The Pennsylvania Railroad was one of the large Class 1 railroads that once dominated freight and passenger travel in this country. It sat at the pinnacle of its industry for over a century in the heyday of moving things by rail. Not surprisingly, the PRR was also once known as the “standard railroad of the world” because it set them and influenced all the others. Its sprawling track miles went from New York to Chicago and much further in all directions. At one time, the Pennsy had over 10,000 miles of track and carried anything imaginable.
The Pennsylvania Railroad was an industry innovator throughout its history. It designed and built its own large fleet of steam engines at the Juniata Shops in Altoona. Later, Juniata and shops in Delaware built their own fleet of powerful GG1 electric locomotives from PRR designs. Other large railroad-owned shops built most of the Pennsylvania Railroad’s large inventory of freight and passenger cars.
Some of that railroad equipment is shown in this picture gallery including cabooses, EMD E8 diesels, and the powerful GG1 electric locomotives. They’re just a few of the pieces that remain other than the Pennsylvania Railroad’s very well-established mainline routes still in use today.
Some Pennsylvania Railroad History
The PRR was first chartered in 1846 by the Pennsylvania legislature. Within a few years, it took over the state-owned canal system which it closed in pieces and sometimes built over. Over time, it merged with or absorbed over 800 smaller railroads into its system. It became a very well run and efficient industry behemoth that built many impressive bridges and stations too.
At one time by the 1880s, it was the largest railroad carrier by revenue and traffic in the country and the largest corporation in the world. That dominance continued for many years, but things change and the mighty can fall. Most major railroads fell upon hard times after WW2 for many reasons including economic factors. Eventually, in hard times, the PRR merged with the New York Central in 1968. That joining formed Penn Central which eventually became part of Conrail in 1976.
Today, a little over half of what was once the mighty Pennsylvania Railroad is part of Norfolk Southern and the remainder is part of CSX.
These pictures are available on laminated high gloss, stretched canvas, or traditional matted paper prints, all printed and made by hand here in the studio.