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 30,000 were built by and for the PRR, most in the 1920s here in Altoona.
• This X29L was 40 feet, 6 inches in inside length. It carried special equipment that allowed it to run in high-speed
Erected by Railroaders Memorial Museum.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Pennsylvania Railroad marker series.
Location. 40° 30.822′ N, 78° 23.963′ W. Marker is in Altoona, Pennsylvania, in Blair County. Touch for map. Marker and Boxcar are on the grounds of the Railroaders Memorial Museum. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1300 9th Avenue, Altoona PA 16602, United States of America.
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); Pennsylvania Railroad Shops (within shouting distance of this marker); Scale Test Weight Car (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Memorial Projectile (about 800 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Altoona.
Also see . . .
1. Pennsylvania Railroad Technical and Historical Society. (Submitted on February 14, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. History of the Altoona Railroad Shops. (Submitted on February 14, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. Railfan's Guide to the Altoona Area. (Submitted on February 14, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • Man-Made Features • Railroads & Streetcars •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on February 14, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 665 times since then and 38 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on February 14, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.