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Photo of the Month - May 2011

The Local


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       It's the summer of 1956 and PRR H-10 Consolidation #9913 is on the SR 161 overpass in Worthington headed for Columbus. The buildings of the Potter Lumber Co. can be seen in the background. When these 2-8-0 locomotives were built in 1915 they were mainline freight engines. Now 40 years later they were relegated to local service.
       The localís job was to switch all the sidings up and down the railroad. The local came through Worthington almost every day. It went north one day and back the next. The siding in Worthington received coal cars for the Worthington Coal and Supply Co. and box cars for the Worthington Foods Co. There was also a small business that received a tank car from time to time and occasionally a box car for off line businesses that would unloaded the contents into a truck.
                It was not unusual for the local crew to have to do a flying switch which was always fun to watch. This was necessary when the locomotive was facing the switch and the freight car, which was to be left on the siding, was behind the locomotive. The locomotive and car would back up several hundred feet, then the engineer would first accelerate then ease off the throttle long enough for a brakeman riding on the freight car to pull the coupling pin. The locomotive would then accelerate again to get away from the freight car. The locomotive would go down the main and the freight car would coast into the siding.
       Sometimes the siding would be used to hold a freight car that had a hot journal box.  If the freight car axel was damaged the railroad would send out a crew to repair it.  Other times work equipment would show up in the siding for a few days.  It was always interesting to see what had been dropped off at the Worthington siding overnight.
       The siding track and ties were in place pretty much by habit. They hadnít seen any maintenance in years. As such the H10 was the only locomotive allowed in the siding although I have seen a photo of a J1 in the siding. That took guts or maybe the engineer was just fool hardy.
       Photo by Alex Campbell