Tag Archives: Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania

A Visit with Kurt Bell to Strasburg, PA.

A couple weeks ago, I caught up with my friend Kurt Bell at the Strasburg Rail Road, and later we went across the street to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. These are two institutions with which Kurt has had decades-long affiliations.

Kurt is a Railroad Collections Archivist in Harrisburg with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museums Commission and the author of a book about the Strasburg Rail Road.

It was a beautiful autumn day and we wandered among the antique trains, visiting with people and taking in the majesty of the railroad environment.

I think one of the highlights of the day for Kurt was seeing his old favorite engine, Strasburg No. 31 (a former Canadian National Railways 0-6-0 switcher) ‘in kit form’ in Strasburg’s shop, where it has been undergoing restoration work.

Kurt had a story to tell me about everything we saw and everyone we met. I learned a lot about tourist railways and railway museums that day!

I made the photos with my Nikon Z7-II.

Thanks Kurt!

Kurt with the cab of Strasburg Rail Road No. 31.
At the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.
This is perhaps the museums newest exhibit inside the main building.
The cab signal display inside of PRR G5 5741 is desgined to be in sync with the position light signal to the right of the locomotive.

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Amtrak 603 Then and Now.

Over the years I made countless photos of Amtrak’s block-like E60 electrics working underwire.

So for me it’s a bit strange to see one of these 1970s-era machines on static display outside of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania alongside a PRR DD1 electric and some other classics, including a 1980s-era AEM-7 (topic of a future Tracking the Light Post).

Exposed using a Lumix LX7 in November 2017.

Since today Amtrak 603 represents the E60 fleet, I scanned through my archives to locate photo of 603 at work on the Northeast Corridor. It’s pictured with a long distance train on August 1, 1986 at Linden, New Jersey.

I made this view on Kodachrome using a Leica 3A fitted with a 200mm Leitz Tellyt using Visoflex reflex attachment.

I couldn’t have anticipated then that engine 603 would someday be a museum piece!

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Pennsylvania 4800

The GG1 is 80 years old this Year.

Hard to believe, but Pennsylvania Railroad’s GG1 electric 80 years old in 2014!

PRR GG1 4800 detail Brian Solomon 661700
Exposed with a Nikon F3T with 105mm lens on Fujichrome Provia 100 film.

I made this detailed view of PRR’s pioneer GG1, number 4800 at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in November 1996.

This machine was different than all the others because it didn’t have Raymond Loewy’s full styling refinement and featured a riveted skin. ‘Old Rivets’ is a favorite machine.

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DAILY Post: Special Anniversary, Raymond Loewy’s 120th birthday.

The Industrial Designer Famed for his Steamlined Locomotives was Born November 5, 1893.

I’ve rearranged my postings to honor Raymond Loewy, whose streamlined industrial designs greatly impressed me during my formative days in railway photography.

PRR_4935_120_scan_Brian Solomon 488206

Pennsylvania Railroad GG1 Electric 4935 is displayed in Strasburg at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. Exposed on 120-size Fujichrome 100F using a Rolleiflex Model T fitted with a 75mm Zeiss Tessar lens mounted on a tripod.

As a youngster, I was thrilled by former Pennsylvania Railroad GG1s and made many photographs of these electrics in service on Amtrak and NJ Transit.

Today, I’ve chosen a relatively modern image of preserved and beautifully restored PRR Electric 4935 that is displayed at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. I exposed this photograph in June 2007 while working on my book Railroads of Pennsylvania.

Among Loewy’s early assignments for Pennsylvania Railroad was to refine the styling on its new GG1 electric. Loewy suggest using a welded body instead of a traditional riveted design, while providing the classic ‘cat’s whiskers’ livery and tidying up marker light housings, cab windows and other body details.

The GG1 remains one of Loewy’s best known designs and an American classic.

Just over 30 years ago, on October 29, 1983, I was among the faithful that rode New Jersey Transit’s ‘Farewell to the GG1’ excursion.

Thanks to Stephen Hirsch for reminding me of today’s significance!

See some of my vintage GG1 photos: January 15th and Pennsylvania Railroad GG1 4876

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