Discussion relating to the PRR, up to 1968. Visit the PRR Technical & Historical Society for more information.
  by XC Tower

As a young boy in grade school (McKinley School), from the play ground while waiting to go inside when classes started, there would always be a Pennsylvania mixed freight parked to the east in the distance, viewed through the trees of McKinley Park. With a cascading metallic clanking and booming sound, the train would start moving west (north) farther into the yard facilities at OD (Outer Depot) with a PRR N-5 caboose on the rear. This was the early 1960's, so sources to ask here are getting rarer by the passing day.
Years ago, a former PRR employee told me that the train was parked on the "Passenger Main", making for even more curiosity in me.
Can anyone direct me to where I can find train information and schedules from the PRR at this time period? If I am correct, the PRR coal & ore docks at the harbor were both closed by 1960 from the effects of the St. Lawrence Seaway's opening, so any originating traffic in Erie would have been light. The PRR's Erie & Pittsburg line southwest out of the harbor would have still been going as was the Philadelphia & Erie to the southeast. Along with that, the branch from Brocton, NY, still went through Corry, PA, crossing the "P&E" there with its Buffalo, NY and Pittsburgh, PA connections. (I asked about the PRR's "BeeZ'er freights (do pardon the spelling) between Buffalo, NY, thru Erie to points southwest earlier, which may have still been running then). The Pennsy's railroad line network was still operational, but in its last days before the Penn Central disaster hit.
Thank you for any help in putting more understanding to my PRR memories from early boyhood.

  by ExCon90
I don't think there ever was an official spelling of "beezers," since the term was only used in spoken conversation; in writing they were always BEZ-1 (Buffalo-Erie-Canton) and BEZ-2 (reverse). Those trains came off with the completion of the expanded Conway Yard in 1958, or perhaps a few years earlier, since the project spanned 1956-58. After that, traffic between Buffalo and the west moved over trains symboled (I think) CBF 1-/2, 3/4 to and from Conway via the Salamanca Branch and Oil City. I believe Erie traffic moved over the E&P to and from Conway.

As to information sources, the PRR Technical & Historical Society has a lot of material, but I don't know if anyone is in a position to look things up in response to inquiries. The PRRT&HS website has a chronology, compiled by Chris Baer of the Hagley Museum, of minute details of events involving the PRR and other railroads. I don't know whether there is a search function, but you can call it up by year and scroll down to see what turns up. (Be prepared to be distracted by a lot of other interesting stuff, and try not to forget what you were looking for originally.)
  by XC Tower
My thanks again, ExCon90, for your help and tip to check out the information from the PRR Technical & Historical Society, which I will certainly do to turn back the hands of time.


  by XC Tower
As a follow up on "Beezer's", my pal, Gerry K., mentioned to me during one of our last conversations that they were "long trains", forty or fifty cars, which were broken up in Warfel Yard, one of the three small yards south (railroad east) of the New York Central's Water Level route, rather than the Pennsy's yard "down at the Lake", along the facilities along the harbor in Erie. Also, the "E & A" (Erie & Ashtabula) guys crewed them when the train continued west from Erie over the 14 miles of trackage rights on the NYC from DJ (Dock Junction-CP89) to connect with the Erie & Pittsburgh line at Miles Grove, PA (now known as Lake City) Another note is that at Dock Junction, located on Erie's west side, the PRR had a yard (former E & P) divided into two smaller parts: one for coal, the other ore.
I will share more information from my notes from past conversations with him, sharing and reliving his days on the PRR.

  by urr304
I believe that the coal and ore operations were curtailed in Erie due to the Commonwealth's taxation. I did read where the car pushers used at the Erie docks were moved to Cleveland's Whiskey Island.

A number of years ago, the PRR-E&P Yahoo group had a narrative that in 1949, the PRR already had a surplus of EH-15 units [F-3 with 50MPH gearing] due to their better than anticipated performance on the Pittsburgh Div. They assigned two A-B-A sets to those Beezer's. They were able to run without steam helpers at the 4 or 5 places normally used. Only needed a L1 'helper' on the 14 mile NYC trackage rights due to ATS equipment. It was quite a demonstration of new efficiencies, and it was most likely first PRR road dieselization outside of mainline activities that were started the year before.

The Beezers's certainly had the most adventurous route.

When PC formed, they rerouted the BF5&6 to E&P until 1970.