Altoona in Blair County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
PRR Class X29L Steel Boxcar No. 2136
"Freight was different. The railroad started doubling up on the trains something fierce - 160-car trains. It would take you a week to get to the other end of them."
- Vince Farabaugh, Locomotive Engineer
Yardmaster John Conlon remembers one point in PRR history when a freight train went east every 14 minutes, 24 hours a day. As a train was being made up, cars had to be weighed, shifted to the right track, coupled, inspected, and assigned an engine, cabin car and crew. The yards were congested and dangerous.
The all-purpose boxcar was sturdy, cheap, and could haul just about anything. The X29L boxcar hauled about 50 tons. Other types carried 80 or 100 tons of freight. To haul freight, you had to know the train's tonnage, what power and braking you needed, and when to use it. Otherwise, you could "rough handle" - jar the train and break a "knuckle" or damage the freight.
The earliest boxcars were wooden. Steel began to be used by 1890.
In 1874, 124,000 boxcars roamed North American rails. By 1910, there were 967,000.
The X29 class was the most numerous boxcar used by the Pennsy. About
This X29L was 40 feet, 6 inches in inside length. It carried special equipment that allowed it to run in high-speed passenger trains as mail-carrying or express-shipment cars.
Erected by Railroaders Memorial Museum.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Man-Made Features • Railroads & Streetcars. In addition, it is included in the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1890.
Location. 40° 30.822′ N, 78° 23.963′ W. Marker is in Altoona, Pennsylvania, in Blair County. Marker and Boxcar are on the grounds of the Railroaders Memorial Museum. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1300 9th Avenue, Altoona PA 16602, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Master Mechanic (here, next to this marker); The Posy Gang (a few steps from this marker); PRR Class N5 Cabin Car (or Caboose) No. 477577 (a few steps from this marker); PRR Class D78F Dining Car No. 4468 (within shouting distance of this marker); The Altoona Works (within shouting distance of this marker); Track Cars (within shouting distance of this marker); Pennsylvania Railroad ShopsThe Juniata Shops (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Altoona.
Also see . . .
1. PRR Class X29 boxcars. PRR Railfan website entry (Submitted on April 1, 2022, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.)
2. Pennsylvania Railroad Technical and Historical Society. Society website homepage (Submitted on February 14, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. History of the Altoona Railroad Shops. National Park Service website entry (Submitted on February 14, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
4. Railfan's Guide to the Altoona Area. Trainweb entry (Submitted on February 14, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Credits. This page was last revised on April 1, 2022. It was originally submitted on February 14, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 974 times since then and 57 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on February 14, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.