PC Freight Train/Staion Designations

Discussion relating to the Penn Central, up until its 1976 inclusion in Conrail. Visit the Penn Central Railroad Historical Society for more information.

Moderator: JJMDiMunno

PC Freight Train/Staion Designations

Postby RiverLine » Mon Jul 05, 2010 2:47 pm

I've been looking through a PC New York Region Time Table and notice the designations of freight trains such as NS-1, VW-6, and SV-40. I thought I heard that the letters indicated the origin and destination of the train while the number indicated direction (?) Is this true, and where might one find a list of the letter codes?

Thanks for any help!

RiverLine
RiverLine
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 2:38 pm

Re: PC Freight Train/Staion Designations

Postby shlustig » Tue Jul 06, 2010 5:21 pm

There was a separate publication which was the book of freight train and terminal symbols and schedules which included all through and local freight assignments.

Updates were published monthly.
shlustig
 
Posts: 1325
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 9:11 am

Re: PC Freight Train/Staion Designations

Postby Noel Weaver » Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:13 am

I dug out a Penn Central freight book from 1969 or so but unfortunately Penn Central had too many yards and other points
for the available letters to make any sense so for example "N" could be: Cedar Hill (old NHRR symbol), New York (west side),
NE for New England freight to and from the south via the River Line and former PRR, NS-1 - Cedar Hill - Potomac Yard, NS-3
Cedar Hill - Springfield, NY-2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 were eastbound trains from Chicago, St. Louis, Indianapolis or Elkhart to
Selkirk, Dewitt or New York. There were other "N" symbols in this book for other destinations as well.
"SV" trains were generally flexi van or trail van trains on the former New York Central between various points. I did not find
an SV-40 in the book.
"V" was generally the symbol for Selkirk (I was told that this dated way back to the days before Selkirk when they had a yard
of some sort in Ravena and was originally a West Shore symbol. The book I have only shows 4 trains with a "V" symbol out
of Selkirk but in later Penn Central years there were River Line trains with VE-1 (Selkirk - Enola), VW-1 (Selkirk -Weehawken), VP-3 (Selkirk - Waverly which was the most hated train on the division by the crews), WV-2 (Weehawken -
Selkirk), EV-4 (Enola - Selkirk) and probably others as well. There was also a train VN-4 which ran from Selkirk to New York
although I never worked that train and indeed never worked the line down the West Side.
Eventually after Conrail had taken over and operated this system for a while they changed all of the designations for all of
the freight yards and terminals to a two lettered code word. When this happened Selkirk became SE, Oak Island OI, Enola
EN, Rutherford RU, Croxton CR, Oak Point OP, Elkart EL and Columbus CO. There were many more than just the ones that
I have listed here and you needed the book to figure it out.
The Conrail system was a good system and it lasted all the way until the CSX takeover after which they went to numbers
and I have no idea just how they work today.
Noel Weaver
Noel Weaver
 
Posts: 9333
Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 9:33 pm
Location: Pompano Beach, Florida

Re: PC Freight Train/Staion Designations

Postby RiverLine » Wed Jul 07, 2010 5:07 pm

Thanks guys! Noel, the designations for the Selkirk/ Weehawken were particularly helpful, thank you!
RL
RiverLine
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 2:38 pm

Re: PC Freight Train/Staion Designations

Postby Penn Central » Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:24 am

Noel Weaver wrote:"V" was generally the symbol for Selkirk (I was told that this dated way back to the days before Selkirk when they had a yard
of some sort in Ravena and was originally a West Shore symbol. The book I have only shows 4 trains with a "V" symbol out
of Selkirk but in later Penn Central years there were River Line trains with VE-1 (Selkirk - Enola), VW-1 (Selkirk -Weehawken), VP-3 (Selkirk - Waverly which was the most hated train on the division by the crews)


VE-1 was the most hated train when I worked on the West Shore. It was a mixed freight that we would take to Waverly and hand over to the PRR crew, although I never made it that far as I always outlawed on that train. On one trip with VE-1, we went into emergency just as we entered the West Point tunnel. The brakeman walked back and came up to the head end and said that we had to see what had happened. A rusty old gondola in the middle of the train had broken in the middle and collapsed on the rail. The line would be closed for half a day until a wrecker could remove the car. We cut off the head end of the train and made it to Haverstraw, where we outlawed on that trip.
User avatar
Penn Central
 
Posts: 466
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2004 8:19 pm

Re: PC Freight Train/Staion Designations

Postby RiverLine » Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:00 pm

A gon that breaks in the middle. Geez! I was going to ask why the VE-1 was so hated. A terminology question: what does "outlawed" mean?

Thanks!
RL
RiverLine
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 2:38 pm

Re: PC Freight Train/Staion Designations

Postby Noel Weaver » Tue Aug 03, 2010 12:12 am

Penn Central wrote:
Noel Weaver wrote:"V" was generally the symbol for Selkirk (I was told that this dated way back to the days before Selkirk when they had a yard
of some sort in Ravena and was originally a West Shore symbol. The book I have only shows 4 trains with a "V" symbol out
of Selkirk but in later Penn Central years there were River Line trains with VE-1 (Selkirk - Enola), VW-1 (Selkirk -Weehawken), VP-3 (Selkirk - Waverly which was the most hated train on the division by the crews)


VE-1 was the most hated train when I worked on the West Shore. It was a mixed freight that we would take to Waverly and hand over to the PRR crew, although I never made it that far as I always outlawed on that train. On one trip with VE-1, we went into emergency just as we entered the West Point tunnel. The brakeman walked back and came up to the head end and said that we had to see what had happened. A rusty old gondola in the middle of the train had broken in the middle and collapsed on the rail. The line would be closed for half a day until a wrecker could remove the car. We cut off the head end of the train and made it to Haverstraw, where we outlawed on that trip.


You're thinking of VP-3, VE-1 was a straight Enola train with Camden, Morrisville and Enolas on it. Mostly empties and operated with through diesel power. VP-3 had Waverly and
I don't remember what else on it but it was a hated train. I did not shed any tears when they shut Waverly down not too long after Conrail took over.
Noel Weaver
Noel Weaver
 
Posts: 9333
Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 9:33 pm
Location: Pompano Beach, Florida

Re: PC Freight Train/Staion Designations

Postby Allen Hazen » Wed Aug 04, 2010 1:06 pm

Riverline--
"Outlawed," in this context, means reached the legal time limit for a day's work on the railroad. The "hours of service" regulation isn't a union or railroad company rule but a Federal government regulation, not to be violated lightly (I believe there is some provision for exceptions in case of "emergency," but emergency is construed strictly). If, for whatever reasopn, a train has not reached its destination by the time a crew "outlaws," it has to stop where it is until a relief crew can be ferried out to take it over.
(I'm a railfan, not a railroader: if I've missed some nuance, I hope those better informed will correct me!)
Allen Hazen
 
Posts: 2332
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 10:14 pm
Location: Edmonton, Canada (formerly Melbourne, Australia)

Re: PC Freight Train/Staion Designations

Postby RiverLine » Thu Aug 05, 2010 7:45 pm

Ah! Thanks Allen. I was somewhat aware of the regulations regarding time but hadn't heard it expressed as "outlawed" before.
RL
RiverLine
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 2:38 pm

Re: PC Freight Train/Staion Designations

Postby QB 52.32 » Sat Sep 11, 2010 6:38 am

Noel Weaver wrote:"V" was generally the symbol for Selkirk (I was told that this dated way back to the days before Selkirk when they had a yard
of some sort in Ravena and was originally a West Shore symbol.


As I understand it, the "V" used as Selkirk's symbol during PC days stood for "Vorheesville".
QB 52.32
 
Posts: 683
Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2008 8:05 am

Re: PC Freight Train/Staion Designations

Postby shlustig » Sat Sep 11, 2010 7:44 am

"V" = Selkirk, derived from the former West Shore major yard at Ravena which was replaced by the original Selkirk Yard.

"VO" was the designation for Voorheesville Tower.
shlustig
 
Posts: 1325
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 9:11 am

Re: PC Freight Train/Staion Designations

Postby QB 52.32 » Sat Sep 11, 2010 2:13 pm

Because a NYC/PC/CR block operator/DS/STO told me that Selkirk's "V" designation in PC's train symbols stood for "Voorheesville", I'm surprised to hear that it instead stood for Ravena. Is there a source out there that can confirm this one way or the other? Thanks.
QB 52.32
 
Posts: 683
Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2008 8:05 am

Re: PC Freight Train/Staion Designations

Postby Noel Weaver » Sat Sep 11, 2010 9:55 pm

QB 52.32 wrote:Because a NYC/PC/CR block operator/DS/STO told me that Selkirk's "V" designation in PC's train symbols stood for "Voorheesville", I'm surprised to hear that it instead stood for Ravena. Is there a source out there that can confirm this one way or the other? Thanks.


You got a good answer from the last entry. V stood for Selkirk period. I worked there, i know and SHL worked there, he
knows too.
voorheesville was the location where the D & H crossed the West Shore and is well west of Selkirk.
Noel Weaver
Noel Weaver
 
Posts: 9333
Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 9:33 pm
Location: Pompano Beach, Florida

Re: PC Freight Train/Staion Designations

Postby QB 52.32 » Tue Sep 14, 2010 1:23 pm

I'm questioning how Selkirk came to be designated with a letter "V", whether by a derivation from the West Side yard at Ravena replaced by the original Selkirk yard, or, whether because of its proximity or some kind of relationship to Voorheesville, as I was once told by an experienced NYC/PC/CR employee who came up through the ranks as an operator, dispatcher, and STO. While I agree that the Ravena reason sounds more credible, I don't think that it's unreasonable to be curious if there's been anything written about this in a book, magazine, company literature, etc. above and beyond hearsay. Afterall, the designation probably occurred almost 100 years ago and Voorheesville is only about one rail mile farther away from Selkirk than Ravena.
QB 52.32
 
Posts: 683
Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2008 8:05 am

Re: PC Freight Train/Staion Designations

Postby 262 » Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:24 pm

My guess is could these be the old telegraph call letters.Many commonly used place names used one or two letter codes.To save time not sending the whole word,and cost when using commerical systems.With a limited alaphabet the letter codes often were all ready taken so the code may have none of the first two letters of the actual place.
262
 
Posts: 129
Joined: Sun Apr 11, 2004 9:13 pm


Return to Penn Central

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest