Discussion relating to the PRR, up to 1968. Visit the PRR Technical & Historical Society for more information.
  by cascade siding
Emporium, Pa. has always been a special place for me going back to visits starting in the 1960's for family and trains(!) What type of steam locomotives and diesels have used to help the freights up over Keating Summit? (I posed this topic on another forum, getting some fascinating information on what Conrail used.)
Thanks for any help.

  by urrengr2003
PRR used three RS-3's (ARS-16) in multiple for first generation diesel power. Went to three SD's (various EF-xxa) for second generation power. Keating only place on Central Region to use 18 motors to push unrestricted freight trains; Main Line was restricted to 12 motors on both East & West Slope Helpers. Grain & Ore (Mineral Trains) got additional helpers on the Main Line but always in 12 motor sets. As late as 1978 could never determine why the additional 6 motors at Keating; always told when inquiry made, " it's a PRR Rule." This was inconsistent with engineering designs between the track at Keating & the East & West slopes between Altoona & Conemaugh. Many frogs used in the interlocking plants on the main line had guards on the field sides cast 1" higher than normal frogs & guard rails were set to be 1" above the plane of the gauge. This was done because the PRR recgonized that high buff forces resulted in lateral pressures that actually raised wheels and this was an atempt to protect against this when high compressive forces resulted from trains being pushed. Although no interlockings shoving up Keating, there facing point switches involved and over these trains were routinely subjected to the buff force of 18 traction motors

  by Rick F.
Here's a steam era story. Helper not a pusher.

It seems that an Erie RR. passenger train was detouring over this line through Keating Summit. The engine the Erie was using was a 2900 series USRA heavy Pacific equipped with a booster engine. These engines were very similar to the PRR's K-4s.

The Pennsy dispatcher wanted to tie on a Pennsy H class engine in front of the 2900. Don't know for sure what it was, could have been anything from an H-6 to an H-10. Reason for this was that a K-4s couldn't handle a train of this size over the hill.

The Erie engineer refused the helper saying that he didn't want to have to push the old teakettle up over the hill. The Pennsy DS allowed the 2900 to go it alone and topped the grade at 29 mph.

Just an old story. I really don't know ALL the details. Each RR had pride in it's own company and equipment.

Rick F.
  by alcoiowa
I was Motive Power Foreman at Emporium in 1963-1964. The helpers were usually 4 RS-3's and one of them was usually 8445, dynamic brake and steam generator, high short hood. I don't remember a restriction on number of traction motors, however, there was a maximun of 6600 horsepower allowed on the Helpers. That allowed 2 RS-11's to be in the consist. Quite often the head-end power would be 2 road units with the 4 unit Helper on the rear. The Emporium Helpers would also push Southbound trains from AR Tower.
In addition to the Helper servicing every day, Emporium Enginehouse serviced the E-8 that came down from Erie every evening.
It was an interesting time.

Fred Cheney
  by Anchorman
Hey Alcoiowa - where was AR tower? Just confused when you say they shoved trains south when based out of Emporium.
Also - at that time - was Buffalo Yard used for anything else other than engine service? Were any cars switched there and if so for where?