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Photo of the Month - October 2006


Photo taken 4/9/1953 at Oakland Park Ave., Columbus, Ohio.  The camera is looking southwest.

(Photo by DAK)

        If you were a member of the Cooke Road Train Crew[1] on April 9, 1953, sitting at your favorite train watching spot, this is what you would have seen northbound on the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Sandusky branch.  Fresh out of Grogan yard, headed for the Sandusky docks with 83 loaded coal cars are two J-1, 2-10-4 steam engines.   Helper #6482,a J1a, is leading  as they cross Oakland Park Avenue on the north side of Columbus, Ohio.  The photo just doesn't capture the noise, ground shaking and shower of cinders that accompanied two hard working J1's.        

        The helper will go as far as Lewis Center (MP 16.5 from Columbus).  At Lewis Center the train will stop to allow the helper to cut off and crossover to the southbound track.  It will then back to Grogan Yard ready to help the next coal drag north.

        The PRR is double tracked at this point and is located on the east side of the New York Central's single track Cleveland-Columbus line seen in the background.  At the Worthington Interlocking tower (MP 8.6), just south of State Route 161, the PRR will cross the NYC. The two lines will continue in close proximity until just south of Delaware. 

        There were 60 J1's  and 65 J1a's all built in 1943 and 1944.  They had 70" drivers; a traction effort of 107,750 lbs, with their low speed booster operating; and a total engine weight of 287 tons.  The tender carried 21,000 gallons of water and 30 tons of coal.  Originally used in Pennsylvania, after tunnels at Gould and Cadiz Jct., Ohio were bypassed (Gould) and opened (Cadiz Jct.), they were able to travel west of Pittsburgh and were assigned to Columbus.