The “Keystone Safety Express.” (Photo by BobbaLew with Phil Faudi.)
—I was chasing trains around Altoona (PA) with Phil Faudi (“FOW-dee;” as in “wow”) on June 26th, one year ago.
It was the last time I chased trains with Phil, that is, me driving with Phil in the shotgun seat with his railroad-radio scanner telling me where to go.
He calls ‘em “tours.”
Phil used to be the one driving me around, but gave it up due to a couple near accidents.
Phil then gave up riding with me since his wife has Multiple Sclerosis, and he was afraid of her falling.
But he still monitors his railroad-radio scanner at his house, and calls my cellphone.
Like me, he’s very much a railfan.
This picture was still Phil and me, and we went down to South Fork south of Allegheny summit.
South Fork is where Pennsy turned back west towards Pittsburgh.
Pennsy had marched west across PA with the Juniata river (“june-eee-AT-uh”) to Tyrone (“tie-ROWN;” as in “own”), a notch in the mountains.
And then it turned southwest toward Altoona, where it struck out across Allegheny mountain. After the summit it turned southwest again to South Fork, where it turned back west.
Pennsy is no more. Its railroad still exists, owned and operated by Norfolk Southern.
The line is very busy, as it was with Pennsy. It’s a major railroad route to and from our nation’s interior, one of two. The other is CSX’s ex-New York Central line.
We photographed a few freights, and then the train pictured appeared.
NS road-unit 6954, an EMD
SD60-E (a Juniata Shops rebuild of EMD SD-60s for Norfolk Southern), followed by passenger-cars from Norfolk Southern’s Executive Business Train.
Plus other passenger-cars in need of refurbishment.
Juniata Shops, ex-Pennsy, are Norfolk Southern.
“What’s this?” we both asked.
We later determined it was Train 975, a special movement, Norfolk Southern’s “Keystone Safety Express.” It operated all across PA to promote safety at highway grade-crossings. There are still many on the old Pennsy main, and since the line is quite busy you have to be careful.
That is, expect a train.
I’ve been frightened myself
along these tracks. I was up in Tyrone backing to turn around, and planning to cross the tracks.
But all-of-a-sudden here came a train,
horn blowing. I held back.
Other things were also promoted, like not walking along the tracks, or walking across the tracks.
Every once in a while someone is killed on CSX’s tracks through Rochester.
He was walking along the tracks, back to an oncoming train, with ear-buds in his ears so he could jive to his tunes.
He couldn’t hear the train’s horn.
All-of-a-sudden he’s hit from behind by the train. He never knew it was coming.
It seems ridiculous a railroad has to promote this stuff, but it’s like people don’t even think the railroad exists. Pride of the Luftwaffe. (Photo by Philip Makanna©.)
—When Hitler and his Nazis began marauding across Europe in the late ‘30s. they had the superior fighter-plane.
The July 2015 entry of my Ghosts WWII warbirds calendar
is a Messerschmitt Bf 109.
Hitler’s Luftwaffe reined supreme until the Allies caught up.
The Messerschmitt was pretty good, but the Spitfire
was better, and the Mustang
It took a while for the Allies to get rolling, but once they did the Luftwaffe was toast.
Messerschmitt production was also slowed by bombing.
I’ll let my WWII warbirds
site weigh in:
“In the mid-1930s, the Luftwaffe began to modernize its fighter aircraft fleet. A competition for new designs was held, resulting in at least four competitors.
Two designs were selected for further development, one being Willy Messerschmitt’s Bf 109, a single-seat derivation of his previously-successful Bf 108 design.
The first -109 prototype, powered by a 695-horsepower Rolls-Royce Kestrel engine, first flew on May 28th, 1935. The second prototype was fitted with the engine for which it had been designed, the 610-horsepower Junkers Jumo 210A. Pre-production prototypes had various combinations of armament and engines.
The first production model, the Bf 109B-1, was delivered in early 1937 to the JG132 “Richthofen” squadron, Germany’s top fighter unit. The new fighters quickly established a good combat reputation in the Spanish Civil War later that year.
The next production variant, the Bf 109C-1, appeared in the fall of 1937, and utilized a more powerful 700-horsepower Jumo 210Ga engine. Demand for the airplane was so great that it was built under license by four other companies, including Arado, Erla, Focke-Wolf and Fieseler.
By the time World War II began in 1939, the Luftwaffe had more than 1,000 Bf 109s in service, and it was to play a major role in all further fighter operations.
Allied bombing gradually slowed German aircraft production, but -109s were also built by WNF in Austria, and in Hungary.
During and after the war, Messerschmitt exported thousands of Bf 109s to Bulgaria, Finland, Hungary, Japan, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, the USSR and Yugoslavia. In addition, Spain’s Hispano company produced the Bf 109 under license beginning in 1945, calling it the HA-1109. Their HA-1110 and HA-1112 variants were two-seater and modified single seaters, respectively. Several engines were fitted, including the 1,300-horsepower Hispano-Suiza HS-12Z-89 and the 1,400-horsepower Rolls-Royce Merlin 500-45.
Yet another source of Bf 109 production was Czechoslovakia, where the Avia company supplied S-99 and S-199 variants, many of which remained in service until 1957.”
The Messerschmitt pictured has a Daimler-Benz DV605A engine rated at 1,475 horsepower.
As I understand it, this engine was fuel-injected,
so the airplane could do maneuvers that would starve
the carburetors of Allied fighter-planes.
Yet the Spitfire and Mustang were better airplanes.
Many Messerschmitts were built, 35,000, some by manufacturers in other countries under license.
|A Spanish-built -109 with Merlin engine. (Photo by Max Haynes.)|
Other engines were also used. The Messerschmitt pictured on my warbirds site is a Spanish-manufactured H1112 with a Merlin V12 motor, same engine used in the Spitfire and Mustang.
At least the Messerschmitt pictured is not converted to a Merlin or Allison.
I’ve seen Japanese Zeros with Pratt & Whitney engines. The original Mitsubishi radial was beyond
restoration, or would cost too much to restore.
I’ve even seen Texan trainers painted as Japanese Zeros.Horsey-horsey. (Photo by Brad Brenneman.)
—The July 2015 entry of my Norfolk Southern Employees’ Photography-Contest calendar
is a picture of a Norfolk Southern freight passing a horse standing in its pasture.
Photographer Brenneman was on his way to his parents for Fathers’ Day, when he noticed this horse standing in its pasture not far from the tracks.
He knew a train was coming because he heard it blow its horn for a nearby crossing.
So he stopped, but the horse began walking away. But then the horse stopped at this wet spot.Snap-snap-snap-snap;
Later when he viewed his pictures on his computer, he decided his horsey picture was a calendar-shot.
Well, okay; fabulous lighting, not a cloud in the sky.But the horse is just standing there.
I compare this to a video I was watching of restored railroad steam-locomotive Norfolk & Western #611.
|611 on 18th Street in Erie (PA). (Photo by BobbaLew.)|
611 and a railfan excursion pass a pasture with a horse. The horse gallops away in terror!
Diesel trains galore, but nothing ever like this.
Of course, it’s a video,
and Brenneman’s picture is only a still photograph.But the horse is just standing there.
I don’t think the picture is extraordinary.Darth Vader’s car.
—The car pictured above is so important
I can’t put the Jim LePore Musclecar calendar-
It’s a 1987 Grand National Buick, and has the 245-horsepower turbocharged V6. As far as I know it’s the only musclecar marketed during the ‘80s, although GMC marketed a Jimmy-truck and a pickup with the same motor called the “Typhoon” and the “Syclone” in the early ‘90s.
Both trucks were All-Wheel-Drive.
Neither was much of a truck, but both were based on GMC’s mini-truck.
Buick’s Grand National was very much a car,
a two-door sedan based on the Buick Regal.
The ‘80s was a turbulent
time for American car-makers. They were having to make smaller cars, anathema
to their big-car philosophy.
But Americans were buying smaller cars, mainly imports.
There also was conversion to front-wheel drive, the opposite of what had been marketed for eons, the Model-T layout, front-engine, rear-wheel drive with center differential in the axle.
The cost of gasoline was rising, ending gas-slurping musclecars with gigantic engines.
Pollution controls were also constricting performance. But automobiles were a chief polluter, so pollution controls had to be implemented.
The Grand National Buick can be said to be GM’s last hurrah. At least back then.
But now we have the new Corvette and Camaro.
A ground-pounding car in the ‘80s is significant,
although I can’t say a Grand National is as much a ground-pounder as an early ‘70s musclecar.
A turbocharged motor is more coming on the turbo at upper revs.
0 to 60 in 4.3 seconds. I’m sure it could lay rubber on startup, but where it came on strong is approaching 60 mph.Confusion reigns. (Photo courtesy Joe Suo Collection ©.)
—The July 2015 entry of my Audio-Visual Designs black-and-white All-Pennsy Calendar
is a Baldwin
RT-624 center-cab on Pennsy in Philadelphia.
The calendar says it’s Baldwin, yet my vaunted Pennsy-Power Books (Pennsy Power II, by Alvin Staufer), which I will never part with, says it’s Lima (“lye-muh,” not “lee-muh;” as in “lima-bean”).
This probably stems from the fact Baldwin Locomotive Works, and Lima Locomotive, had to merge during the onslaught toward dieselization by the railroads — in 1950.
Baldwin had been a long-time supplier of steam locomotives to the railroads, and tried to get into manufacturing diesel locomotives, but collapsed as demand for diesel locomotives withered.
Lima originally manufactured Shay locomotives for logging railroads, but got into side-rod steam locomotive manufacturing with its SuperPower concepts.
(Shays use a side-shaft geared to the trucks; cylinders mounted on the side of the locomotive rotate the shaft. The shaft has universal-joints in it to accommodate truck rotation. Shays work much better on rough track and steep grades than a side-rod locomotive, but are slow.
SuperPower was maximizing steam generation, so steam-locomotives were less likely to run out of steam, especially at speed.)
Lima also tried to get into diesel locomotive manufacturing.
Lima merged in 1947 with General Machinery Corporation of Hamilton, Ohio, to form Lima-Hamilton. Later Baldwin merged with Lima-Hamilton to form Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton (B-L-H). Hamilton was the supplier of the diesel engines.
This double-engine transfer locomotive is originally a Lima design. Two versions were built, one with General-Steel-Castings “Commonwealth” trucks (which the calendar-photo has), and one without. I think 5671 through 5683 were Lima, as were 8943-8951. At least I think so; my Pennsy Power book is vague.
What’s pictured is 8953, one of two Baldwin locomotives delivered to Pennsy without train-phone or multiple-unit capability.
8953 was stationed in Philadelphia, and 8952 at Conway Yard near Pittsburgh.
|Confused-confused. (Photo by Gene Colora©.)|
The Audio-Visual Designs black-and-white All-Pennsy Calendar published a photograph of 8965 and 8962 rounding Horseshoe Curve
in August of last year.Things are no longer making sense.
The Pennsy-Power book stops at 8951.
These double-engine behemoths are a lot of locomotive, 362,000 pounds (181 tons), 2,400 horsepower.
Excuse me, what I notice in this calendar-photograph is that light-colored Chevy fastback, looks like a ’51.
Of course back then, when this photograph was taken, such cars were quite common. But now you’d only see such things at car-shows, or in Cuba.
The locomotive is probably pushing the back end of a train. It has two standard Pennsy cabooses, and the rearmost is wood. Ditch the top. (Photo by Scott Williamson.)
—July 2015 entry in my Oxman Hotrod Calendar
is a lowboy 1929 Ford Model-A roadster, a quintessential hotrod.
Although I don’t think it looks that good. The “lowboy” look only works on chopped coupes. For me it doesn’t work on roadsters. The car looks “slammed.”
Raise it about four inches and I’d like it more. It’s not bad, just sitting too low.
I’d like it more without that top.
|No top. (Photo by Scott Williamson.)|
The calendar actually has three pictures, and one is without the top.
The car sits on a boxed ’32 Ford frame with extra crossmembers. The engine is a 283 Chevy with triple deuces and a Duntov cam.
That sounds drivable.
I’d love to cruise the streets in this thing, but without the top.
A friend, since deceased, was building a Model-A roadster hotrod much like this car. It even had the ’32 Ford radiator-shroud; it looked great.
It had a souped-up ’56 Pontiac V8, but he couldn’t get triple-deuces to work on it — it backfired through the carbs.
So he switched to a single four-barrel, which worked.
He never could finish it. The generator of a ’56 Pontiac V8 is 12-volt, yet everything on the car is 6-volt.Wiring problems galore,
and the poor guy was lost with wiring.
He had to sell; he was faced with a registration deadline.
Then he died.Pennsy’s would-be passenger engine pulls freight. (Photo by Mac Owen.)
—The July 2015 entry in my All-Pennsy color calendar
is two Pennsy E-5a (4-6-4) box-cab electrics pulling freight through Columbia, PA.
The train at left is stopped in siding, and the coal-train at right is passing.
The P-5a was supposed to be Pennsy’s passenger locomotive, except the GG-1
(“Jee-Jee-ONE;” I only say that because a friend was mispronouncing it “Jee-Jee-Eye”) being developed was so much better.
Rather than give up on the P-5a, Pennsy regeared ‘em down for freight service.
|Box. (Photo by BobbaLew.)|
|Steeple. (Photo by BobbaLew.)|
Two versions of the P-5a were fielded, a box-cab as pictured, and also a steeple-cab after a grade-crossing accident killed the crew.
The steeple-cab version puts the crew far back from the front. The GG-1 is also a steeple-cab.
I never did very well with the P-5a, and the P-5a’s are long-gone.
The only picture I got of a P-5a pulling a train is awful.
I did better at the Wilmington Shops sand towers. —I lived in Wilmington, DE, as a teenager.
This line to Columbia on the Susquehanna is the original railroad from Philadelphia. It was part of the vaunted Pennsylvania Public Works, a system of canals and railroads across PA meant to compete with NY’s Erie Canal.
(The Public Works System failed after PRR was built.)
The line eventually became Pennsylvania Railroad, which bypassed the Columbia line to more directly access Harrisburg.
Every mainline east of Harrisburg in PA was electrified by Pennsy, including this line to Columbia.
The line to Columbia became important after Enola (“aye-NOLE-uh”) Yard was built, since freight could more directly access Enola with a river-crossing.
Enola was installed because Harrisburg became a bottleneck.
But electrification of the Columbia line has since been de-energized, and the wire taken down by Conrail
. 1966 Lightweight Ford 427 Fairlane. (Photo by Peter Harholdt©.)
—This is not a bad photograph, but to me it’s a stupid looking car. Ford never really got a handle on the musclecar concept for looks.
About all that tell you it’s a musclecar are the badges ahead of the front wheels, and the scoop on the hood.
The July 2015 entry in my Motorbooks Musclecar calendar
is a 1966 Ford 427 Fairlane.
This car was supposed to compete with the G-T-O, but looks like a garden-variety Fairlane.
But inside is the monstrous
427 cubic-inch “side-oiler,” except the “side-oiler” was essentially a racing-engine, heavy, brutish and temperamental.
Ford was slow to achieve the musclecar concept, and I don’t know as they ever did.
What they developed were supercars,
aimed at winning the super-races at Daytona
(“tal-uh-DAY-guy;” as in “towel”) speedways.
|1969 Ford Torino Talledega.|
Cars like the Ford Talledega and the Mercury Cyclone Spoiler.
Both had special bodywork up front to make them more aerodynamic. The stock Ford musclecars had a scoop grille.
To me the best musclecars are General Motors, mid-size sedans with gigantic hot-rodded streetable engines.
The “side-oiler” wasn’t very streetable, but at Daytona or Talledega it could reign supreme.
GM musclecars didn’t dominate Daytona or Talledega. Only Chrysler was competitive, and that was because of the Hemi (“HEM-eee;” not “HE-me”) engine.
A Hemi might take the pole with side-oilers along side, but a Ford might win.
At least this calendar tells we what a side-oiler was.
A side-oiler had oil passageways machined (drilled?) into the sides of the block-casting.
But a Fairlane with a side-oiler? It doesn’t look the part. Drag-racers call ‘em “sleepers.”
Line a side-oiler Fairlane next to a G-T-O, and the Ford would probably win a drag-race. That’s a 427 cubic-inch racing motor versus 389 cubic-inches, and not a racing motor.
But the G-T-O sold way more cars.
It looked the part.
I’ve seen plenty of GM musclecars, but no Fords. I hope to see a Talledega some day, or a Cyclone Spoiler.
Labels: Monthly Calendar Report