Prototype Tours

Prototype Tours at the Susquehannock Convention

To begin there are three tours planned that offer visits to multiple attractions.  To kick off the convention on Thursday there is a day long bus tour to American Car and Foundry in Milton and Bowser Manufacturing in Mountoursville.  As an added bonus our lunch stop will be the Front Street Station Restaurant in Northumberland.

This is a partial list of the tours and attractions that the convention committee has planned.  Please check our website often for periodic updates on future offerings.

For more information please contact Dan Horting at tours@mer2017.org.

 

American Car and Foundry & Bowser Manufacturing

American Car and Foundry Manufacturing Floor

ACF Industries LLC originally known as The American Car and Foundry Company was formed in 1899.   ACF Industries LLC is a leader in the manufacture and fabrication of specialty railcar parts and miscellaneous steel products.  While the Company’s primary purpose is to compliment the new car and car repair market, it also provides manufacturing support to other manufacturers of steel products.

Following our tour at ACF we will be driven to the historic Front Street Station for a lunch buffet.

After lunch we will board the bus for our trip to Mountoursville to visit Bowser Manufacturing.  The company produces model railroad locomotives, railroad cars, kits and a wide selection of parts directed at the more serious model railroad enthusiast. Bowser’s significance for the model railroad community lies not only in the products that Bowser itself originated, but also in those originally produced by other companies. The latter includes products originally made by Penn Line Manufacturing, Varney, Cary, and Pittman motors.

For more information on the tour please visit our page on the American Car and Foundry tour.

 

East Broad Top Railroad & Rockhill Trolley Museum

Rockhill Trolley Museum

On Friday we have a second all day bus trip planned to Rockhill Furnace to tour the East Broad Top narrow gauge railroad facilities as well as the Rockhill Trolley Museum. During this tour you will visit the historic East Broad Top Railroad shops and the Rockhill Trolley Museum.

The East Broad Top (EBT) is a National Historic Landmark.  The East Broad Top Railroad and Coal Company is the country’s oldest surviving narrow gauge railroad.  Chartered in 1856 and opened in 1873, the line remains virtually intact – including track, steam locomotives, cars and facilities.

The EBT is a virtual time machine documenting the industrial progress of the U.S. during the golden era of steam power.  You will be guided through the various shops, roundhouse, and facilities by guides well versed in the history of the railroad.  One of your guides will be our division’s Lee Rainey considered by many to be the leading authority on the EBT.  His book on the railroad is a “must have” for the EBT enthusiast. Currently the railroad is not operating any equipment or offering rides.

At the Rockhill Trolley Museum you will ride on one of the historical trolleys from the museum’s collection.  The collection includes several operational trolleys, including an open car, high-speed interurban cars, fascinating maintenance-of-way cars, and two PCC Cars. Plus you’ll see more cars being restored in the shops by talented volunteers.  Lunch will be provided during the tour by the members of the trolley museum.

For more information on the tour please visit our page on the East Broad Top Railroad & Rockhill Trolley Museum.

 

Harris Tower and Harrisburg Amtrak Station Tour

On Friday, October 13th The Susquehannock is offering a guided tour with bus transportation to historic Harris Tower and the Harrisburg Amtrak Station, the former PRR passenger station in the state’s capital.  For anyone interested in the history of passenger rail travel on the Pennsylvania Railroad this tour is for you.  On this tour you will depart the hotel at 8:30 on an executive coach to the Harris Tower and the Harrisburg Transportation Center.  Upon arrival you will be visiting both the tower and former Harrisburg Pennsylvaia Railroad Station.

Exterior of Harris Tower

From 1930 to 1992 Harris Tower served the Pennsylvania Railroad, Penn Central Railroad and Amtrak.  In 1992 the Harrisburg Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society took ownership of and restored the structure.  The purpose of the tower was to control rail traffic through what was once a maze of tracks at the north end of the Harrisburg Passenger Station.  During a height of rail travel the tower controlled 87 switches and 106 signals with a traffic count of 100 scheduled passenger trains and 25 freight trains daily.  Harris Tower marked the western terminus of the Pennsylvania Railroad’s electrification and it was at Harris where the motive power was switched from steam or diesel to electric eastbound or opposite for west bound trains.  Harrisburg was also the point where trains were split for New York/Philadelphia and Baltimore/Washington destinations.

Interior of Harris Tower

The Harrisburg Transportation Center is the former Harrisburg Pennsylvania Railroad passenger station.  The current station was built by PRR in 1887 and significantly rebuilt with its distinctive barn roof in 1905 following a serious fire in 1904. It was listed on the National Register of Historic places in 1975 and is also designated as a National Historic Landmark.  The station is one of the few railway stations in the United States that still has a train shed above the tracks. It also has a red brick exterior, unlike many of the still-used U.S. railway stations built slightly later in the early 1900s that have white stone facing, such as 30th Street Station in Philadelphia.  During your tour of the station you will visit the state tower that was used to control station passenger traffic after the closure of Harris Tower.  You will see the Harrisburg Power Director’s Office where until recently power distribution was controlled for the electrification lines between Harrisburg and Philadelphia.  During your visit to the track passenger platform you will have the opportunity to observe GG-1 #4859 and N6B Cabin Car #980016.  Both of these PRR pieces of equipment have been restored by the Harrisburg Chapter, National Railway Historical Society.

Following the tour you will again board the coach for the return trip to the hotel.  Planned arrival time at the hotel is noon.

 

Strasburg Railroad and Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania

Immerse yourself in a day of activities at the Strasburg Railroad and Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.  This combination package provides you with a ride on the Strasburg Railroad, a tour of the Strasburg Railroad shops, entrance to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania as well as entrance to the museum’s restoration shops.

The 45 minute, steam powered round trip ride on the Strasburg Railroad carries you through beautiful Lancaster County farmland to Paradise and back. Marvel at more than 1,000 acres of Lancaster County farmland as it passes by your window.

For more than 50 years, the mechanical department of the Strasburg Rail Road has been producing world-class work in the steam railroading industry. During the guided tour of the shops you will see vintage locomotive and rolling stock in various stages of construction or repair.  Due to demand a major shop expansion will be taking place in the very near future.

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania houses an extensive collection of steam, electric, and diesel locomotives as well as historic rolling stock.  The collection includes locomotives and rolling stock from at least 18 different Pennsylvania railroads and 22 different builders overall.  In addition to the locomotives and rolling stock, the museum displays an extensive collection of railroad objects including lanterns, china, tools and accessories, clocks, watches and other items that accumulate around railroads and rail yards.

The museum restoration shop is housed in a facility adjoining the museum specifically designed for the task.  Here workers bring a wide range of skills, including metal working, wood working, welding, painting, and electrical to a team that has successfully undertaken a series of major jobs.  Major emphasis is placed on restoring equipment to designated standards of appearance and material, balancing cosmetic authenticity with practicality in an era when the infrastructure that originally built this equipment no longer exists.  The most recent accomplishment has been cosmetic restoration of the PRR E-6 Number 460 known as the Lindbergh Engine.

The cost of this combination ticket is $49.00 and provides entrance to the four attractions mentioned above.  Travel to Strasburg will be on your own.  We will have a convention representative at Strasburg to assist in assembling the shop tours at the railroad and museum.  The railroad is 43 miles from the hotel and one hour travel time should be planned.  Do not miss this opportunity to see a great collection of railroad history on display and in action.