Platforms at Penn Station, NYC

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Platforms at Penn Station, NYC

Postby Sean@Temple » Tue Aug 04, 2009 5:47 pm

I have read many book about the Pennsy and Penn Station but what always interested me was the platforms. Some are wide, some are skinny, what was the reason? Track 17 has two platforms? What was the original and later uses of the different yards at NYP? Also what is the purpose of the tail track between tracks 1 and 2 heading towards the east river tunnels? Sorry for the question spam but I haven't been able to find the answers on my own.

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Re: Platforms at Penn Station, NYC

Postby ExCon90 » Fri Aug 21, 2009 1:55 pm

I noticed that there haven't been any replies, so I e-mailed a friend of mine who was involved in Penn Station operations for a number of years, and this is what he came up with:

"In question 1 [about the tail track] you are describing the 'Kelly track.' It's apparently named after an engineer named Kelly who derailed either a yard engine or a yard move on that track. Among other things, it was also used as a penalty box. If the stationmaster was mad at a yard crew, he'd send them up to the Kelly track and let them sit there all night. It was apparently used as a 'for-now' track and somehow played into switching moves. [this next bit refers to a comment of mine about whether there was a station shifter ('switcher' on non-Standard railroads) and whether there was anything for a station shifter to do if plans were for everything to move to and from Sunnyside] Remember, no through train from New England ever got through Penn Station looking the way it did when it arrived. And Post Office cars were added to equipment that started in Sunnyside."

"I don't know about the narrow platform adjacent to Track 17. At one time, it was always used for LVRR trains."

He's going to ask around among some other people, and if he comes up with something more, I'll post again.
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Re: Platforms at Penn Station, NYC

Postby Schuylkill Valley » Tue Aug 25, 2009 2:57 pm

ExCon90 , your wish has been granted, Have fun all.

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Re: Platforms at Penn Station, NYC

Postby workextra » Tue Oct 27, 2009 2:39 pm

Tracks 17-21 were LIRR tracks, Seldom used by the PRR If the LIRR ventured below 17 track they had to pay a fine to the PRR.
Track 17 is the division point for Line 2. any higher track must use Lines 3 and 4.
Track 17 also has a single platform to the north, 18 track which has it's platform also to the north and has access to the 17 track platform to the south but cannot be used due to the locations of stairs and columns.
18 track is the only track in Penn Station NYC that has a platform on both sides, thought for reasons stated above only the north platform is used and labeled 18 track. Also track 18&19 has the widest platform in the station and was designed to be a commuter platform.
As stated in the previous post, the stub track between Lines 1 and 2 is indeed the "kelly" track named for an engineer who put the train into the block. (I guess he was trying to tunnel "line 5")
C yard was predominantly used by Long Island trains to lay up during the day in preparation for the evening rush.
E or D yard was mainly used by the PRR but I don't know for exactly what. The laying up of mail cars waiting to be loaded and un loaded would make sense but I don't know.
I don't know what A yard was used for. Remember in the PRR days you did not have the leads to the LIRR's west side yard and you did not have the "empire connection" so the yards stub ended in that open (soon to be covered) area west of the Farly post office.
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Re: Platforms at Penn Station, NYC

Postby ExCon90 » Wed Jan 27, 2010 3:24 pm

I think there was a thread quite a while ago (I can't find it now, and apparently this wasn't it) dealing with a question about the configuration of Tracks 1-5, with a slight curvature at the ends of Tracks 1 and 5 [visible in Triumph V, page 291] suggesting possible future construction of a third pair of tunnels under the East River. Apparently nothing appeared in accounts of Penn Station construction (at least nothing was reported on the thread, and I couldn't find anything) about such an intention. Then today, I found in Chris Baer's chronology on the PRRT&HS website (while looking for something else) a report that on October 28, 1935, Vice President Operations John F. Deasy informed President Clement that there is currently no need to build a third set of tunnels under 31st St. from Penn Station to Sunnyside but there is room to build under the new 6th Avenue Subway in future. That seems to explain the lopsided look of the track layout at the east end of the station.
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