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PC: National Limited/Northen Cental

Edited from PRR-talk this weekend:

Think about this one on your next train ride or flight!!

Dad also told me about a train he worked in the late days of Penn Central
and the early days of Amtrak. After Amtrak had taken over in May of 1971
the one car trains which used to run from Baltimore to Harrisburg on the old
Northern Central were taken off. This train had consisted of one old E-8
unit and a single stanless steel coach. Later Amtrak used to
run a train called the National Limited from New York to Kansas City with
a connection from Washington that was cut into the train at Harrisburg.
This was a single car train such as the old PC run Northern Central
train had been. One E unit and a single coach. But instead of running
on the NC this train went from Washington,up the main line to
Perryville ,Md. where it went on the Port Road trackage. (It had to after
Hurricane Agnes in 1972) Anyway....this was a very boring train to work. You
worked this train up to Harrisburg and had to ride Greyhound back to either
Washington or Baltimore to get home as there was'nt another train
back south or north after it ran. The same applied if you had to
work it from Harrisburg to Washington. Now why they
used a E unit instead of a GG-1 i don't know...i guess Amtrak thought
it a waste of power and since this happened in 1974-75 Conrail had'nt
happened yet and PC still owned them.  This train made no stops between
Baltimore and Harrisburg.
After coming off the main at Perryville the Port Road at the time as it
Probably is now is a single track railroad that runs along the hills
and cliffs next to the Susquehanna river. There are very few grade
crossings and stations between Perryville and Harrisburg. You don't see much
After leaving Perryville until you get near Steelton near Harrisburg except
the river,woods and the hills next to the river. There were also speed
restrictions on the Port Road then so you had to run 35 MPH or so.
Dad said that his Engineer for this train was a bit crazy...often he
did'nt pay attention to rules and had a reputation for such.

What i'm about to relate happened on the section between Perryville and

Harrisburg. Dad for some reason went up to see the engineer and fireman
in the engine. You could do this without much trouble as they had a E
unit on this train. Any way when he got up to the cab he found
both the engineer and the fireman playing cards...both of them turned
away from the road...paying attention only to their cards. They must
have been playing for a while as Dad knew they had gone by a signal a
while back and by they layout of their cards. Dad said that if
the engineer had gotten a stop signal he would have missed it...and
that  he would have never had seen a car or people on the tracks if it had
happened. This all goes to show how bad the moral was back in those

The engineer was'nt around much after that...I don't think dad ratted
on him...but he did say something to him about it.

                                             Til Later
                                             Hank Mummert

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