Thursday, March 6, 2014

BOOK REVIEW - Pennsylvania Short Lines Volume 2

After my recent purchase of Volume One of this Morning Sun book, which, organized in alphabetical order, left off at the Ma and Pa, finding Volume Two of this out of print book became a priority.  There were several for sale online.  It's hard comparing these two, as they are both excellent, maybe this one was slightly better from a steel standpoint.   The subtitle for these books is "Traditional Shortlines of Pennsylvania Extant in the 1950's"    This is an important differentiation in that the shorelines the book covers existed to primarily serve a specific industry, or isolated mine or town, and connect with a mainline railroad, as opposed to the more modern versions of shorelines, many formed to operate lines abandoned by main line railroads.    Modeling the steel industry in the 1950's is tough from a color standpoint as most of the resources are black and white.  The color images in these Morning Sun books are especially useful in terms of colors of industry, rolling stock, and roadbed.   This book, like the first Volume is chock full of steel industry images from the 1950's and 60's.   Some of the steel mill shorelines covered are -

McKeesport Connecting Railroad -  National Tube
Monessen Southwester Railway  -  Pittsburgh Steel
Monongahela Connecting RR -  J&L Steel
Philadelphia, Bethlehem and New England RR -  Bethlehem Steel
Pittsburgh & Ohio Valley RR - Shenango Inc
Pittsburgh, Chartiers & Youghiogheny RR - also Shenango Inc
Steelton & Highspire RR - Bethlehem Steel (Steelton plant)
Upper Merion & Plymouth RR - Alan Wood Steel

There are lots of photos of the steel plants and steel specific equipment, in addition to revenue cars with interesting steel related roads.    Some interesting initial observations -

The blast furnace complex at Bethlehem Steel in Steelton was mostly painted a silver color - not the usual black or iron ore/primer red color.  I'm starting to think that the Bethlehem plant at Lehigh, which I am modeling Blast Furnace A, had the same coloration in the 50's.   The peeling paint on A-Furnace, which is still standing, looks silvery to me.  I brought this up on the Yahoo Steel Group about five or six years ago and I was told no way, that it was just a black coating and always had been.

Blast furnaces at all the mills listed above are depicted whole or partially in this Volume.

Some neat shots of those unique Pugh torpedo hot metal cars used at Alan Wood Steel

Ladles used at Shenango, not torpedo cars - a few shots of these

An interesting car load at Bethlehem - a gantry crane being shipped from Bethlehem to another mill.

Well worth the money.

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