Discussion relating to the PRR, up to 1968. Visit the PRR Technical & Historical Society for more information.
  by TheOldDessauer
Hello all; I am new to Railroad.net and am looking forward to talking about all things railroading with all of you.

I am a player of the video game Train Simulator from Dovetail Games. They have a blog called Engine Driver.com where players can submit proposals for locomotives, rolling stock, and routes that they would like to see made for use in the game. I am writing a proposal on the Pennsylvania J1 2-10-4, because I think it would be great to have for our Horseshoe Curve Route. I am almost done with the article, but I would like to finish it by contrasting the J1 with the Q2. The problem is that I am lacking specific information in regards to where each of the locomotives could "fit"'; that is, where they were assigned and regularly operated.

Specifically: I need detailed information about where each locomotive type could and did operate on the system.

1) I am aware that the J1 operated regularly Westward from Altoona, up and around the curve and on to Pittsburgh. Also, I know that they regularly operated across Ohio, Indiana, and on to East St. Louis. Was the J1 precluded from operating between Harrisburg and Altoona at all because of minimum turning radius, clearances, or axle loading? Did they in fact operate occasionally between those two terminals (I have not seen a pictures of them doing so...)? What about operating into Chicago?

2) My sources are poor on the issue of where the Q2 regularly operated. Some suggest because of its long, rigid wheelbase, that it could not easily fit thorough the curvature in mountain territory and so was moved to "straight track territory" West from Crestline for the majority of its career. However, I have seen short films of them drifting down HSC and that seems to contradict the assertion that they only operated across the flatlands of Ohio, and Indiana. So, any specifics about where the Q2's were assigned and operated and why they came to accumulate at Crestline would be helpful.

I am not a historian or professional writer. I am only a railfan, but I want this article to be factual and well written in the hopes of having it published online. All the better to get the J1 made for the game....

Any help in solving this conundrum would be greatly appreciated. :-)

The Old Dessauer
  by Allen Hazen
Probably Old Dessauer got his information elsewhere long ago, but...
According to a book on the Q-2 (by one E.T. Harley, who was an ex-PRR mechanical department man who had started with PRR after graduating from engineering school during the Q-2's period of use), there was a clearance problem (low bridges) that barred the Q-2 from the main freight routes from Pittsburgh to the east. But there was a way of routing them, not suitable for regular freight service, that allowed them to be sent to Altoona for maintenance.
Not sure what all the routes they were used on were. Most references seem to be to the Fort Wayne line: Harley reports a cab ride from Fort Wayne to Chicago.