PRR Operations at Erie, PA Questions

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PRR Operations at Erie, PA Questions

Postby XC Tower » Thu Apr 16, 2015 2:53 pm

I have some childhood memories of the facilities in Erie on the old Philadelphia & Erie line (roundhouse, turntable, huge coal tipple etc). I know the PRR had at least two passenger trains, #580 and #581 over the P & E that lasted until 1964 0r 65. Were there through freight trains scheduled over the "P & E" down to the "lake" then up over the old "E & P" (Erie and Pittsburg) via NYC trackage rights to west of Girard, PA (Miles Grove?) then south (the reverse of this also)? Somewhere I head a train name "the BZer" (or close to that). There were three yards: O.D. (Outer Depot) on the P & E, the one near the harbor (I've never heard a name for that one), and Dock Junction(?) on the old E & P that I knew of. There were steep grades both over the P & E coming up out of the harbor (plus the long climb out of town south or railroad east) on Erie's eastside, as well as on the E & P to the west. Pushers used in each direction.....Fascinating stuff, but mostly before my time.
Does anyone have information on these questions or where answers can be found?
Thank you for any help.


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Re: PRR Operations at Erie, PA Questions

Postby ExCon90 » Thu Apr 16, 2015 5:33 pm

I worked as a trace clerk in Buffalo in 1961 and was told that prior to the major enlargement of Conway (late 1950's?) there were trains designated BEZ-1 westbound and BEZ-2 eastbound, known as the Beezers, from Buffalo to Canton, Ohio, via Erie, in each direction (presumably the Z designated Canton). I don't know the exact route, but in addition to serving the yard at Erie it would have had to get to and from the E&P to reach Canton. Once Conway was up and running everything went that way.
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Re: PRR Operations at Erie, PA Questions

Postby XC Tower » Thu Apr 16, 2015 6:07 pm

Thank you, ExCon90, for your information. I imagine the Beezer's routings were between Buffalo to Brocton over the joint NKP/PRR trackage, then south to Corry, PA, onto the P & E, where the train would head "west" to Erie (past "A" Tower. which still stands). I'm not too familiar with the E & P, but could the routing to Canton have turned off of it at New Castle, PA, then west to Canton, Ohio?
Once again, I do appreciate your help.


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Re: PRR Operations at Erie, PA Questions

Postby ExCon90 » Fri Apr 17, 2015 1:46 pm

Since those trains had stopped running by the time I got to Buffalo I never had occasion to follow their progress, but that would seem to be the most likely. I imagine some special crew agreements were necessary to run a route like that.
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Re: PRR Operations at Erie, PA Questions

Postby XC Tower » Sat Apr 18, 2015 1:23 pm

I do appreciate the help in answering one of my questions going back down memory lane.
Doing some research, I did find some information on a possible routing of the Beezer to Canton. Possibly on the E&P to New Castle, PA, then west thru Youngstown, OH(?) to Niles, OH, then west to Canton, OH.
Under Penn Central, I read that the scheduled freights over the E&P were split up to Erie-Wheatland, PA, then Wheatland to Conway. There was another two scheduled between New Castle, PA and Canton, OH.
I wonder if this was a carry over from what the PRR did in the 1960's over the E&P? One memory from the mid-1960's was a short mixed train pulled by two PRR F-units with only 4 or 5 cars ended by an N-5 caboose going west up out of the harbor on the E&P. What struck me was that I'd seen the same train parked on the old "passenger main" of the P&E the day before!





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Re: PRR Operations at Erie, PA Questions

Postby XC Tower » Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:59 am

This thread and my memories prompted me to go visit a friend, which I don't do often enough....One of living history who's hiring date on the PRR was September 19th, 1940. He retired in 1980 at age 60. Now in a retirement home, his mind and memories are sharp, although as with all of us over time, his body weakens, but the inner man is strong. Once we started talking about the railroad, the decades melted away, as did our years, for age doesn't matter among friends (aren't we all 25 years old on the inside?).
When I asked about the BEEZer's, he told me that all the switching for them took place in the yard facilities on the P&E (O.D., Ribblets, and the "Bush" apparently there were three yards south of the NYC main). The yard at the "Lake" was for coal and iron ore basically. On the E&P (which he referred to as the "E&A", Erie & Ashtabula), Dock Junction, located just north of the NYC main on Erie's west side, was also for ore and coal. He did say that the E&A men took the BEEZer's in and out of Erie to the west.
He's like taking to a local history book on "what was" in railroading. Just fascinating stuff! I'll add some of his other recollections into my Erie memories thread.



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