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Photo of the Month - December 2006


200dpi jpg 201K

Pennsylvania Railroad K4 #5493 on Track 8 at Columbus Union Station. (Photo from the DAK Collection)

        There was a time when the railroads took great pride in their facilities and train equipment.  K4 #5493 is an example of that pride with its clean and shiny train.  It is a little difficult to place the exact date for this photo.  K4's were the PRR's top passenger steam locomotives through the 1940's.  They were built between 1914-1928.  This particular locomotive was probably built toward the mid 1920's.  In 1930 Columbus Union Station's original 1893 train shed was replaced with a new concourse and the umbrella-type platform roofs seen in the photo.  It is likely this photo was taken sometime in the 1930's.

        Behind the locomotive is the station concourse leading from the tracks to the main part of the station visible to the right, just over the train sitting on Track 6.  The bridge in the background is for Fourth Street just east of the station.  PRR westbound trains could be coming from either Cleveland-Akron or most likely Pittsburgh.  They would be heading toward Chicago, Cincinnati or St. Louis.  Judging from the whiff of steam she is ready to go.

        Addendum #1 - Dave Bunge of Woodbury, TN, pointed out

....that Track 8 was used by the NYC not the PRR.  Something unusual must have been going on such as a derailment blocking the usual PRR track or perhaps this was a special train that was actually going to enter either the B&O or PRR trackage, which is where Track 8 would lead this train.  There is probably another answer to the puzzle which we will never know.

        Addendum #2 - Richard Jacobs an expert on the PRR in Columbus, Ohio had this information about the picture of #5493.

I am writing to fill in some gaps on the photo of PRR K4s # 5493 on Columbus Union Station track # 8.  I suspect this photo was shot during the summer of 1928.  The engine was turned out by the PRR shops at Altoona, Pa. in Feb. of 1928. 

In the late 1920's,  Air Conditioning on railroad passenger cars was a new thing.  This was a demonstration train making the rounds of cities.  The consist was a PRR P70 coach, PRR D78 dining car and a heavyweight Pullman car.  All three were Air Conditioned. 

Track # 8 was normally used for westbound NYC (Big-4) passenger trains.  This train would have operated over the tracks of several railroads. 

I have another photo of this train stopped on the PRR's Columbus and Xenia tracks just west of Union Station.  I don't know if the train left Columbus  with # 5493 or not.  I presume it left over the NYC. 

Dick Jacobs

PRRT&HS # 1172