I remember as a young kid going to a scrapyard in Blawnox, Pa, (a few miles up the Allegheny River from Pittsburgh's Golden Triangle) and looking at Pennsy's newest steam power waiting for the Scrapper's Torch. My Dad took these pics and I have them as 8X11 enlargements which he (and I when I was older) processed in his darkroom.

Approaching Blawnox there  was a clear view of the scrapyard. In this pic you can see there are two rows of T1s:

                          IMG_0299

Notice that the Main Rods were torched and removed so these engines could be towed dead:

                         IMG_0301

 

                                    IMG_0294

 

                                   IMG_0295

My big brother and me up to hijinks:

                                 IMG_2862

                                    IMG_0300

 

 

This operation took some time as I am clearly younger (perhaps a year?) in one photo. I look 4-ish in this pic so 1954 and 7-ish in the one where I'm climbing up the ladder:

                                     IMG_0293

And that's it. I seem to recall a pic of the boiler backhead and if I find it I'll add it to this album.

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Last edited by geysergazer
Original Post
gunrunnerjohn posted:

Cool pictures, too bad they didn't save at least one of them.

I know. The T1s were arguably the most advanced steam power ever built and they are lost to History. I guess everyone at PRR just wanted to forget they ever existed.

Wonderful, yet bittersweet, photographs. Got a big kick out of the two little guys peeking out of the nose cone. What superb machines - built just a little too late in the steam era, and without sufficient time to work out the kinks in the design.  

In my younger days (the 1950's), the T1's were just too far out for my taste. About 1980 saw a Sunnyside Shop O Scale T1 at Bill's Hobby Shop in Park Ridge, IL (predecessor of Hill's Hobbies), and became a life-long fan.

Lew, those are great photographs, sad as it is none were saved.  You are just enough older than me to have seen steam, though you were pretty little.  I believe the Mallets were still running on the B&O through Valencia and Mars at that time.  I would have been too little to have noticed.

Today if your dad didn't get in trouble for trespassing, he certainly would have been in trouble for letting kids climb all over them!!  

geysergazer posted 
The T1s were arguably the most advanced steam power ever built... 

Well, no. But they were indeed outstanding, if rather poor performers, on balance. They looked wonderful, though, like they were from Mars. NYC Niagaras they were not, but they might have been, without all that slipperiness.

Scrapping T-1's and Niagaras and Hudsons and SP AC-9's and all the rest (not just RR-related) amounts to cultural crime. GM demolished the home of the modern diesel-electric locomotive, too, probably to make room for a Chevrolet Chevette assembly line in the 80's. In the US, this passes for "progress". It is not.

D500 posted:
geysergazer posted 
The T1s were arguably the most advanced steam power ever built... 

Well, no.

I agree, i.e. "no". I'll vote for the N&W J Class and N&W A Class locomotives as the "most advanced steam power ever built, in AMERICA. The South African Rwys "Red Devel" 4-8-4 was arguably the "most Advanced" steam locomotive.

But they were indeed outstanding, if rather poor performers, on balance. They looked wonderful, though, like they were from Mars. NYC Niagaras they were not, but they might have been, without all that slipperiness.

Scrapping T-1's and Niagaras and Hudsons and SP AC-9's and all the rest (not just RR-related) amounts to cultural crime. GM demolished the home of the modern diesel-electric locomotive, too, probably to make room for a Chevrolet Chevette assembly line in the 80's.

Now just what is THAT supposed to mean???

In the US, this passes for "progress". It is not.

 

D500 posted:
geysergazer posted 
The T1s were arguably the most advanced steam power ever built... 

Well, no. But they were indeed outstanding, if rather poor performers, on balance. They looked wonderful, though, like they were from Mars. NYC Niagaras they were not, but they might have been, without all that slipperiness.

Scrapping T-1's and Niagaras and Hudsons and SP AC-9's and all the rest (not just RR-related) amounts to cultural crime. GM demolished the home of the modern diesel-electric locomotive, too, probably to make room for a Chevrolet Chevette assembly line in the 80's. In the US, this passes for "progress". It is not.

It is my understanding that much or even most of the poor performance was because of poor training. Those things would produce 6,000HP and would go into wheel-slip at nearly any speed if the throttle was not handled correctly. Also, at speeds over 100mph the poppet-valves hammered themselves to death and more than a few Hoggers habitually ran them well over that speed out Warsaw-way. I guess you could call it poor performance to design a locomotive capable of such speeds but with certain components not capable. I wish I still had my collection of Trains magazines because they did an article on the T1s and interviewed people who ran them and worked on them. IIRC the writer's take was that no one ever learned how fast this things would actually go.

The truth is that yes, of course they were poorly designed poor performers as was any steam locomotive designed/built after the nation-wide testing and blooding of the EMD FT set. The fate of steam in yard service was already decided and the FT doomed steam in any kind of road service as well.

Last edited by geysergazer
Mark Boyce posted:

Lew, those are great photographs, sad as it is none were saved.  You are just enough older than me to have seen steam, though you were pretty little.  I believe the Mallets were still running on the B&O through Valencia and Mars at that time.  I would have been too little to have noticed.

Today if your dad didn't get in trouble for trespassing, he certainly would have been in trouble for letting kids climb all over them!!  

Mark, I do remember riding behind those big articulated B&O EM1s on excursion trips out of Pittsburgh. Sooner or later I'll put up a topic with the pics Dad took on those trips.

Ya, those were different times when being on railroad property was much more OK than it is today.

Oh, I found a couple more pics of the scrap-line.

In this one you can clearly see how the Main Rod was torched:

                        IMG_0302

My Brother must have taken this pic of Dad and me.

         IMG_0303

With more skirting gone you can see some of the automatic lubricator plumbing.

        IMG_0304

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Last edited by Rich Melvin

Great photos and an important part of history preserved for all to remember.  Thank you!

Lew, I worked in the industrial park on the hill above Blawnox in the late '70s.  Occasionally I went down to the store on Freeport Road at lunch time.  I knew the PRR followed the river, well Conrail by then.  I never knew there had been a scrap yard there.  I wonder what was there at that time.

Mark Boyce posted:

Lew, I worked in the industrial park on the hill above Blawnox in the late '70s.  Occasionally I went down to the store on Freeport Road at lunch time.  I knew the PRR followed the river, well Conrail by then.  I never knew there had been a scrap yard there.  I wonder what was there at that time.

Mark, Roomie's Dad was from Blawnox and her Mom was from Aspinwall.

Having spent a good portion of my career in historic restoration, it pains me to look at these photos and think about the amazing marvels we once had.  They're lifespan was certainly short, in the big picture. 

The cover of my 1947 PRR Timetable:

                                 IMG_3688

When this timetable was printed the decision had already been made to convert all PRR Varnish to Diesel Electric power.

ON EDIT: This is the 1947 timetable, not 1949, which explains the T1 on the front cover. In '47 the T1 was first-line power. The decision to go Diesel for the varnish came in 1948. 

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Last edited by geysergazer

Great photo's THX for sharing, Sad that one was not preserved and it would have sat real well in the PRR museum in Lancaster.

The front cover of my 1947 PRR Timetable:

IMG_0316

 

 

Spread inside the front cover is this artwork depicting a row of T1s:

        IMG_0317 [1)

And a couple pages later is this gem:

                    IMG_0318

The back cover:

       IMG_0315

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Lew,

 Thanks for sharing your photos, even though it was the sad ending of a beautiful locomotive. 

Tom

Lew,

These are amazing shots! It's clear that the railroad and trains were part of your life from the very beginning. It is also evident that dad had a lot to do with it. These pics are precious items in every way. Thanks for sharing the memories with us all.

Dave

Cool pictures and thanks for sharing them. It really does show another era, these days wandering into the scrapyard like that  would likely at the very least get someone nastily telling you to vacate the premises, trespassing, etc. Very different time, back then if the kid fell and hurt themselves the scrap yard wouldn't face a lawsuit, someone like your dad would rack it up to the kid had an accident. 

As far as the scrapping of these being a cultural crime and the like, the problem is things are often seen in hindsight not seen at the time.  I remember my mom talking about things that became hot collectors items, like comic books and even more mundane stuff, like the log cabin syrup can that became a bank (from the 1930's), that became a big collectors item? How many of us in the day put baseball cards in the spokes of our bikes that later on went on to become valuable? I wish that they had saved some of the Hudsons and T1's and the like, but at the time they were depreciated, worn out assets that they could get some money for in scrap. A lot of the engines that were preserved (and this is just my view, others probably know a lot more than I do) seem almost to happen by luck, an engine wasn't immediately scrapped , sat rusting away someplace, and by then the nostalgia for steam already had happened. Some of them were preserved/saved it seems to me because by the time railroads had almost gotten rid of steam, they realized it was the end of the era and saved them (or someone else realized it, and somehow got the railroad to sign them over).   

Think about when you own a car and it comes to the point where you decide it is too old to sell it, doesn't have any other value to you, so you junk it. Lot of cars like that were junked that today are classic fetching a lot  of money (my parents had some cars, like an olds 98 convertible from the early 50's, a 1939 LaSalle, that would be worth a lot today, my mom's uncle offered them a custom 1928 Cadillac convertible (there were like 7 or 8 of them built) with an aluminum hood and other unique features, that car today would likely be priceless..but who thinks of that? Even with the destruction of Penn Station while there were people at the time who realized what was being lost, it was a station owned by a railroad that was bankrupt in a time when it seemed that trains weren't going to matter in the day of the plane and car, a station that needed a lot of maintenance and repair and was expensive to operate, and where the company could make a lot more money selling the air rights by knocking it down.  It is sad, it also is one of the reasons why things that have historical meaning or practical public use should not be the province of immediate financial need (and why landmarks laws came about, that certain things help define a place), but in the end all of us make decisions we regret based on the practicalities of the time

bigkid posted:

As far as the scrapping of these being a cultural crime and the like, the problem is things are often seen in hindsight not seen at the time. 

EXACTLY!  Also,the railway preservation movement was in pre-infancy at the time.

Even today, it takes a well-organized group to secure a locomotive for preservation.

Rusty

One must always view the trials&tribulations&demise&scrapping of the T1s in the context of the then Gorilla in the room: the Diesel electric locomotive and the EMD line in particular. Even before the War EMC was advertising 5yr amortization of it's switchers and proving it, along with 50% savings on maintenance and 80% fuel savings. By 1940 when the barnstorming 11mth test-run of the FT demonstrator set was complete the fate of steam in any service was sealed. After the War when materials-shortages ended and EMD was able to ramp up production. Everyone but a couple holdouts wanted basically everything EMD could build. The cost savings of Diesel electric over steam was astonishing: a revolution, and no one had much thought at all for what had been the biggest, fastest and most modern just a few short years previous. No one devoted any time to looking back because they were scrambling to adapt to this new wonder that required no roundhouses, hostlers, ash-pits, water towers, water treatment plants, 30day boiler inspections, periodic MANUAL boiler scrapings/cleanings, giant coaling towers, giant Backshops (where craftsmen rebuilt one-at-a-time basically one-of-a-kind (well, several of a kind) machines each slightly different than others) or even the Firemen themselves. The T1s and their ilk were good-riddance for the Generation that fought the War and then came home and created the economic boom of the Post-War era. Those people were in a hurry to get on with it so they missed some things along the way.

Rusty Traque posted:
bigkid posted:

As far as the scrapping of these being a cultural crime and the like, the problem is things are often seen in hindsight not seen at the time. 

EXACTLY!  Also,the railway preservation movement was in pre-infancy at the time.

Even today, it takes a well-organized group to secure a locomotive for preservation.

Rusty

Would "pre-infancy" be the embryo?

Yeah about preservation, if only. There are so many things that we'll never see that should have been. The list is a very long one especially for the younger generations. The only thing that can be done(short of rebuilding by miracles) is to appreciate what is still out there and make dang sure we can keep those. I still wonder what the T1 Trust can do and how long it would take. I do believe there was a post some time back around when I joined talking all about it. It would be nice, that's for sure.

Lew - those are great pictures for all the reasons stated by others - probably the best reason is spending the time exploring with your Dad.  My two favorites are the one of you climbing up the ladder and the one of you bent over peering through the drive wheel spokes -- the latter is really very artistic -- great composition and shot by your dad.

I'm in no position to argue with Jack (aka hot water) - I would have thought that the last series of UP FEF's would be pretty high on the list of advanced steam power.  I read somewhere that one of their attributes was a very high availability - in contrast to the low availability (i.e., spending a lot of time in the shop) that was an almost generic bugaboo for steam.  Having had the opportunity to be 'engineer for a day' at the Roaring Camp and Big Trees RR, what impressed me the most is how much of firing and driving a steam engine is seat of the pants acquired skills - it would be hard to write a manual that captures how you actually do the job - especially the fireman... err, fireperson...

The preservationist instinct is double edged -- yes, sometimes we don't know what we had until its gone (isn't that a song title...?). On the other hand, it would be hard to imagine having railroads still under coal- or oil-fired steam, just from an air pollution point of view, not to mention fuel efficiency, etc.  I went to undergrad school in Pittsburgh, PA (CMU) in the mid-1960's, when the steel mills were still in full force (though looking back on it, they were on the ragged economic edge).  Pittsburgh now is much prettier city though the big downside was (and I think still is, to some extent) the loss of good, well-paying union jobs (that were also hard and dangerous work).  This is a dilemma we continue to face as new technologies and new ideas replace older ones (we probably don't consider some of the downsides of those "advancements" as carefully as we should...).

All that said, I'm happy we do have a preservationist instinct (even if sometimes too late) - the resurrection of UP's 4014 is a fantastic example, as is the preservation of Grand Central Station (thanks, in part, to Jackie K. O.).  Now if I could only find that can of buggy whip polish...

geysergazer posted:

Oh, I found a couple more pics of the scrap-line.

In this one you can clearly see how the Main Rod was torched:

                        IMG_0302

 

One thing I really enjoy is the sheer enormity of the wheel to you. I remember when my father was hauling stone at the quarry(I have no idea how old I was) but we stopped in and they had those big trucks with the big tires hauling from one part of the quarry to the other(at least I guess that what they were doing). In my mind and opinion, those trucks don't compare to that of these trains, not even a bit. 

pennsyfan posted:

This bummed me out to the point I had to run my T1 today.

https://youtu.be/smLxB25z9UQ

Nice looking loco and layout.  One suggestion, if I may.  If you made the film using your cell phone, hold it horizontally.  You will get a better video, in my opinion.  

I just re-read the Wiki article on the T1s and this bit caught my eye:

Most T1s were degraded to power secondary train when the PRR Board decided to dieselize all first-class prime train in 1948. Some of them were withdrawn from passenger service as early as 1949. All of them were out of service by 1952. All T1 locomotives were sold for scrap between 1951 and late 1955. The last engines were towed westward for scrapping in early 1956. 

Wikipedia articles are Public Domain and thus OK to quote with citation.

This statement is certainly in agreement with Dad's photos as I look to be from about age 4 (1954) to age 7 (1957) in the pics.

 

This pic intrigues me and I'd like to know the back-story:

               PRR-T1

I have permission to post this photo under Creative Commons guidelines. Library of Congress owns this Jack Delano photo.

I'm just guessing here. The dissipating horizontal steam cloud tells me the train is in motion. The dense vertical column of steam tells me the Hogger grabbed too much throttle and, as the T1s were wont to do, it spun out. This was taken in 1943 and is the prototype T1 so no one had enough experience to know how easily they would spin-out. I remember mention in a Trains Mag article about the T1s that they were so free-steaming (very high horsepower boilers) that they would even spin-out at speed if too much throttle was used.

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Lew,

While I can't be certain, that T1 looks to be departing Chicago's Union Station.  That tall building in the background would be Chicago's Main Post Office which was built over the station tracks.  Sidings to far right in picture held RPO cars to be unloaded underneath that building.

Chuck

As a point of continuing education...

Geysergazer, when a locomotive loses traction and spins the wheels, it is called a “slip.” The term “spun out “ was never used to describe this event.

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