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

  by CSX ENG
Penn Central SW9 #8999 had an unusual cab window arrangement on the fireman's side. The window was arranged whereas there were two separate window sashes/frames as opposed to one. Anyone know the reason why the railroad ordered it this way or why EMD offered it?

  by NYC-BKO
Looked in the PC power book and found that SW-7 8883 had the same arrangement, both of NYC heritage, that would be a window each for the fireman and brakeman, possibly a local union agreement where they were assigned, hopefully someone here knows the real reason. Don't know if it was built that way or modified by NYC.

  by CSX ENG
NW 2 #8807, #9275, SW7 #8854 and #8884 also had this unique window arrangement.

  by Noel Weaver
Seems to be an odd arrangement on the part of the former New York
Central when they ordered their diesel switchers.
There were some Alco S-2's or S-4's, I don't recall just which model they
were, with the control and brake stand in front of the front window. These
would not be too bad for an engine that was for example working a hump
and only handling cars on the "F" end but it was a royal pain when being
used in a yard with cars behind the engine. I don't know how many cabs
were arranged this way but I remember one or two at Oak Point in the
Noel Weaver
  by ChiefTroll
I don't have a reference to the unit number(s), but I have seen a photo of one of the NW-2's that the NYC bought from the NYO&W estate in 1957, with the two-window arrangement on the left side. The photo was pre-Penn Central. That would indicate that NYC converted the windows on some of those units. The O&W didn't have any like that.

One possible reason would be a reduction in glass area in the cab. The engineer really needed the large window to lean out and catch signals, but the need wasn't that great on the fireman's side. At the same time, NYC was welding plates over the upper cab-end windows in the RS-2's and 3's. The purpose was either to reduce sun glare in the cab, or more likely to reduce the chance of broken glass from projectiles propelled by miscreants, or both. That might also have been the reason for converting some of the EMD's to dual side windows.

I remember having one of those NW-2's (but I don't remember the number) on a work train on the T&OC out of West Columbus toward Thurston in the summer of 1966. The dual windows were not a problem for that operation because nearly all the signals were given on the engineer's side. If we were in a left-hand curve, the fireman could get out on the "porch" and relay signals.

The engineer got bored and he wanted to get some exercise, so he went on the ground and helped the track gang dump the ballast cars while I ran the engine for a while. It was easy, but it took some leaning out of the window to see everything. I was the Supervisor of Track at Thurston at the time.

  by ChiefTroll
I found the photo and reference to one O&W NW-2 that gained the dual cab windows on the NYC. It was NYO&W 123, then NYC 9508, NYC-PC 8691, and Conral 9268. CR retired it on June 11, 1983, and traded it to EMD on an SD-50 order. The photo on page 77 of Bob Mohowski's "New York, Ontario & Western in the Diesel Age," was taken at Collinwood on October 12, 1968. The 8691 was still lettered for NYC, but it had gone through the NYC renumbering of early 1966 in preparation for the merger.

It is possible that the entire cab might have been replaced, because it also has two steps in front of the fireman's door, instead of the one step used by the O&W. Or, maybe the NYC added the step and changed the window arrangement.


  by SRS125
Maybe the cab was wrecked in an accdent? What if this is some how or maybe a home built cab by the railroad?

Maybe these engions were used in locations where high rates of crime lingered and haveing 2 seprate smaller windows made it harder to brake from a distance if someone was throwing rocks?
  by gawlikfj
It seems it would be better visibility and to let more light into cab.

  by RSD15
This month's "Diesel Era"(nov/dec) has part 4 a of a SW7 article,this month includes NYC,PC,CR.
from what i have learned there it appears the cab modifications were done as early as 1955.it looks like four items were changed,the firemans side windows,the extra step,two middle front windows blanked out,and rear lower firemans side window blanked out.some numbers on SW7s that got the modifications are,


during PC and CR at least some units had the center front windows re-installed and i`m shure not all four mods were done all together all the time.


  by CSX ENG
Thanks to you and all the others for contributing to this tread! Still would like to know the exact reason why the NYC needed this odd window arrangement. Sure would be nice to get some retired NYC men to help us answer this question......

  by charlie6017
Did you cross-post this to the New York Central forums? You may have some luck there.

  by nessman
I don't know about the dual fireman side windows, but one theory I heard floated around was that the upper windows on the front and rear of the cabs were blanked out with sheet metal as part of the order because the RR didn't feel the option was necessary due to the fact that many first-generation diesel road engines had a high engine hood and a high nose (i.e., RS-11, GP-7, SD-9, etc...), so the crew wouldn't know the difference... so they applied the same theory to their order of switch engines.

My guess is that future consideration for crew comfort/safety in switch engines led to the placement of 360 degree glass in later orders.

  by CSX ENG
Found photos of SW8 #8606 and 8619 also having these windows....

  by CSX ENG
PC/Conrail SW7 #8911 can also be added to this list.