Penn Central Mail Train Buffalo to Harrisburg

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Penn Central Mail Train Buffalo to Harrisburg

Postby JJJeffries » Fri Feb 23, 2007 8:18 pm

Hello All:

When passenger service ended on the Buffalo Line PC ran a dedicated mail train usually pulled by back to back E8s.

This service ended after the June 1972 Agnes Flood. Does anyone else remember this train?

Best,
Craig Johnson
Lock Haven, Pa.
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Postby TB Diamond » Sun Feb 25, 2007 11:01 pm

Do not personally recall this train, but the following is from the Penn Central ETT: General Order No. 438 dated 03-01-72 establishes Mail Train Nos. 12 & 13 Harrisburg-Buffalo. General order No. 446 dated 08-21-72 annulls both trains.
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PC Mail Train Buffalo-Harrisburg

Postby JJJeffries » Sun Feb 25, 2007 11:27 pm

Thank You for the reply. The train didn't last long. The powers rerouted the mail from Buffalo to NYC and back to Harrisburg. Another reason PC didn't work.

Best,
Craig
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Postby TB Diamond » Mon Feb 26, 2007 10:21 pm

The reroute was probably on Mail & Express Trains 5 & 6. Photographed train 5 at Rochester on several occasions. Always an interesting power consist of E7/8s plus a variety of mail and express cars with a rider coach or caboose bringing up the rear.
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Olean

Postby jr » Tue Oct 02, 2007 11:27 am

Craig,

I do remember seeing these pass through Olean. I was quite young, however (10/11 yrs).

The only significant thing that I can remember about them was the caboose. They had a (former) PRR cupola caboose that had a short extension of the carbody onto the back platform. I believe that they were PRR class N8 (?).

Anyway, I can remember my Dad remarking how nice those cabooses were, for the crews, on the fast mail trains. . .

JR
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Postby Otto Vondrak » Tue Oct 02, 2007 12:14 pm

Penn Central offered rider accomodations on the mail trains after the 1971 start-up of Amtrak?
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Just for the crew

Postby jr » Tue Oct 02, 2007 12:53 pm

Otto,

(Taking into account that I was a young pup at the time), I'm pretty sure that the caboose was for the crew, but not passengers. I know that they did not stop in Olean for paying passengers.

From my previous post:

Dad remarking how nice those cabooses were, for the crews


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Postby Otto Vondrak » Tue Oct 02, 2007 1:56 pm

Right, I guess I was confused by the very first first post...
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Passenger service ended on "A" Day

Postby Aa3rt » Sun Oct 07, 2007 2:36 pm

Passenger service between Buffalo and Washington (via Harrisburg, Williamsport & Olean) ended with the start of Amtrak in May of 1971. I'm not at home so can't dig up the train numbers right now, but do recall that at the end service alternated with a southbound train one day, northbound the next. I attended junior college in Williamsport from 1971-1973 and recall seeing many Railway Express refrigerators, baggage and RPO cars sitting in the yards in Renovo on my way to/from school.

EDIT Oct. 9, 2007 I dug out my trusty "Official Guide" from October 1968 and found that the northbound train was #3 with a scheduled departure from Harrisburg @ 11:35PM with arrival in Buffalo @ 8:15AM. The southbound was #30 with departure from Buffalo @ 9:00PM and arrival in Harrisburg @ 5:40AM. The trains would pass somewhere near Williamsport, with #3 arriving @ 2:20AM, #30 @ 2:40AM. The trains were still running daily as of Oct. 1968, but sometime between this date and May 1971 they had been reduced to an alternating day basis.

I recall a railfanning foray to Olean, NY on a cold, rainy day during Easter break in 1970 or 1971, specifically to see the southbound. The train was made up of an E unit, a RPO of PRR heritage and one coach.
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Re: Penn Central Mail Train Buffalo to Harrisburg

Postby Big E » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:48 pm

I am racking my memory to come up with a train number for a strictly "mail train", and cannot. Passenger/mail 570 and 574 ran south and East and 571/575 ran north and west. 573 ran weekend. I believe sunday. At JN (Emporium) 580 from Erie,Pa. cut off their power and set it in the roundhouse on East Alleghany Ave. 574, a late night train from Buffalo, would pick up 580's train and proceed on east. In the early morning hours, 575 would do the reverse and have 581's train taken from their make-up and go to Erie. I was working JN the last night that 580 ran.

I worked CT tower at Keating where the NYC "Hooker Line" came in from Clearfield, for 7 1/2 years on second trick. I got 3 rd trick JN on a bid.

Going to CTC or centralized traffic control closed all of these towers and our offices on Seneca St. in Buffalo and these personnell went to Williamsport.
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Re: Penn Central Mail Train Buffalo to Harrisburg

Postby ExCon90 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 3:24 pm

I believe that trains 3 and 30 listed in the 1968 Guide were the connecting trains to and from New York. No. 3 was the Penn Texas, and No. 30 was the Spirit of St. Louis; these were the connections at Harrisburg for the night trains 575 to Buffalo and 574 from Buffalo (known to PRR employees in Buffalo as the "Super Creep," 570 and 571 being the "Creep."
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Re: Penn Central Mail Train Buffalo to Harrisburg

Postby Noel Weaver » Fri Sep 09, 2011 8:17 pm

Funny I can not find any mail trains in my employee timetables of this period on the Harrisburg - Buffalo Line? I can not figure why the railroad would schedule any hot TV trains over that route when the major TV direction was east - west and they had decent east - west routes in both Harrisburg and Buffalo. Just wondering?
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Re: Penn Central Mail Train Buffalo to Harrisburg

Postby ExCon90 » Mon Sep 12, 2011 4:59 pm

Based on TBDiamond's post of February 26, 2007 above, it appears that the trains were established and annulled by General Orders issued during the currency of the same ETT; thus an ETT that is not fully stickered might have no record of the trains since they apparently never appeared in an original ETT.
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Re: Penn Central Mail Train Buffalo to Harrisburg

Postby Noel Weaver » Mon Sep 12, 2011 8:34 pm

ExCon90 wrote:Based on TBDiamond's post of February 26, 2007 above, it appears that the trains were established and annulled by General Orders issued during the currency of the same ETT; thus an ETT that is not fully stickered might have no record of the trains since they apparently never appeared in an original ETT.


I have both Eastern Region and Central Region Timetables with General Orders during this period, again no evidence of any trains after day one of Amtrak.
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Re: Penn Central Mail Train Buffalo to Harrisburg

Postby ExCon90 » Fri Sep 16, 2011 3:12 pm

I ran into a retired PRR/PC operating man yesterday, and he also has no recollection of a mail train between Harrisburg and Buffalo after 1971. It really is hard to see how it would have fitted into the PC mail-train pattern.
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