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 Post subject: Two Notable PRR Cars Scrapped in Berwick, Pa.
PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2022 10:06 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 10888
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
UPDATED with additional information:

Two ostensibly "preserved" PRR cars ended up being scrapped "by accident" in Berwick, Pa. back in October.

The specifics are outlined in the minutes of the BOD meeting of the Susquehanna Economic Development Agency - Joint Rail Authority (SEDA-COG JRA) for November 10, 2021:

http://www.sedacograil.org/Documents/No ... proved.pdf

For those unfamiliar, the Cast of Characters:
North Shore RR: Designated Operator of JRA line to Berwick.
The place in Berwick: Former Berwick Car & Foundry plant being redeveloped as "industrial park" use, and also used over the years to securely store certain privately owned rail locomotives and cars, including those of:
Jeff Pontius, d.b.a. Penn Valley Railroad, L.L.C.. These cars consist of several passenger cars, most formerly belonging to the West Shore Rail Excursions operation of the 1980s and 1990s out of Mifflinburg and Delta Place Station (north of Lewisburg), Pa.

The alleged synopsis, if I have this right:
The two cars had been stored on siding sub-leased from lessor of a part of the former BC&F plant in Berwick. The company doing the sub-leasing changed hands in 2018, and as agreed the cars were moved to a nearby siding.
The cars were scrapped by a contract scrapper at the request of the new owner of the company.
Police action by Pontius has been initiated.

The cars in question were a PRR P70 coach and allegedly the "last Railway Post Office car on the PRR." I do not know the past ownership of the P70 or RPO, and I am uncertain as to if they mean "the last ex-PRR RPO extant" or "the last RPO used by the PRR".
UPDATE: The RPO in question was supposedly used on the "Last RPO Train" on the Northeast Corridor (and the U.S.) in June 1977.

I believe that the only P70 in Penn Valley's possession was one later used by the Adirondack RR and West Shore RR. If that is indeed the car that was scrapped, it is a significant loss.
UPDATE: Confirmed. It had some running gear work done, including new wheels, and was awaiting all new windows and seats ready for install.

I have enquired to my associates in central Pennsylvania for more information.

UPDATE:
One associate has confirmed the RPO was former PRR 8695, a lightweight RPO built for Broadway service, later in Amtrak MOW service and retired from Amtrak still in red paint. He facilitated the car's rescue and resale to Pontius/Penn Valley.


Last edited by Alexander D. Mitchell IV on Wed Jan 12, 2022 12:22 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Two Notable PRR Cars Scrapped in Berwick, Pa.
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2022 12:07 am 

Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:47 pm
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Location: Philadelphia, PA
RR Museum PA has a former PRR RPO car, built as M70 RPO 6517 with a 70' mail apartment and no baggage section. When the Post Office standardized on 60' Postal apartments, 6517 was rebuilt to class BM70M with a 60' mail apartment and a 10' baggage section.

In 1927 6517 was converted to Air Brake Instruction Car 492445 and is displayed at RRMPA as such.

No new lightweight RPO cars were built for the Broadway Limited, neither the 1938 edition nor the 1948 edition. Both trainsets used existing standardweight BM70M, BM70N and BM70Nb cars that were maintained for 28/29's speeds.

In 1964-1965, lightweight Baggage-Dorm cars 6692, 6691, 6693, 6694 and Baggage-Bar-Lounge car 6696 were rebuilt into 85' Baggage-RPO cars 6595-6599, classes BM85 and BM85a. These had 60' mail apartments and 25' baggage sections. "8695" mentioned above may be 6595 of this group.

http://prr.railfan.net/diagrams/PRRdiag ... &sz=sm&fr=

Phil Mulligan


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 Post subject: Re: Two Notable PRR Cars Scrapped in Berwick, Pa.
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2022 12:39 am 

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Last edited by superheater on Mon Feb 28, 2022 1:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Two Notable PRR Cars Scrapped in Berwick, Pa.
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2022 1:05 am 

Joined: Thu Sep 29, 2011 10:17 am
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Location: New York
As information, PRR 6516 BM70nb preserved at RGVRRM, in the process of being repainted into Penn Central passenger colors.

http://www.rgvrrm.org/about/railroad/prr61950/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/rgvrrm/48829975268

https://www.flickr.com/photos/rgvrrm/49713670176

-otto-

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 Post subject: Re: Two Notable PRR Cars Scrapped in Berwick, Pa.
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2022 1:18 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:15 pm
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Location: At large
I've frantically scoured the internet for a picture of the P70 coach with no luck. If anyone has a picture or knows the number please post it. I'm compiling a history of former Adirondack Railway equipment and there are three missing cars in my notes and I'm wondering if this actually was one of the cars.

Thanks in advance!

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 Post subject: Re: Two Notable PRR Cars Scrapped in Berwick, Pa.
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2022 1:55 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:29 pm
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Location: Youngstown, OH
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
UPDATE: Confirmed. It had some running gear work done, including new wheels, and was awaiting all new windows and seats ready for install.


So it wasn't another case of rotted away and graffitied hulks blighting the property, but cars that were in good condition and undergoing renovation work.

Hopefully Mr. Pontius has an iron clad lease agreement in hand so that he can successfully sue the responsible party for a hefty sum.

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 Post subject: Re: Two Notable PRR Cars Scrapped in Berwick, Pa.
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2022 3:24 pm 

Joined: Sat May 19, 2018 10:03 am
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Similar to the topic, but not the same car, there is a former PRR RPO in Columbia, Pennsylvania that may be endangered. The car is painted in PRR MOW Yellow and is accompanied by two X29 boxcars. In recent months, I’ve seen Columbia yard cleaned up significantly and the cars apparently emptied of whatever equipment they held. If any organization is interested, I’d get in contact with Norfolk Southern sooner rather than later as their days may be numbered.


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 Post subject: Re: Two Notable PRR Cars Scrapped in Berwick, Pa.
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2022 4:01 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
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Compared to me Friedrich Nietzsche is said to have an optimistic viewpoint and sunny disposition

"Sticks and stones may break my bones,
but words will wound your "inner child".


Last edited by superheater on Mon Feb 28, 2022 1:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Two Notable PRR Cars Scrapped in Berwick, Pa.
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2022 4:07 pm 

Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2018 3:51 pm
Posts: 393
Location: Ipswich, Mass., Phoenix, AZ
Couldn't find the mail car but did find what looks like a Budd car and some locomotives awaiting scrapping.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Colum ... 76.5044098


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 Post subject: Re: Two Notable PRR Cars Scrapped in Berwick, Pa.
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2022 4:18 pm 

Joined: Sat May 19, 2018 10:03 am
Posts: 187
nedsn3 wrote:
Couldn't find the mail car but did find what looks like a Budd car and some locomotives awaiting scrapping.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Colum ... 76.5044098


Ah yes, those are the ex MARC GP40WH-2’s owned by various leasing companies awaiting leases. The RDC is owned by the Columbia and Reading, which also has a nice ALCO S2.

The ex PRR cars are in the Columbia “yard”, owned by NS. I’ve provided a google maps link as well as a photo of the RPO I took a few weeks back.


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 Post subject: Re: Two Notable PRR Cars Scrapped in Berwick, Pa.
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2022 4:27 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 5:19 pm
Posts: 544
Location: Bowie, MD
For the record, former PRR 6510 is at the Ohio Railway Museum in Worthington, Oh. The museum acquired it in 1972. I believe my father arranged for Buckeye Steel Casting to purchase it from the PRR and then sell it to the museum for a buck or similar amount.

When it arrived at the museum it was complete, down to the paper work in the desk and hand written location tags on the collection bags in the sorting bins (no idea if that's the correct terminology). I can't speak to it's current condition, but some photos suggest it hasn't appeared to suffer as some of the other passenger equipment did.

Bob


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 Post subject: Re: Two Notable PRR Cars Scrapped in Berwick, Pa.
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2022 10:58 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:47 pm
Posts: 1210
Location: Philadelphia, PA
"As information, PRR 6516 BM70nb preserved at RGVRRM, in the process of being repainted into Penn Central passenger colors."

Penn Central Green? Aaugh!

Actually the last working RPO to be painted was done in PC Green. After Amtrak came in, the USPS continued the NY and Wash RPO, one train each way. In the wee hours, of course. Amtrak did not have the authority to carry mail, so it was a PC train. When Amtrak took over NEC operation, AMTK operated the train for PC.

ConRail came in and AMTK continued to operate the train for CR. When it came time for the last run, the plan was to have fresh paint on one car, so they repainted an ex-PRR BM70M. In Penn Central green. I forget the number but it was in the train pulled by PRR 4935.

Phil Mulligan


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 Post subject: Re: Two Notable PRR Cars Scrapped in Berwick, Pa.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2022 12:44 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 10888
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
I spoke for a while with Mr. Pontius (who I've known for decades) about the issue.

He is still reconsidering his options, but of course the pursuit of recovery of loss is heavy on his broken heart. At the moment, however, he is still trying to get the Berwick Police Department to investigate the matter and give him a police report. It's possible the railroad and industrial park will put pressure on them. He has all the receipts, storage contracts, etc. A case against the guilty party/parties would be ironclad, in a common-sense courtroom.

The dilemma he is facing is that even though this appears to be an open-and-shut case for a civil suit for damages, one would have to decide whether to pursue monetary compensation or replacement. There were allegedly parts in hand (and hopefully not stored in the car--I didn't ask!) for a full restoration of the P70 as a "modern era" car--windows, seats, etc., and some wheel work had already been done.
My guess is that Pontius wants replacements, not cash. There's work on a PRR 4-6-2 proceeding apace not that far away, after all.............. a 4-6-2 he did a lot of work on in the 1980s........

So here is the pertinent question:
Are there any ex-PRR P70 coaches and/or PRR RPO cars (class BM-70 and various sub-classes) either available for acquisition or available for valuation for replacement value should legal action proceed? The RPO in Columbia, Pa. is a prospect if it stays intact and extant long enough. The closest "available" P70 I know of is down on the Cape May Seashore Lines, which 1) means it may have to be trucked/"flatcared" out, and I don't know if it belongs to URHS-NJ or CMSL..................

If you actually HAVE an unutilized PRR P70 on your back lot, odds are the RRers Memorial Museum in Altoona may have come by asking about it already..............


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 Post subject: Re: Two Notable PRR Cars Scrapped in Berwick, Pa.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2022 1:29 am 

Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:47 pm
Posts: 1210
Location: Philadelphia, PA
The BM70 in Columbia Yard is a BM70K with a 30 foot mail apartment and a 40 foot baggage section.

http://prr.railfan.net/diagrams/PRRdiag ... &sz=sm&fr=

http://prr.railfan.net/diagrams/PRRdiag ... &sz=sm&fr=

Incidentally BM70Nb has modern 4-wheel trucks and an updated interior and side windows while BM70M and BM70N have 6-wheel trucks and older interiors.

http://prr.railfan.net/diagrams/PRRdiag ... &sz=sm&fr=

http://prr.railfan.net/diagrams/PRRdiag ... &sz=sm&fr=

Phil Mulligan


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 Post subject: Re: Two Notable PRR Cars Scrapped in Berwick, Pa.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2022 7:43 am 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 9:19 am
Posts: 680
Location: Scottsboro, AL
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
Are there any ex-PRR P70 coaches and/or PRR RPO cars (class BM-70 and various sub-classes) either available for acquisition or available for valuation for replacement value should legal action proceed?


A few years back the Texas State Railroad had the hulk of a P70 stored at the shop in Rusk. I have no idea if it is still there or if they had an intended use for it. Texas State had converted at least one other P70 to an open air car.

- Alan Maples


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