Tuesday, October 18, 2011

52 Harrisburg

Milepost 104.9. Here is the Harrisburg passenger station built by the Pennsylvania Railroad in the 1880's. Today it is owned by Amtrak. Overhead electric wires supported above the tracks provide the power for the locomotives. Seen to the left is a locomotive prepared to push a string of passenger cars east to Philadelphia.

It is because the overhead electric power ends at Harrisburg that an initial passenger train service improvement might be made using a seamless transfer for motive power from electric to diesel electric. A locomotive design able to operate both from overhead electric power and as a  diesel electric locomotive is currently being operated by New Jersey Transit. Such a design could be applied to the Keystone Corridor West. Time consuming exchange of a straight electric to a separate diesel electric locomotive would be avoided.

The easiest service improvement would be to extend passenger service to Lewistown, PA using a dual electric - diesel electric locomotive. Doing so would serve the student population of Penn State.

Photograph showing the proximity of the Harrisburg Passenger Station to the Capitol Complex of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

51 Rockville

In 1902, the Pennsylvania Railroad completed a new bridge across the Susquehanna River at Rockville, PA north of Harrisburg, PA.  It was and is the longest stone arch bridge in the world and remains in use. The approaches to the bridge require a 30 mph speed. The proposed realignment by easing curvature shown in yellow would permit a potential 80 mph passenger speed. This is the last proposed realignment as the Harrisburg passenger station is 4 miles south at milepost 104.9. WHile the proposed alignment shows the existing bridge, a new structure should be built.
Looking east from vicinity of milepost 109.5 the 6 degree curve approach at the east end of the Rockville Bridge shows the need for a 30 mph speed limit.

 Here is the Pennsylvania Railroad's 1925 calendar illustration by artist Harold Brett showing an eastbound passenger train on the east end of the Rockville Bridge
Here is  Conrail freight westbound entering the 6.5 degree curve taking the railroad off the Rockville Bridge south of Marysville, PA. This in the vicinity of milepost 110.7
 This low level oblique aerial photograph shows an eastbound freight train on the Rockville Bridge. The locomotives are at about milepost 110. The foundations for the bridge that preceded the current 1903 Rockville Bridge can be seen diverging from the right side or upstream side of the bridge.

Here the proposed 80 mph realignment for the Rockville Bridge is shown in yellow. The original Pennsylvania Railroad alignment is shown in blue.  Looking west, Marysville, PA is to the right outside of the photograph.
Here a locomotive is seen eastbound in the vicinity  of milepost 109.5. This telephoto was made from the west bank of the Susquehanna River looking at the south side or downstream side of the Roackville Bridge. There is a reason for the bridge color below the center locomotive being beige rather than darker brown. In 1997 the stone wall failed causing a passing train to derail and deposit a number of coal hoppers into the Susquehanna River. The lighter beige color is due to the concrete used to repair the bridge. The concrete was poured into forms that duplicate the look of stone.
This is a detail of the stone construction of the Rockville Bridge. In 1997 a section of the south stone wall failed. The failure caused a derailment on the eastern end of the bridge with some half dozen freight cars falling into the Susquehanna River. There were no injuries.

50 Marysville

Through milepost 113.7 to milepost  112.5 the Norfolk Southern Passenger speed is 60 mph. The proposed realignment in yellow would allow a potential 80 mph passenger speed. It would require an estimated 200 foot cut through Second Mountain to achieve the realignment.

Monday, October 17, 2011

49 Cove

From Duncannon, the Norfolk Southern passenger speed is 35 mph at milepost 118.8. In order to continue the 110 mph realignment beginning at milepost 118.8 through milepost 115.8 the yellow line is a 1 degree curve allowing a potential 110 mph speed.
From the vicinity of milepost 115.6, artist Grif Teller for the 1956 PRR calendar created this landscape looking Northwest through the Gap of Cove mountain to the left and Peters Mountain to the right across the Susquehanna River below Duncannon in the middle distance. Shown is the "Aerotrain" built by General Motors. The prototype passenger train was not successful. In the era of jointed rail, too much noise and vibration entered the passenger compartments. The train was underpowered.  Here the Aerotrain is eastbound. Pictured westbound is the new trailer on flatcar freight train service.

48 Duncannon

The Norfolk Southern passenger speed is 65 mph. Reducing the curvature to a 1 degree curve on a bridge  or viaduct over the Suaquehanna River would permit  a potential 110 mph passenger speed. The highway bridge in the top center right of the image is Route 322 at Clark's Ferry, PA. Here the Juniata River joins the Susquehanna River.

47 Newport

The Norfolk Southern passenger speed is 66 mph. The proposed realignment in yellow from milepost 134.2 to milepost 124.5 would allow  a potential 110 mph passenger speed. Cuts as deep as 120 feet would be needed.

46 Millerstown

The NS passenger speed reduces to 55 mph in order to round the base of Tuscarora Mountain. The realignment in yellow from milepost 141.1 to milepost 137.8  would permit a potential 110 mph speed limit.

45 Thompsontown

The NS passenger speed reduces to 60 mph. The NS line is at the base of a steep side of Tuscarora Mountain opposite  Thompsontown, PA. The Realignment in yellow from milepost 143.4 to milepost 141.6 would allow  a potential 110 passenger speed. The realignment would require 70 to 80 foot cuts in order to be built.

44.1 Mexico - Port Royal

Another approach to addressing the NS passenger speed reduction to 65 mph in the vicinity of Port Royal, PA  and Mexico, PA is to make the realignment in yellow. It would require cut s as deep as 70 to 80 feet. Bu the realignment would allow speeds up to 110 mph

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

44 Mexico

 The Norfolk Southern passenger speed at milepost 148.1 reduced from 65 mph to 60 mph. With proposed realignment at Mifflin and Port Royal a speed of 80 mph would be possible through the 1.9 degree between milepost 149.4 and milepost 148.6. The proposed realignment in yellow form milepost 148.1 to 147.5 would potentally be capable of 110 mph.
 Westbound in the vicinity of milepost 148 by William Klapp http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=317283&nseq=8. The freight speed is 50 mph. In the distance is Tuscarora Mountain. The Juniata River is to the left.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

43 Port Royal

At Port Royal the Norfolk Southern passenger speed is reduced to 65 from the 75 mph permitted by the  Norfolk Southern. A realignment from the existing 2.4 degree cirve to a 1 degree curve would potenially allow 110 mph passenger operation.
Here is a westbound Conrail freight train about 1995 leaning into the 2.4 degree curve south of Port Royal, PA. The freight speed here would be a maximum of 50 mph. As the freight train is a priority trailer on flat car train, the train's probable speed is the maximum allowed for this location. This is near milepost 150.5.

42 Miffflin

The Norfolk Southern passenger speed reduces  from 70 mph at milepost 156.5 to 50 mph at milepost 153.9.

The at milepost 153.5 the speed is further reduced to 40 mph accelerating to 65 mph by milepost 152.5
The proposed realignment in yellow in the above two images would use 1 degree curvature in order to have a line with a potential 110 mph allowable speed .
An alternative realignment could be a combination of that in yellow and orange above. It isolates a higher speed line from the town of Mifflin exploiting the Juniata River for a new right of way separated from the town.

41 Denholm

The Norfolk Southern requires passenger operations to slow to 50 mph for the 3.6 degree curve at the base of Blacklog Mountain at the east end of the Jacks Narrows section of the Juniata River Valley. The speed reduction would be solved by the realignment in yellow from milepost 157.7 (40.608739N77.450569W) to milepost 157.2 (40.607639N77.444017W). This would be a 1 degree curve capable potentially of 110 mph.  
This site is near Denholm, PA. In the days of steam locomotive operations in the period 1910 to 1957,  a large coal was located at Denholm. The Pennsylvania Railroad's coal and water facility was 12 tracks wide at Denholm.  Stopping for coal and/ or water lengthened the time on the road between terminals.
Elsewhere on the PRR track pans were placed between rails filled with water. These track pan locations were 800 to 1200 feet long. A scoop was lowered from the locomotive tender. The forward motion of the locomotive forced water into the tender tank at speed.
The signal bridge in the distance is at milepost 157.8 at the beginning of Blacklog curve into Jacks Narrows looking east from near Denholm, PA. The soot covered space between the light colored ballast between the track on the left and the track occupied by the freight train on the right is the result of decades of steam locomotives passing through the coal wharf that once spanned 12 tracks nearby.

Monday, October 3, 2011

40.1 Lewistown

The proposed realignment provides an alternative route allowing a potential 110 mph passenger speed. It allows a more accessible limited access highway location in the vicinity of 40.575475N77623919W for a station than the current 1849 station.  Lewistown is 50 minutes via Route 22, Route 322 to State College, PA. The large transient student population of the Pennsylvania State University could be served by enhanced rail passenger service. As the bulk of student population comes from the more populous eastern part of Pennsylvania, extending service by extending the Keystone Corridor East from Harrisburg to Lewistown could be a practical first for enhanced passenger service. This could be accomplished by using dual mode locomotives  that operate both as straight electric locomotives from Philadelphia to Harrisburg and as a diesel locomotive in non- electrified territory from Harrisburg to Lewistown.

Here are photographs of a dual mode locomotive owned by New Jersey Transit. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ALP-45DP  for detailed information.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

40 Lewistown

The severe curves approaching and leaving the Lewistown, PA, passenger station demand slowing to 35 mph whether passenger or Norfolk Southern freight train. The proposed realignment would be a 1 degree curve with a potential 110 mph speed. The Lewistown passenger station has been across the Juniata River from the town of Lewistown since the Pennsylvania Railroad built the line in the 1850's. State College with the Pennsylvania State University's large student population is a 50 minute drive from Lewistown.

A westbound Amtrak passenger train was captured westbound on the 4.4 degree curve east of the Lewistown Amtrak passenger station. The current Norfolk Southern line permits a 45 mph passenger speed here. The yellow line is the proposed realignment by a 1 degree curve.

The center of 6.8 degree curve is at milepost 165.4 where Route 103 crosses over the 1850's right of way now owned by the Norfolk Southern Company. The original line is in blue. The Amtrak Station is not the original passenger station. The original station was built in 1849 and is now owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical and Historical Society. It is the larger structure to the west of the x identifying the Amtrak Station facility. The 6.8 degree curve requires a 35 mph speed for both freight and passenger trains.

Herre is the continuation east of the Lewistown Amtrak station propose realignment of 1 degree curvature potentially allowing 110 mph. The realignment would return to the original line at milepost 161.9. Milepost 161.9 is the beginning of the Lewistown Narrows of the Juniata Valley.

"Juniata River Near Lewistown" by Artist George Hetzel,  1873, owned by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum. The view is from about milepost 165 looking east and downstream into the beginning of the Lewistown Narrows of the Juniata River Valley. In the foreground is the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks. In the middle distance at the base of the Blacklog Mountain a steam powered train can be seen eastbound as a faint lineal blackness against the green. The Pennsylvania Canal was along the opposite bank of the Juniata River.

39 Granville

The NS passenger speed for the curves between milepost 172 (40.530322N77.649008W) and Milepost 170 (40.547044N77.634375W) starts at 65 mph and reduces to 55 mph. The proposed realignment would permit a potential 110 mph as it is a 1 degree curve.

38 Longfellow

The Norfolk Southern passenger speed at milepost 176 (40.513667N77.710172W) is 65 mph thourgh to milepost 172.2 (40.523694N77.649008W). The proposed realignment in yellow reduces curvature from a maximum of 2.3 degrees to 1 degree curves. The potential speed could be 110 mph. The Norfolk Southern track chart identifies milepost 173.5 as being Longfellow, PA. Longfellow is a village.

37 McVeytown

The proposed realignment in yellow from milepost 179 to milepost 176.5 would increase the current passenger speed from 65 mph to a theoretical 110 mph as the 2.1 degrees curve would be replaced by a 1 degree curve. The blue line is the current Norfolk Southern Company line.