Re: PRR Philadelphia Freight Terminal Photo

Garth Groff <sarahsan@...>


Of course, you all saw the ubiquitous Northern Pacific boxcar at left center? Always gotta have one of those.

Yours Aye,

Garth Groff  🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

On 5/31/18 11:41 PM, Jim Betz wrote:


  Is there any one on this group who "knows Philly in the 30's/40's"?

  I counted about 40 tracks - just in this photo - and each of them holding
at least 35 cars ... and that's just the part we can see (how far do those
same tracks go after they 'dive out of the bottom of the frame'?).  Doing
the math that's over 1400 cars of capacity.  And did you notice how
dominant "the ubiquitous box car" is in this picture?  Pretty much "all"
40' single door cars ...

  Any speculations on the purpose of the building at the bottom of the
frame?  I'm guessing it is at least 2 stories tall (3?) and perhaps related to
loading/unloading cars?  As in why else would all of those tracks appear
to go in under the building.  Perhaps there is some kind of vehicle bridge
crossing all of those tracks out of the frame to the left (providing access
to the port)?  I'm sure they ran freight cars out onto the piers - but
wouldn't there have been trucks and other vehicles as well?

  There are a lot of slips for ships along the river.  This scene resembles
the Oakland container port today ... of course the Philly freight house
needed a lot more people - and time - to work the same amount of
freight ...

  Nobody mentioned this so I will ... must have been a noisy place!  All
those chuffs, whistles (train and ship), banging freight cars, winches
working in the ships, thumps when the loads hit the end of their
travel into/out of the ships, etc., etc., etc.  Smelly too (the good kind
or to paraphrase Apocalypse Now "I love the smell of steam in the

  VERY few people/men in the photo!  Perhaps it is a Sunday?  Also
very few vehicles on the roads such as the one behind that water
tank on stilts.  One parking area to the left is fairly full ... doesn't
seem like enough spots to support this big an area - or did the
workers get to the area on public transportation?
- Jim B.

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