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 The latter includes products originally made by Penn Line Manufacturing, Varney, Cary, and Pittman motors.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.

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 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.