Here it comes! (Photo by Jack Hughes.)
—The September 2014 entry of my own
calendar is another photograph by my brother Jack Hughes.
It’s a view I’ve avoided,
mostly because my views down tangent (straight) track never work.
My brother made it work, mainly by letting the train get close enough.
Views to the south (railroad west) are backlit
if the sun is out.
That is, the front of the locomotive won’t be lit.
But I still think his picture looks pretty good,
enough for me to try the same view from other locations.
If the locomotive is backlit,
as it is here, we get modeling,
shadows on the locomotive.
And photography is good enough any more to look great
It’s not like years ago, when anything in shadow was pitch-black.
We were standing on an overpass in Summerhill, PA, where the view railroad-west is what we see; a long straight stretch from South Fork to Summerhill.
I have other views at Summerhill, mostly looking north (railroad-east).
There is an old Pennsy signal-bridge in Summerhill, and Norfolk Southern still uses it.
It makes a nice silhouette against the sky.
View north in the afternoon, and I lose the modeling, which is what I think makes this picture look excellent.
Looking south from this overpass I lose the silhouetted signal-bridge, but I still think Jack’s picture looks excellent.
I’ve seen another picture, not shot by us, that’s shot opposite from where I shot earlier, that silhouettes the signal-bridge, but mine includes a church = distraction.
I’d like to try that side. Maybe that view will be in next year’s calendar.The greatest railroad-locomotive OF ALL TIME. (Photo by John Dziobko.)
—Can there be an All-Pennsy calendar without a GG-1
The September 2014 entry in my All-Pennsy color calendar
is a GG-1 powered passenger-express threading Dock Bridge over the Passaic River into Newark (NJ) station.
Dock Bridge is one of the most intricate and impressive structures on Pennsy’s old New York City-to-Washington, DC line. A Port-Authority Trans-Hudson (“PATH”) commuter railroad river-crossing was also incorporated into Dock Bridge.
Dock Bridge also has an interlocking; the train is negotiating it.
Add overhead catenary (“KAT-in-air-eee;” the wire) and things get extremely complicated.
Seems like only Pennsy could afford such extravagance.
As I’ve said hundreds
of times, the GG-1 is the greatest railroad locomotive EVER.
A single GG-1 could put 9,000 horsepower to railhead,
and that’s 50-60 years ago. Current diesel locomotives are rated at 4,400 horsepower.
It couldn’t crank 9,000 horsepower continuously
without overheating the traction-motors. But it could do it long enough to rocket
a heavy train out of a station.
And the GG-1 is a Pennsy design, although not what was originally intended.
The GG-1 is Pennsy’s interpretation of a 4-6-6-4 New Haven electric locomotive. Pennsy built a 4-8-4 locomotive at the same time — sort of an eight-drivered version of its P-5 electric (4-6-4).
Pennsy expected its R-1 to be triumphant, but the GG-1 tracked better at speed.
Pennsy was so impressed they called in industrial-designer Raymond Loewy
to make the original GG-1, renumbered to the R-1’s number, #4800, look better.
Loewy convinced them to go with a welded
body-shell instead of riveted. He also dickered a tiny bit with the headlight and front body-door to give it a Cyclops-eye.The original Loewy paint-scheme. (Photo by Tom Hughes.)
Loewy’s GG-1 is gorgeous.
Old Rivets (#4800) still exists; it’s at Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
in Strasburg, PA.
Time to trot out my GG-1 pictures.
| “Old Rivets,” #4800, the original GG-1 with a riveted body-shell (as opposed to welded). |
I was lucky enough as a teenager to live hard by Pennsy’s New York-to-Washington line through northern DE, what is now Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor
I saw many GG-1s.
And it seemed every time I did they were doing 80-90 mph!
In 1959 when I was 15, I and my 16-year-old neighbor-friend, who was also a railfan, went up to Philadelphia to do some railfanning.
We had to get back, so we took Pennsy’s Afternoon Congressional,
Philadelphia to Wilmington (DE), our home.
By then the “Congo” was no longer a premier all-Pullman train; it had coaches.
Our train was powered by a single GG-1; 26 cars.Our train is behind that Baldwin switcher. (Photo by BobbaLew.)
It’s approaching Philadelphia’s 30th-Street station in the picture.
We boarded the train, and its engineer put the hammer down.
Off we went, boomin’-and-zoomin’.
Within minutes we were cruising at 80-90 per!
My second GG-1 picture is at Claymont (DE) commuter-station.STAND BACK! (Photo by BobbaLew.)
I had set up trackside with my father’s old Kodak Hawkeye camera.
The railroad is four tracks wide through Claymont, and I was expecting passenger-expresses to be on the inside tracks.No;
here came one at 90+ mph on the track I was next to. I was about 10 feet from it.
Had I not had my arm hooked around a cast-iron light-pole, I wouldn’t be here. The suction was tremendous.
And my father’s old Hawkeye managed to stop it, and its fastest speed was 1/125th of a second, not very fast.
That train was really boomin’;
it scared me to death.But I will never forget it;
and I managed to snag it.
My third and fourth pictures are of GG-1 passenger-expresses crossing Shellpot Creek.Over the creek. (Photo by BobbaLew.)On the flyover over Edgemoor Yard-entrance. (Photo by BobbaLew.)
My first is a GG-1 express crossing the Shellpot Creek bridge.
My second shot is a northbound GG-1 express over the flyover over Wilmington’s Edgemoor yard-entrance.
The flyover is just north of Shellpot Creek. Only Pennsy could afford flyovers.
GG-1 passenger-expresses weren’t too hard to photograph.But you had to be ready.
They’d sneak up on you, and all-of-a-sudden there it went!
They were also silent.
Electric-powered trains only make car-noise, not locomotive noise.
You dared not cross the tracks without looking both ways. And if you saw anything, like a headlight in the distance, you waited.
At 90+ mph that train would be on top of you in seconds. A “double.” (Photo by Don Woods.)
—The September 2014 entry of my Norfolk Southern Employees’ Photography-Contest calendar
is what my friend Phil Faudi (“FOW”-deee;” as in “wow”) calls a double —
two trains at once.
Phil is the railfan extraordinaire from the Altoona (PA) area who has led me on train-chases. He calls ‘em “tours.”
I’m a railfan myself, and have been since age-2; I’m 70.
Phil was doing it as a business at first; all of my first tours were with him as a business. He’d do the driving, railroad-radio scanner in his car. We would drive all over the area chasing trains. He also knew what was scheduled and when.
Phil had to give up his business; too many near-misses, and a newer car he didn’t wanna abuse.
So we’d chase trains in my
car with me
driving. It was no longer a business, but we enjoyed chasing trains.
But his wife has Multiple Sclerosis, and he’s worried about not being around if she falls.
So now he no longer leads me around in my car.
He stays home, yet monitors his railroad-radio scanner and calls my cellphone if I’m chasing trains myself.
This works pretty well; perhaps not as well as if we were together chasing trains — in which case we snag nearly everything.
Fortunately the railroad is busy enough to do well on my own.
So instead of him being in my car to suggest we go somewhere to beat a train, I often go to a location, call Phil, and he tells me if anything is coming.
He also can suggest I drive somewhere to beat a train.
This calendar-picture looks like something we’d shoot. It’s not especially inspiring, although Phil and I have snagged some really great
I don’t know as I’d use such a picture in my calendar, plus I’ve never been to this location, which is an ex-Pennsy stone-arch bridge over the Little Juniata (“june-eee-AT-uh”) River near Spruce Creek, PA.
The original Pennsy pretty-much followed the Juniata River Duncannon (Harrisburg) to Tyrone (“tie-ROWN;” as in “own”). From Tyrone it goes into Altoona, then crosses Allegheny Mountain.
At Spruce Creek the river goes around a ridge. Rather than follow the river, which would have been circuitous,
the railroad decided to tunnel straight through
As far as I know, it was the only tunnel on the original Pennsy beside the summit tunnel. There was another toward Pittsburgh, but that has been daylighted.
It’s a two-track railroad; it used to be three.
At Spruce Creek Pennsy had two
tunnels; one is now closed.
The second tunnel was added to accommodate the deluge
The remaining tunnel had to be enlarged to clear double-stacks.
Apparently both trains were stackers.
I like hearing Phil say “We’re gonna get a double, Bob” or “Hey Bob, look at this!”
I’ve snagged quite a few doubles — they’re fairly common on this line.
But to me a double is two front-ends;
with Phil a double may be a train passing another train.
So far I’ve snagged two front-end doubles, my first side-by-side, and my second face-to-face.My snag of the century! (Photo by BobbaLew with Phil Faudi.)BAM-BAM-BAM-BAM! (Photo by Jim Shaughnessy©.)
—The September 2014 entry of my Audio-Visual Designs black-and-white All-Pennsy Calendar
is the tower-operator, a woman, standing tall in the face of a pounding Pennsy Decapod (2-10-0), preparing to hoop up orders to the locomotive’s fireman.
The Dek is on Pennsy’s Elmira branch, where Deks fell into heavy use.
The Elmira branch is the old Northern Central line up into New York state that went through Williamsport from Baltimore and York, PA.
Pennsy got control of Northern Central in 1861.
The Elmira branch was tough;
it had grades,
and Pennsy was sending heavy coal-trains up to Lake Ontario at Sodus Point. A wharf was at Sodus Point where coal could be transloaded to lake-ships.
The Dek was Pennsy’s response to needing drag-engines.
The Dek is mainly driving-wheels.
Only one railroad had larger Deks: Western Maryland. And Pennsy had 475, a huge
Yet the Dek wasn’t that successful; it couldn’t move at speed.
That heavy siderod assembly pounded
the rail, and small drivers didn’t allow much counterbalancing.
That siderod assembly would also slam the locomotive cab up-and-down. 50 mph was only if you could stand it.
But dragging heavy trains slowly up torturous grades was perfect for a Dek.
The Elmira branch is now largely gone.
Segments remain, used by shortline railroads.
The wharf at Sodus Point burned;
it was a wooden trestle.
I don’t think the line to Sodus Point exists any more. A segment to Newark (NY) still exists operated by Ontario Midland
railroad, a shortline.
And the old line to Penn Yan (NY) still exists, operated by Finger-Lakes Railway
out of Watkins Glen (NY).
But taking coal from Williamsport up to Lake Ontario can no longer be done.
Standing in the face of a Decapod could be frightening,
but this lady is doing it.
If she couldn’t successfully hoop up orders, the train had to stop so someone could go back and get the orders.It happened.
Imagine doing it with a train hammering at you at 40-50 mph. That Dek is probably doing 10-20 mph.A 1970 AAR ‘Cuda. (Photo by Peter Harholdt©.)
—The September 2014 entry in my Motorbooks Musclecar calendar
is a 1970 AAR ‘Cuda (Barracuda), essentially the car raced by Dan Gurney’s All-American-Racers (AAR) in Sports Car Club of America’s (SCCA) Trans-Am series.
|#42 was the car raced by Swede Savage; Gurney raced #48.|
Other cars in the Trans-Am wars were the Z/28 Camaro, the Boss-302 Mustang, and AMC’s Javelin. Also a Dodge version of the AAR ‘Cuda, plus a couple Firebirds.
The AAR ‘Cuda was debatable.
As I understand it, this car’s firewall and roof were essentially the mid-size Chrysler car, Plymouth’s Satellite, and Dodge’s Charger.
An AAR ‘Cuda could be heavy
compared to a Z/28 Camaro or a Boss-302 Mustang. The Camaro is based on Chevy’s Nova, the Mustang on Ford’s Falcon — not the mid-size Chevelle or Torino.
Prior to 1970, the Barracuda was based on Plymouth’s Valiant. In fact, the first Barracuda came to market just before the Mustang.
But they lacked the Mustang’s long-hood short-deck look.
One has to also remember the pony-cars were essentially downsized NASCAR stock-cars.
They lack independent-rear-suspension. They still used the Model-T layout of a solid rear-axle with center differential — all of that suspended.
But if you firmly
located that rear axle with track-bars, as did old NASCAR racer Bud Moore with his Boss-302s, a Trans-Am racer could handle quite well.
Moore was using NASCAR practice. He was probably also cheating: his Mustangs were more aerodynamic.
A stock Boss-302 Mustang was nowhere near
as good as Moore’s cars.
SCCA’s Trans-Am was a joy to witness;
bellowing V8s at wide-open throttle.
And the AAR ‘Cuda contributed, although I don’t think it ever won a race.
Moore’s Mustangs and Roger Penske’s (“penn-SKEE”) Z/28 were that good.
During the summer of 1970 I witnessed a Trans-Am at Bridgehampton road-course out Long Island. (Bridgehampton is no more.)
The Moore Mustangs were front-row,
Parnelli (“parr-nell-EEE”) Jones on the pole, with George Follmer next to him.
Jones had won the Indy 500 in 1963.
I had stationed myself outside a blind downhill curve after the pit-straight, also the start-straight.
All-of-a-sudden Jones and Follmer were wide-open-throttle
as the race began.
They flew side-by-side over the top of that hill at 165+ mph!
Sparks flew as the cars’ rear-suspension track-bars bottomed on the pavement at the bottom of that hill.I will never forget it;
that’s goin’ to my grave.
As Jones used to say “If your car’s not outta control, you’re not driving fast enough.”
But I think the Penske Camaro won. Both Jones and Follmer dropped out.
And the Penske Camaro won without brakes; they had worn away.
The car’s driver was Mark Donohue, who had a lot to do with development of the racecar.
Before I stop, I think this car was in a previous Motorbooks Musclecar calendar, October of 2012.
Perhaps photographer Harholdt is burning out. I tried to find a 2015 Musclecar Calendar at Motorbooks, and didn’t find one.
Last month’s Boss-429 Mustang was a rerun.
You’d think a calendar-publisher would try to avoid reruns — I know I do.Gooney-bird. (Photo by Philip Makanna©.)
—I’ve never been able to think of the Douglas C-47
as much of a WWII warbird.
The 1941 Historical-Aircraft Group
in nearby Geneseo (“jen-uh-SEE-oh”) has one, their only remaining WWII warbird. They used to have a B-17, plus other WWII warbirds.
| “Whiskey-Seven,” the 1941 Historical Aircraft Group’s C-47.|
Their C-47 flew all the way to Normandy for the 70-year D-Day remembrance. Apparently paratroopers jumped out of it.
The September 2014 entry of my Ghosts WWII warbirds calendar
is a Douglas C-47, a “Gooney-Bird” (so nicknamed).
Apparently the Gooney-Bird is a warbird of sorts.
I’m told the Allies won WWII because of three things. One was the C-47 (DC-3); the others were the Jeep and the GMC six-by truck.
The C-47 is a little different than the DC-3 airliner; it had a strengthened floor and larger cargo-door.
The C-47 (DC-3) wasn’t really a warplane. It was more a transport.
Thousands of paratroopers jumped out of C-47s. In fact, the D-Day invasion was as much paratroopers jumping out of C-47s as invasion from the sea.
And of course the humble C-47 carried a lot more than paratroopers.
One of their greatest contributions was ferrying supplies over “the hump” (the Himalayas) into China.
Rehearsal for the Berlin airlift, although eventually larger planes came into use.
The C-47 (DC-3) was known as “the SkyTrain.”
|A TWA DC-3.|
You could say the DC-3 was the first successful airliner. Ford’s Tri-Motor saw airline service, but it was mainly the DC-3 that made airline service serious.
Essentially the DC-3 was the first nail-in-the-coffin of railroad passenger service — that is, using railroads to get across country.
The DC-3 was just the beginning.
Soon airlines were using bigger airplanes with more range.
Airports that could only accommodate the DC-3 became moribund
if they couldn’t lengthen their runways.
Before she got married my mother lived near the airport that was Philadelphia’s first airport, although it was in south Jersey.
But that airport couldn’t lengthen its runways. Philadelphia had to relocate its airport to where it is now, south of Philadelphia, where runways could be longer, and lengthened if need be.
Originally it was three
runways, but now it’s only two. The west-east runway couldn’t be lengthened, the Delaware River blocks it.
I’ve seen runways lengthened out over water, especially at New York’s JFK.
But doing that out into the Delaware River blocks river navigation. The Delaware can handle ocean-going ships.
The airport in south Jersey became moribund,
just small private planes, and RCA’s first executive airplane, a Twin-Beech
I think now that airport is gone.
I remember its hanger converted into a military-surplus store, but that is gone too.
The land was converted to suburban development. It was centrally located, and too valuable otherwise.
In 1958 jet-airliner service began.
The jets could cruise far higher than a DC-3, and a lot faster.
But the DC-3 remained in passenger-service a long time.
Mostly on short secondary hops.
DC-3s were also converted to Executive-service, owned privately
I’ve seen DC-3s converted to turboprop engines, with more modern empennage surfaces of different shape.
Only recently was the DC-3 downgraded from passenger-service, That was because they didn’t have the inflatable escape-slides found on modern jetliners.
The DC-3 is also a taildragger.
They had so much wing they only required about one-eighth the runway of a jet.
The DC-3/C-47 was also stone-reliable.
I’ve heard of C-47s taking off with a shorter DC-2 left wing, a battlefield repair.
The C-47 isn’t much to look at. Furthermore it’s slow —
But it was instrumental to the Allies winning WWII.Slammed ’40 Mercury coupe. (Photo by Scott Williamson.) —UGH!
One of the greatest-looking cars of all time UTTERLY RUINED.
The September 2014 entry of my Oxman Hotrod Calendar
is a drastically
chopped ’40 Mercury coupe.
|A stock ‘39 Ford five-window coupe.|
Ford’s ’39-’40 five-window coupe — and the Merc was about the same — is one of the BEST-looking cars of all time.
In other words: leave it alone!
Don’t chop the poor thing, or else you end up with what we have here: a travesty.
And Ford didn’t have the styling-section of General Motors.
Nor did it have a Harley Earl
, first head of GM’s styling-section.
What it had was E.T. “Bob” Gregorie
, along with Edsel Ford’s penchant to make Fords look good.
Old Henry thought styling a waste,
that what sold cars was function.
But GM saw that styling sold cars too.
The automobile market had moved beyond mere function; a car had to look good to sell.
And Old Henry was glaringly obstinate.
It was Edsel, his only son who he badmouthed as a dandy, who made Fords look good, along with Gregorie, a one-man styling-department.
Chopping the top of heavily-curved coupe like this is a challenge.
Do that and you’re working sheet-metal this-way-and-that.
Another difficult top-chop is the ’49-’51 Mercury, the so-called “Jimmy-Dean Merc.”
|A “Jimmy-Dean Merc.”|
Here was another car that should be left alone.
I’ve seen radically chopped ’49 Mercurys, that look nowhere near as good
as this “Jimmy-Dean Merc.”
All this “Jimmy-Dean Merc” has is nosing-and-decking (probably), and fender-skirts.
“Nosing” is to remove the hood-ornament, and fill in its mounting-holes.
Same with “decking;” remove the ornamentation, and fill in the holes.
Just about every young car-owner in the ‘50s was doing this, and it looked great.
Even on a turkey Chevy or Buick.
Chopping the top of a Model-A or ’32 Ford was fairly simple.
All you were doing is chopping vertical side-window surrounds, sheet-metal around the rear window — also fairly vertical — and windshield-posts, not far from vertical.
Start hacking away at a car like this, and you’re left with panels that no longer meet.
But of course there were body-men that took on the challenge.
I once saw a Jimmy-Dean Merc that had been radically chopped, and lowered, and channeled, and sectioned.
“Channeling” is to fabricate channels into the car-floor, so the car-body can be lowered on its frame-rails.
“Sectioning” is to hack out body side-sections, so the doors, for example, are shorter bottom to window-sill.
The car was so radical
it had to be driven from where the back seat had been.
Plus it was so low
it scraped lower body-sills just getting out a driveway.
Which brings to mind I wonder about getting this thing out a driveway.
I bet it scrapes its running-boards.
I bet it’s a trailer-queen,
never used on the highway.
The ’39 Ford five-window coupe with a modern V8 engine looked much better,
and could be used on the highway.
Labels: Monthly Calendar Report