Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Altoona Passenger Station 1924 Plans

The Pennsylvania Railroad Altoona passenger station was a curious affair until its demolition in 1974. Built in the 1880's, it was a small affair not in keeping with stations at Greensburg or Johnstown. The trainshed was built for small trains with short cars. Most 20th century passenger trains would have about 4 cars under the trainshed built in the late 1860's or early 1870's. The trainshed was demolished in the early 1960's.

1924 plans have recently become available for a new Altoona station. See: http://www.billspennsyphotos.com/apps/webstore/products/show/2920188

From "Pennsylvania Railroad Historical and Descriptive," 1875. The station building was to the left of the woodcut drawing. Looking eastbound, seen is the Logan House Hotel on the left. The trainshed to the right lasted until the early 1960's when it was demolished. The trainshed was hopelessly inadequate for 20th century passenger trains. But it was better than the current situation in which there is no passenger shelter whatsoever.

There are varying theories as to why the station with additional tracks was not built. One is that the Post Office Department building the new Post Office at the location near the passenger station obviously interfered with the proposed station plans. The stock market crash in 1929 and subsequent depression foreclosed upon new construction. Another reason offered by some Altoona residents years ago was that the PRR senior management in Philadelphia were so disturbed by the 1922 Shopmen's strike and subsequent labor troubles that they decided against construction. For whatever reason, the six story building with seven tracks was not built.

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