“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Logan Township in Blair County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

The GP9

The GP9 Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Fuchs, May 19, 2012
1. The GP9 Marker
Inscription of photo at top of marker GP9 #7048, momentarily off-duty, cools its wheels at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania engine terminal.

Caption of next photo Pennsylvania Railroad GP9 #7048 replaced the K4 locomotive as a trackside monument in 1985.

Main Text

The Pennsy was continually setting firsts in new railroad technology, so it is surprising to learn that The Standard Railroad of the World lagged behind most other major lines in converting to diesel power. It seems that having help build the Allegheny coal industry by both consuming and transporting its product, the Pennsy was reluctant to thumb its nose at its customers by running oil-fired locomotives through their backyards.

And more than most railroads, the Pennsy was heavily invested in steam technology. Their state-of-the-art facility in Altoona employed thousands of skilled workers, most of whom saw their jobs evaporating as diesels caught on. Worried employees manned picket lines to remind the railroads that what was good for the company might not be good for Altoona.

But the writing was on the wall. While the typical steam locomotive's
GP9 Locomotive Road Number 7048 image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Fuchs, May 19, 2012
2. GP9 Locomotive Road Number 7048
View of the long hood (back) end.
Click or scan to see
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maze of tubes, valves and bearings required shop care for 14 to 16 days every month the diesel-electric ran 29 days out of every thirty.

Diesels, essentially big trucks, could be operated by one man or, as we know now, one woman. Steam engines, despite automatic stokers, still require an engineer at the controls and a fireman to watch the levels. Considered too, were all the costs of ash pits, inspection pits, water and coal towers, and expensive turning-facilities. (With wheels driven by electric motors a diesel locomotive runs equally well in both directions.) This GP9 #7048 stands as a symbol of the revolution. It was part of an order placed with GM's Electro Motive Division at the tail end of Pennsy's slow conversion from steam to diesel. This order and this locomotive helped bring down the curtain on the steam era and on the great dynasty of steam in Altoona.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Railroads & Streetcars. A significant historical year for this entry is 1985.
Location. 40° 29.897′ N, 78° 29.131′ W. Marker is in Logan Township, Pennsylvania, in Blair County. Marker can be reached from Glenwhite Road / Burgoon Road. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Altoona PA 16601, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Over the Hill (within shouting distance of this marker); Trackside Buildings (within shouting distance of this marker);
GP9 Locomotive Road Number 7048 image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Fuchs, May 19, 2012
3. GP9 Locomotive Road Number 7048
View of the cab (front) end
Watching The Curve (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Horseshoe Curve (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named Horseshoe Curve (about 400 feet away); Blair County War Mothers Memorial (approx. 3.4 miles away); Blair County Memorial Highway (approx. 3.4 miles away); Endress War Memorial (approx. 3.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Logan Township.
Regarding The GP9. The GP 9 was one of the most popular locomotive models, with more than 4,000 units built. It had 1750 horsepower and a B-B wheel arrangement. What this means is that it had two axles in front (under the cab) and two axles in back (under the long hood). All of the axles were powered. That is to say, all axles had traction motors as part of their assembly.

For further information, please read:

Second Diesel Spotters Guide by Jerry A. Pinkepank (1980)
Formats Price New Used
Paperback $7.00
2. The Second Diesel Spotter's Guide, Including Industrial Units by Jerry A. Pinkepank (May 1973)
(1 customer review)Formats Price New Used
Hardcover $241.78
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Credits. This page was last revised on December 15, 2020. It was originally submitted on May 21, 2012, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. This page has been viewed 518 times since then and 31 times this year. Last updated on May 25, 2012. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on May 21, 2012, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland.

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Jul. 4, 2022