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Friday, January 20, 2012

PRR Main Line Survey 1985 Edition! Parts 3 and 4

No, I didn't go back in time, but with the help of YouTube we can do the next best thing.  There is a set of railfan head end videos taken in 1985 of the PRR Main Line taken from the cab of Amtrak's westbound Pennsylvanian.  I am in possession of Part 1 from PENN to STATE, but in a wonderful twist of good fortune parts 3 and 4 have popped up on YouTube.  Part 3 runs from Huntington to Johnstown and part 4 runs from Johnstown to Pittsburgh.

In the mid 1980's the PRR Main Line was still in the good old days where the old line signal departments were trying to keep the heritage styles consistent on the main.  There is not a single color light style signal to be seen throughout this entire video.  However, the CTC project from Johnstown to Pittsburgh had been in place for some years and the project east of Altoona is well under way.  However starting in Huntington, although the 3-track tower controlled line has been reduced to two, a few towers are still open (GRAY and HUNT) and pole lines are still in service on part of the route.  Of course between ALTO and C the block operation would be in service for another decade, but that two has largely disappeared with what NS' desecration of east slope so this video is a valuable resource there as well.

Perhaps the most useful tidbits are the original tower control MO and SO interlockings, and a view of what the RoW approaching Pittsburgh looked like before it had a busway plopped down on half of it (well, the 90's extension, not the original busway section).

Anyway, enjoy the movies.  I'll post the other parts if they ever become available.


  1. At about 52:45 on Part 3, the camera briefly zooms in on what look like Color Position Light signals at the Altoona yard. Too bad that most of the other signal aspects throughout the video can't be distinguished. Fun to watch, though, and interesting commentary from the crew.

    1. They are standard position lights with the red Stop lenses installed by Conrail / Penn Central. There are a few bright PLs in the trip, and the crew even notices how odd that is XD