona; 30 stalls and 50-foot turntable.
July 1, 1883 O.E. McClellan named Superintendent of Middle Division, replacing Henry H. Carter.
1883 Track pans built at Bells Mills on the Middle Division.
May 26, 1884 Manayunk renamed Ryde on Middle Division.
June 23, 1884 Bells Mills renamed Bellwood on Middle Division.
1884 New electric signals installed to protect Spruce Creek Tunnel on the Middle Division.
May 1, 1893 Col. Oliver E. McClellan (1853-1896) resigns as Superintendent of Middle Division for health; Frank Ellmaker to Superintendent of Middle Division, replacing McClellan.
1893 Third track opens Lewistown Jct.-Granville Bridge and Mayes BridgeLongfellow on Middle Division.
1893 Fourth track opens Cove-Cove Forge, Bixlers-Granville Bridge and Mayes Bridge-Manayunk on Middle Division.
1893 New station built at Cove on the Middle Division.
1893 Frank Brown (1869-1937), son of Chief Engineer William Henry Brown (1836-1910), named Assistant Engineer of the Middle Division.
July 20, 1895 New record for number of cars passing over the Middle Division in a single day, 5,830 vs. 5,494 on Aug. 11, 1894.
Oct. 1, 1895 George W. Creighton named Superintendent of Middle Division, replacing Frank Ellmaker... Victor Wierman named Superintendent of Lewistown Division, replacing Reed.
Nov. 1895 PRR begins straightening and 4-tracking the Middle Division.
Aug. 1896 PRR has established fast freight PG 3 on main line to match new fast freights recently established on Erie, C&O, Big Four and B&O; hauled by new Class L locomotives with 68" drivers on Middle Division at average 29 MPH or about passenger train speed.
1896 Four-track system opens Rockville-Cove and Tyrone-Altoona on Middle Division.
1896 New alignments open at Duncannon, Rope Ferry, Port Royal and Bixler on the Middle Division.
1896 New water station and track pans open at Narrows, replacing one at Bixler on Middle Division.
Sep. 5, 1897 New alignment opens at Trimmers Rock near Newport on Middle Division.
Aug. 8, 1898 Class H5 2-8-0 No. 872 hauls 130 cars of coal, 5,212 tons, from Altoona to Columbia; usual train was 60 cars and 2,350 tons; next day continues to Morrisville; used two crews on Middle Division.
Nov. 1898 PRR begins track realignment at Black Log Curve above Mifflin on Middle Division; is to increase Harrisburg Yard from 21 to 26 tracks.
1898 Shelter built at Tyrone on the Middle Division.
Jan. 1, 1899 W. Heyward Myers named Superintendent of Middle Division, replacing G.W. Creighton; S. Pemberton Hutchinson to Superintendent of Lewistown Division, replacing Wierman.
1899 “__” Tower built at Huntingdon, Pa., on the Middle Division.
1899 New station opens at Mount Union, Pa., on the Middle Division.
Mar. 1900 Record number of 175,112 cars handled on Middle Division, up from 171,332 in Mar. 1899.
Mar. 1900 PRR contracts for a change of alignment and new tracks between Durwood and Iroquois and extra tracks between Iroquois and Aqueduct on the Middle Division.
Apr. 1, 1900 S. Pemberton Hutchinson (1861-1929), later Pres. of the Westmoreland Coal Company, named Assistant General Agent at New York; W. Heyward Myers, Superintendent of Middle Division, named Acting Superintendent of Lewistown Division, replacing Hutchinson.
May 7, 1900 New two-track Spruce Creek Tunnel for westbound trains opens on Middle Division; includes new alignment and two new tracks between Barree and Spruce Creek and two stone arch bridges over Little Juniata River; completes four-track system between Mill Creek and Spruce Creek.
Aug. 1, 1900 W. Heyward Myers appointed General Superintendent of Philadelphia & Erie Grand Division and Northern Central Railway, replacing George W. Creighton; Wilson Brown appointed Superintendent of Middle Division and Acting Superintendent of Lewistown Division, replacing Myers.
Oct. 1900 New record of 183,826 cars per month pass Lewistown Jct. on Middle Division; up 20% from Oct. 1899.
Oct. 26, 1900 Record 68,000 cars moved on Middle Division.
Jan. 1, 1901 Lewistown Division made dual appointment with Sunbury Division and moved from PRR Grand Division to P&E Grand Division under W.B. McCaleb, Superintendent.
Jan. 28, 1901 PRR contracts four-tracking between Juniata Bridge and Aqueduct; change of line and extra track through Lewistown Narrows; additional tracks between Mount Union and Mill Creek; additional track between Spruce Creek and Union Furnace, all on Middle Division.
Feb. 13, 1901 PRR Board authorizes realignment east of the Narrows on the Middle Division.
May 1901 PRR has completed long-distance telephone circuits for all Middle Division, half of Philadelphia Division, and parts of Pittsburgh Division; is to be complete system between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
1901 Third track opens: Iroquois-Bailey and Spruce Creek-Union Furnace; fourth track opens between Warrior Ridge and Barree on Middle Division.
May 1, 1902 William B. McCaleb (1862-1947) named Superintendent of Middle Division, replacing Wilson Brown, assigned to special duties; Lawrence W. Allibone (1857- ), Superintendent of the Cambria & Clearfield Division, named Superintendent of Sunbury, Shamokin and Lewistown Divisions, replacing McCaleb.
July 25, 1902 One track opens on new alignment from Cove Forge through Duncannon to Aqueduct on Middle Division.
Oct. 22, 1902 PRR Board authorizes: track pans at Baileys on the Middle Division.
1902 New stations open at Marysville and Duncannon on Middle Division.
1902 Third and fourth track opens: Cove-Aqueduct, Denholm-Lewistown Jct., and Mount Union-Mill Creek on Middle Division.
June 1, 1903 Altoona Division abolished and merged into Middle Division; Dock Street, Harrisburg-east end of Rockville Bridge ceded from Middle Division to Philadelphia Division; headquarters of Middle Division moved from Harrisburg to second floor annex of Logan House at Altoona.
June 1, 1903 Transportation Dept. reorganized... Cecil .A. Preston named Superintendent of Middle Division, replacing McCaleb.
1903? New “WK” Interlocking built near Shawnee on the Middle Division as part of the four-tracking between Denholm and Lewistown.
1904 Four-track system opens between Newport and Millerstown on Middle Division.
1904 New “J” Interlocking Tower placed in service at Lewistown on the Middle Division, replacing “J” Block Station in the tower of the passenger station.
Jan. 1, 1905 Enola Branch, new freight line from Marysville to near Lemoyne opens; York Haven & Rowenna opens between Wago Jct. and Shocks Mills, including 2209-foot, 28-span brick arch Shocks Mills Bridge across Susquehanna River; portion lying west of west end of Enola Yard becomes part of Middle Division and remainder part of Philadelphia Division; Northern Central retains ownership of two main tracks through Enola Yard.
1905 Four-track system opens at Newport and between Granville and Mayes on Middle Division.
1905 East Altoona engine terminal opens; serves as freight division point between Middle and Pittsburgh Divisions.
1906 Four-track system opens between Granville and Mayes Bridge and between Vandyke and Mexico on Middle Division.
Early 1907 Four-track system opens between Vandyke and Port Royal on Middle Division.
Apr. 1, 1907 Divisional reorganization... Lewistown Division merged with Sunbury Division to form Sunbury & Lewistown Division (also given common officers with Shamokin Division).
Oct. 1907 Four-track system opens between Ryde and Vineyard on Middle Division.
Dec. 1907 Four-track system opens between Newton Hamilton and Mount Union on Middle Division; track relocated around Mount Union.
1907 Four-track system and new alignment opens between Tuscarora and Mexico on Middle Division.
Sep. 1908 Four-track system and new alignment opens between Vineyard and Newton Hamilton on Middle Division; completes four-track system between Harrisburg and Petersburg.
June 1909 New alignment opens between Mount Union and Ryde on Middle Division; completes reduction of grade to 0.3% and eliminates use of pushers on heavy eastbound coal trains.
June 16, 1913 Noel W. Smith appointed Superintendent of Middle Division, replacing C.A. Preston.
Nov. 1, 1913 Rockville (? or Harrisburg?)-Marysville ceded from Middle Division to Philadelphia Division.
1914 Automatic block signals placed in service between Denholm and Huntingdon, Pa., on Middle Division.
1916 Automatic block signals completed between Lewistown Jct. and Huntingdon on Middle Division.
1917 Hollidaysburg freight yard enlarged on Middle Division.
Feb. 1, 1918 PRR creates Assistant Superintendents for New York, Philadelphia, Maryland and Middle Divisions to cope with press of war business.
Mar. 1, 1921 Juniata Division abolished and merged into Middle Division.
Jan. 14, 1924 ICC orders PRR to equip Middle Division and Panhandle Division with ATC.
May 1, 1929 Tyrone Division abolished and merged into Middle Division.
July 2, 1930 Chief of Motive Power F. W. Hankins denies the request of the Timken Roller Bearing Company for a test of 100 hopper cars at passenger train speeds over the Middle Division; loaded coal cars are limited to 35 MPH on the Middle Division, and the test is seen as having no value to the PRR but potential propaganda value for Timken.
Apr. 20, 1931 Demolition of the Logan House in Altoona begins; Middle Division offices moved from second floor to the Silverman Building.
Oct. 16, 1931 J. B. Phelen to Superintendent of the Middle Division.
May 16, 1932 Lewistown-Milroy ceded from Sunbury Division to Middle Division.
Mar. 18, 1936 In the early hours, all four main tracks washed out at Barree on the Middle Division.
Mar. 21, 1936 Gap in the Middle Division at Baree closed and one track opened at 2:59 PM, the last break in the main line; east-west freight service restored later in the day.
Feb. 16, 1942 H.C. Hostetter to Superintendent of Middle Division, replacing Geggenheimer.
Feb. 24, 1942 Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Class T-1 2-10-4 No. 3018 (Lima, 1930) begins 5 days of tests on Middle Division; good operation at lower speeds makes it the prime candidate for copying by PRR.
June 28, 1944 PRR Board authorizes extending experiment with Union Inductive Train Communication System to through passenger trains between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh and to freight trains on Middle Division.
Feb. 1952 Baldwin-Westinghouse 4,000-HP oil burning steam turbine demonstrator No. 4000, aka the “Blue Goose,” begins six weeks of tests on the PRR hauling heavy mail and express trains up to 29 cars on the Middle Division.
1955 No. 3 track removed between “PORT” and “MIFFLIN” on the Middle Division, and No. 2 track made bi-directional.
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The following is a tour of the Middle Division Main Line, based on the 1945 edition of the Pennsylvania Railroad CT1000 -- List of Stations and Sidings.