Summit Station, OH

CN map

PRR Summit Station Record of Train Movements 7-27 to 7-28-1960
PRR Summit Station Record of Train Movements 8-16 to 8-17-1960

The following sheets were during a PRR strike so only B&O trains operated:
PRR Summit Station Record of Train Movements 9-3 to 9-10-1960

The shadows are growing long on a warm July day.  It is the magic hour, the evening cooling, the sun setting on another PRR day, but soon an entire era.  But at 7PM on July 27, 1960, at SI Tower in Summit Station, the trains and the future are still to come.

Half an hour passes as the peaceful summertime insects roar deafening uncertainty; maybe today was an “early day”, and the trains are already gone.  But a few minutes later, sweet relief!  A diesel horn calls languidly from miles to the east, leading to a drawn out crescendo of earnestness until at last the train bursts over the horizon.

19:46: LCL-3 (Harsimus Cove – East St. Louis)

Makeup – Block Classification
1. Loaded and empty TrucTrain cars for E.St.Louis.
2. LCL merchandise, forwarder cars and automotive traffic for E.St.Louis and beyond.
3. TrucTrain cars for Indianapolis and Louisville.
4. LCL merchandise and forwarder cars for Indianapolis and Louisville.

Abstract train make up instructions cannot describe the experience of this westbound hotshot chasing the setting sun.

All the doubt of earlier is gone; replaced only with excitement.  LCL-9 is usually right behind since it swaps cars with LCL-3 at Pitcairn.  The show is on!  And already it can be heard in hot pursuit.

20:02: LCL-9 (Meadows – Cincinnati)

Makeup – Block Classification
1. LCL merchandise and forwarder cars (Acme) for Court Street Freight House, Cincinnati.
2. Carload box car freight for points on the L&N RR, Louisville and beyond and Knoxville
and beyond routing via Cincinnati.
3. Cincinnati classification, except as provided for in Blocks 1, 2 and 5.
4. Columbus and beyond to Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Logansport, exclusive.
5. Cincinnati TrucTrain cars.

A glance down the tracks at the retreating caboose of LCL-9 reveals an eastbound headlight on track two fast approaching!  Furthermore, it sounds like a freight might be grinding up the hill, probably on track four.  The sky begins its transition from blue to pink, presiding over this routine railroading drama with seeming approval.

20:06: #78 (Cincinnati – Pittsburgh)

Though this is a passenger train, the freight is still moving as 10+ head end cars race by with a few sleepers and coaches tacked on the rear, almost an afterthought.  Finally, the grittiness of railroading makes an appearance, CW-6 an appropriate contrast to the graceful passenger train that had just overtaken it on the hill.

20:12: CW-6 (Columbus to Weirton)

Makeup – Block Classification
1. Mingo Jct. and so routing, including TrucTrain trailers, traffic for all points on River
Branch, Powhatan Secondary Track and Industrial Track, Bayard Branch, Terminal
Branch and points on Wheeling Secondary Benwood, W. Va., Inclusive to Short Creek,
W.Va. Incl.
2. Weirton Jct. and so routing to Burgettstown, exclusive; all points on New Cumberland
Branch, New Cumberland Secondary Track and Wheeling Secondary Track, Weirton Jct.
to Beech Bottom, W. Va., Inclusive.

CW-6 shudders to a stop to pick up cars out of the siding, and the curtain is allowed to fall on another evening spent at Summit.  Train #4, the eastbound Penn Texas, normally another star of this performance has failed to appear as advertised.  (It would arrive at 21:29, roughly two hours late.)   Although the summer would be filled with similar evenings, this particular Broadway play (pun intended, groans deserved) was drawing too quickly to a close.  Where PRR hotshots and passenger trains danced with B&O cameos across the triple track of the Columbus & Newark, only the occasional Ohio Central soliloquy is heard today.

Full disclosure: I wasn’t alive in 1960 and have never been to Summit Station.  This may not be anything what it was like.  The 2nd shift operator may have thrown things at foamers from the tower; there may have been swarms of bees and endless barking dogs.  But there was definitely a story behind these numbers and letters written on this “Station Record of Train Movements” and just maybe these documents provide a tiny glimpse of what it could have been.

For more information, check out Alex Campbell’s Summit Tower or C&N page on his excellent Columbus Railroads site.  I also found Rick Tipton’s book The Pennsylvania Railroad in Columbus, Ohio to be very enjoyable.  He paints a detailed picture of the infrastructure of Columbus, that when combined with freight schedules and passenger train consists and such operational details, really brings Columbus to life.  And there are two more operator sheets from 1957 at multimodalways.org.  The above map is taken from that excellent site as well.