Penn Central Mail Train Buffalo to Harrisburg

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Re: Penn Central Mail Train Buffalo to Harrisburg

Postby pugsley720 » Sat Sep 17, 2011 9:41 pm

I grew up in the Village of Cameron along the Buffalo Line and can recall this train in question. Normally passed our house near MP 155 (now MP 126) abound 11:00 am, made up of short containers on flat cars, "US Mail" on the containers, usually normal freight road power on the point, don't recall seeing many E or F types on the line after the late 60's. Always wondered about this train because it was so different from the usual freights and coal drags.
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Re: Penn Central Mail Train Buffalo to Harrisburg

Postby jr » Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:28 am

Just received confirmation from a former PRR / PC / CR engineman from Olean. His note follows:

While I don't recall the exact time frame,the fact is they did have a Interdivisonal Mail train on for a short time in the '70s.The symbols were Mail 12 South and Mail 13 North.Mail 12 came out of Buffalo in the morning,and they had a little over 300 miles to go to Harrisburg,and they were 8 to 12 hours doing so.Mail 13 came out of Harrisburg the next morning.Their power was usually six axle road power,but you would see E-8s once in a while.The train didn't last long because as you know the trackage in the '70s ( PC days )
was full of slow orders,and it became difficult to make it all the way to Harrisburg.

An aside to that,I was set back to Fireman at one point while these Mail Trains were on and made up my mind I was going to bump the job as the Fireman was a younger man( senority wise ). When I called the Crew Dispatcher at Buffalo to make my move he said are you older than Joe Kusnik,and I said no but he isn't on there is he? He said he is now,He just bumped the job a couple of hours ago. Joe was a 1948 man and I was a 1955 man so that shot my plans down.The jobs weren't on much longer anyway.If you know someone who has a PC timetable( I think there were 5 of them between 1968 and 1976 ) the Mail Trains should be listed in one of them.


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Re: Penn Central Mail Train Buffalo to Harrisburg

Postby RSD15 » Mon Oct 03, 2011 8:10 am

The trains 12 and 13 are listed in the Central Region ETT 5-1-1970.
trains listed as daily,
#12 left Buffalo 12:01am
ar Harrisburg 8:40am
#13 lv Harrisburg 5:30am
ar Buffalo 2:20pm
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Re: Penn Central Mail Train Buffalo to Harrisburg

Postby Noel Weaver » Mon Oct 03, 2011 2:19 pm

In 1970 the easternmost 188 miles of the Harrisburg - Buffalo Line was part of the Eastern Region, Harrisburg Division. I have the timetable for the Eastern Region no. 5 dated 5-17-70 with every general order posted in it as I worked in and out of Penn Station, New York during that period both as an engineer and as a fireman. The original pages show trains 574 and 575 as running every other day over this line and nothing else. They came off effective May 1, 1971 with the start up of Amtrak and an ink correction was ordered by general order no. 526 which took effect Saturday, May 1, 1971. At NO point during the effective period of this timetable were any mail or other first class trains operated between Harrisburg and MP 278.0. Not in the timetable and not in any of the general orders issued for this timetable.
I did not dig out my Central Region Timetable for this period which is also complete with general orders, I think I researched this issue once before and again came up with no evidence of such trains existing between Harrisburg and Buffalo.
I will be re-arranging my Penn Central employee timetables to one location and it will be easier for me to research issues like this one when that job is complete. It might take me some time to do this though.
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Re: Penn Central Mail Train Buffalo to Harrisburg

Postby TB Diamond » Tue Oct 04, 2011 1:26 pm

The information contained in my origional post to this thread dated 25 February 2007 came from a former locomotive engineer who has been a NAOTC director for many years and who owns a huge collection of ETTs. Back in the mid-1980s, at my request, he forwarded a two-page list of PRR/PC/CR G.Os. pertaining to the Harrisburg-Buffalo line.

The PC G.Os. were from Central Region ETTs. In addition to Central Region ETT No. 4 G.O. No. 438 dated 01 March 1972 which established Mail trains 12 & 13 Harrisburg-Buffalo and G.O. No. 446 dated 21 August 1972 which annulled those trains, he listed these other G.Os. among many others:

G.O. 403 dated 18 May 1970 single track N. Olean-S. Machias.
G.O. 417 dated 01 May 1971 annulled trains 574 & 575.
G.O. 421 dated 15 June 1971 Lock Haven tower closed.
G.O. 431 dated 17 November 1971 Machias tower closed; single track Gravity-Buck.

Having no reason to believe this man would make up any of the information he sent me so long ago, I present it as fact. I will maintain it as fact unless some person can prove beyond any doubt that G.Os. 438 and 446 never really existed.
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Re: Penn Central Mail Train Buffalo to Harrisburg

Postby Noel Weaver » Tue Oct 04, 2011 2:35 pm

TB Diamond wrote:The information contained in my origional post to this thread dated 25 February 2007 came from a former locomotive engineer who has been a NAOTC director for many years and who owns a huge collection of ETTs. Back in the mid-1980s, at my request, he forwarded a two-page list of PRR/PC/CR G.Os. pertaining to the Harrisburg-Buffalo line.

The PC G.Os. were from Central Region ETTs. In addition to Central Region ETT No. 4 G.O. No. 438 dated 01 March 1972 which established Mail trains 12 & 13 Harrisburg-Buffalo and G.O. No. 446 dated 21 August 1972 which annulled those trains, he listed these other G.Os. among many others:

G.O. 403 dated 18 May 1970 single track N. Olean-S. Machias.
G.O. 417 dated 01 May 1971 annulled trains 574 & 575.
G.O. 421 dated 15 June 1971 Lock Haven tower closed.
G.O. 431 dated 17 November 1971 Machias tower closed; single track Gravity-Buck.

Having no reason to believe this man would make up any of the information he sent me so long ago, I present it as fact. I will maintain it as fact unless some person can prove beyond any doubt that G.Os. 438 and 446 never really existed.


My problem is that my Penn Central employee timetables are in two different cabinets and on different shelves as well. Once I am able to locate and put all of them in one place, I'll be in a better position to research and either agree or disagree with you.
Please give me a little more time on this one.
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Re: Penn Central Mail Train Buffalo to Harrisburg

Postby RSD15 » Tue Oct 04, 2011 5:44 pm

RSD15 wrote:The trains 12 and 13 are listed in the Central Region ETT 5-1-1970.
trains listed as daily,
#12 left Buffalo 12:01am
ar Harrisburg 8:40am
#13 lv Harrisburg 5:30am
ar Buffalo 2:20pm


Noel your right this is a schedule change dated 6-1-1972 GO #443.
most of this can be found at
http://www.multimodalways.org/archives/ ... 0ETTs.html
look for Central Region ETT #4 5-1-1970.

Charles
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Re: Penn Central Mail Train Buffalo to Harrisburg

Postby Noel Weaver » Fri Oct 07, 2011 2:52 am

Thanks for your patience and I STAND CORRECTED. Mail trains 12 and 13 were estalished by General Order on the Eastern Region between Harrisburg and Kase. Train 12 passed Kase at 7:00 AM and arrived Harrisburg at 8:45 AM. Train 13 left Harrisburg 5:30 AM and passed Kase at 7:00 AM. General Order 712 effective 12:01 AM, March 31, 1972 established these schedules. I am missing general orders from 529 to 548 in Central Region Timetable no. 5 and this is what threw me off on this topic. I might have discarded these by mistake many years ago as I had a good source for these items all through that period. These trains also appeared in the Northeastern Region timetable no. 5 established by General Order No. 507 which took effect 31 days earlier on March 1, 1972, I don't have any answers for that. The two regions could not agree on a withdrawn date either; the Eastern Region Timetable General Order no. 810 took effect August 6, 1972 while Northeastern Region General Order no. 514 took effect September `1, 1972. I would tend to think that the earlier dates in both cases above are probably more likely to be correct.
According to the Northeastern Region Train 12 departed buffalo at 12:30 AM and passed Hubbard at 1:15 AM while train 13 passed Hubbard 1:00 PM and arrived Buffalo 1:45 PM.
It took me three days so far to re-arrange my Penn Central timetables and I still have not finished the job. I hope to re-arrange my Conrail timetables in this project too although that will likely be more work. This is one reason that I have not posted on here since Tuesday.
Again, Thank You for your patience. This project reminded me just how bad things were on the Penn Central in the 70's, slow orders all over the place, stuff being taken out of service and the railroad was basically falling apart.
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Re: Penn Central Mail Train Buffalo to Harrisburg

Postby ExCon90 » Sun Oct 09, 2011 2:07 pm

I just realized I ought to post a belated thank you to RSD15 for that scan of those general orders -- it's fascinating to be able to go over those operating details from that period. I remember checking timetables and general orders back in the 50's and 60's to see what interlocked switches had been changed to hand-thrown, what double-tracked lines had been singled, what new speed restrictions were in effect, etc. You could practically see the railroad shrinking before your eyes.
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Re: Penn Central Mail Train Buffalo to Harrisburg

Postby Noel Weaver » Sun Oct 09, 2011 3:19 pm

ExCon90 wrote:I just realized I ought to post a belated thank you to RSD15 for that scan of those general orders -- it's fascinating to be able to go over those operating details from that period. I remember checking timetables and general orders back in the 50's and 60's to see what interlocked switches had been changed to hand-thrown, what double-tracked lines had been singled, what new speed restrictions were in effect, etc. You could practically see the railroad shrinking before your eyes.


Indeed, it was a very interesting if sad period. The slow orders alone would floor railroaders in today's operations. I spent hours reading the general orders for Northeastern, Eastern and Central Regions. The GO's are as interesting as the timetables themselves.
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