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Robert B. Watson collection of Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) Company documents
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Robert B. Watson collection of Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) Company documents

Accession 2421

Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library


PO Box 3630
Wilmington, Delaware, 19807
302-658-2400
research@hagley.org

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2014-01-27T13:52-0500

Finding aid prepared using best local practices and Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Cite items for this collection in the following format:
[Description and dates], Box/folder number, Robert B. Watson collection of Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) Company documents (Accession 2421), Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807

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Descriptive Summary

Title: Robert B. Watson collection of Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) Company documents
Dates: 1876-1968, bulk 1900-1957
Accession Number: 2421
Creator: Watson, Robert B., 1931-
Extent: 6.2 linear feet
Language of Material: English
Repository: Hagley Museum and Library: Manuscripts and Archives Department
Abstract: The collection consists of materials documenting Watson's work for PRR, particularly mechanical engineering and rolling stock. Records largely focus on the development of PRR locomotives and passenger cars in the mid-twentieth century.
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Administrative Information


Provenance

Gift of Robert B. Watson

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Biographical Note

Robert B. Watson was born at Altoona on June 29, 1931, and graduated from Penn State with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 1953. As a consequence of being in the R.O.T.C. program, he was also commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers and served in active duty in Railway Battalions during the end stage of the Korean War. He had begun working for the PRR in college and returned to the company full time in 1955, following the normal career path leading from Junior Engineer to Motive Power Inspector, Enginehouse Foreman, Assistant Trainmaster/Assistant Road Foreman of Engines, and Master Mechanic, while being rotated around the system. Watson completed his education by attending the Yale University Graduate School’s Railway Operations & Economics Program under a Strathcona Fellowship, graduating with a Certificate of Transportation in 1958. In this program he studied under Prof. Kent T. Healy, one of the mid-twentieth century’s leading experts in railroad operations and management. In February 1966 he became Master Mechanic at Philadelphia.

Based on his accomplishments, the company chose Watson to be its Coordinator on the Northeast Corridor Demonstration Project in September 1966. This program of the Johnson Administration was the first attempt to develop high-speed rail passenger service in imitation of the famous Shinkansen or “Bullet Trains” recently introduced in Japan. The program involved both upgrading the existing track and signaling infrastructure to take the extra wear and tear of high-speed operation and developing high-speed equipment that eventually debuted in 1969 as the first Metroliners. Watson was a member of the team that developed a high-speed test track between New Brunswick and Trenton, N.J., and ran numerous tests with a train of four experimental cars built by the Budd Company for the U.S. Department of Commerce, later the Department of Transportation. The Metroliners were rushed into production without adequate testing and debugging, and American high-speed rail has continued to lag behind its European and Asian counterparts.

With the completion of the design phase of the Northeast Corridor Project, Watson left what was now the bankrupt and doomed Penn Central Transportation Company at the end of 1971 and joined the Philadelphia consulting engineering firm of LTK Engineering Services, formerly Louis T. Klauder and Associates, where he worked on a number of projects related to rail passenger service and rolling stock until his retirement in December 1998. Watson has been active in the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society and other groups of former PRR managers and has authored several articles on the history of PRR mechanical engineering and rolling stock development.

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Scope and Content

The collection consists of materials documenting Watson's work for PRR, particularly mechanical engineering and rolling stock. Records largely focus on the development of PRR locomotives and passenger cars in the mid-twentieth century.

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Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by subject/title.

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Series Descriptions and Inventory

Box
1 A.A.R. Passenger locomotive tests, 1938
1 Altoona Shops (from History of Blair County)
1 Altoona Works -- Supervisory seminar, 1958
1 American Arch Company -- Sectional brick arches for locomotives, 1914
1 American Throttle Company, Inc., 1939
1 Anniversaries -- 100th -- Trains, Mutual Magazine, etc., 1946
1 Anniversaries -- 50th -- Railway World, 1896
1 "The Brakeman at Church", undated
1 Broad Street Station -- Closing program, 1952
1 Budd Company -- Coaches and diners, 1939
1 Bureau of New Ideas (Bruce B. Watson), 1927-1937
1 Business car No. 1000, 1965
1 C.T. 200 -- Adjusted tonnage ratings, 1915, 1924, 1965-66
1 Cab signal questions and answers
1 Car cooling schemes
1 "A Century of Motive Power on the Pennsylvania Railroad"
1 Century of Progress Exposition, 1933
1 C.I.O. News, 1945
1 Class GG1 electric locomotives
1 Class K4s steam locomotive -- Miscellaneous
1 Class L5 electric locomotive -- Tests
1 Class Q2 duplex steam locomotive, 1946-1948
1 Class S2 steam turbine locomotive, 1944-1945
1 Class T1 duplex steam locomotive, 1942-1945
1 Class V1 turbine locomotive (Proposed) -- Diagram drawing, 1945
1 "Classification of Locomotives and Tenders", 1916-1952
1 "Classification of Cars"
1 "Classification of Tenders"
1 Clippings -- Mutual Magazine -- Main Line of Public Works, 1931
1 Clippings -- Railway Age, 1928-1929
1 Coal & Water consumption of locomotives at different drawbar pulls, 1929
1 Coal-burning turbine locomotives, 1947
1 Coal inspection (Bruce B. Watson), 1933-1938
1 Coal Research Group -- First reunion dinner, 1941
1 Cost of diesel vs. electric locomotives, 1959
1 Dayton Union Railway Company -- Special instructions, 1959
Box
2 Diagram books : Diesel, electric and steam locomotives; 3 folders
2 Diagram books : Freight cars; 2 folders
2 Diagram books : Lines West steam locomotives
2 Diagram books : Passenger cars; 4 folders
2 Diagram books : Special equipment
2 Diagram books : Trucks
Box
3 Diesel locomotive roster, circa 1957
3 Diesel locomotives -- Miscellaneous, 1956-1963
3 Diesel locomotives -- Reclassification, 1951
3 Dining car lines -- Eastern District, 1938
3 Dividend notice, 1933
3 Early steam locomotive roster, circa 1847-1883
3 Electrification power system, 1963
3 Employee benefit plans, 1957
3 Employee relations, 1952
3 "The Enforcement of Specifications," by Charles B. Dudley, 1907
3 Floating equipment lettering diagrams, 1903
3 "Some Fundamentals" (Supervisors' motivational lectures), 1924-1925
3 Freight car pool instructions, 1918
3 Freight locomotive pull-speed curves, 1930
3 Freight Sales & Services advertising kit, circa 1960
3 Fusion, clinkering and slagging of coal ash
3 Geertz, A. O. -- Notebook, circa1912-1921
3 General Order -- Armed guards on mail trains, 1921
3 General Order No. 2309 -- Sunbury Division, 1923 July 2
3 "General Specification for Locomotives", 1916
3 Gibbs & Hill -- Electrification study -- Appendix, 1955
3 Index of locomotives (from M.P. 229), May 1, 1945
3 Inspection of freight cars, 1963
3 Instruction manuals : A.C. electric multiple unit cars, 1917-1928
3 Instruction manuals : Air brakes and train air, 1916-1953
3 Instruction manuals : D.C. electric locomotives (Class DD1), 1926
3 Instruction manuals : Electric locomotives (Class FF2), 1957
3 Instruction manuals : Electric locomotives (Classes L5, BB1 and BB2), 1928
3 Instruction manuals : Electric locomotives (Class O1a), 1931
3 Instruction manuals : Electric locomotives (Class P5a)
3 Instruction manuals : H.V.A.C. of passenger cars, 1900-1937
3 Instruction manuals : Hudson & Manhattan Railroad electric service, 1913
3 Instruction manuals : Machinery record instructions, 1953
Box
4 Instruction manuals : Rule books -- Miscellaneous
4 Jarrett & Palmer Special of 1876
4 Juniata Shops -- Locomotive output, 1891-1924
4 Juniata Shops -- Safety instructions
4 Keystone number plates (Mechanical Engineers file), 1927-1945
4 Laboratory and road test codes, 1913
4 Lewistown Junction station diary, 1898
4 "The Limiteds of the Freight Train Service", 1929 January 1
4 Locomotive maintenance instructions
4 Locomotive registers (Lines East), 1894-1920; 2
4 Locomotive registers (Lines West), 1916, 1920
4 "Locomotive Testing Stations" by D.R. Carling, 1973
4 Locomotive tractive effort, drawbar pull & drawbar horsepower curves, 1953
4 Lunch counter car -- Press release, 1913
4 Multiple unit car roster, 1960
4 Maintenance of equipment -- Commonly used forms, 1963
4 Mechanical Department -- Telephone directories
4 Method of preparing speed-time-distance-profile charts for line in Ohio, 1928
4 Number of locomotives, 1951-1954
4 "Operation of Diesel-Electric Locomotives on the PRR," by W. M. Keller, 1950
4 Otheograph tests of locomotives at G.E.'s Erie Plant, 1930
4 Passenger car registers, 1919, 1923, 1954, 1957
Box
5 Passenger car trucks
5 "Passenger Car Ventilation," by C. B. Dudley, 1914
5 Passenger cars retired & renamed, 1956 September
5 "Payment of Employees in Cash", 1908
5 Penn Central Management Course -- Phase I, 1970
5 Penn Central merger -- "Now that we are one", 1968
5 Penn State College -- Study at Altoona Test Plant, 1920
5 Pennroad Corporation -- Reduction of par value, 1933
5 "PRR Developments to Reduce Repair Costs of Electrical Apparatus", 1959
5 Pennsylvania Standard, 1921
5 "Pennsylvania-Westinghouse Brake Tests", 1913
5 Philadelphia & Columbia Railroad -- Map -- Philadelphia - Haverford, 1921
5 The Philadelphia Letter (Management newsletter), 1966-1968
5 Poppet valves, 1941
5 Predetermination of locomotive performance, 1930
5 Predetermination of performance of C&O 2-10-4 and Erie 2-8-4
5 Pullman cars converted to workmens cars and coaches, 1942
5 Railroad Magazine -- "Locomotives of the PRR" (Part 2)
5 Roll of Honor certificates, 1932, 1963
5 Safety Department -- Film catalog, 1965
5 Service reduction caused by coal strike, 1950 February 11
5 Sesqui-Centennial Exposition, 1926
5 Shop Crafts strike notice, 1922
5 Shops or inspection points -- Abbreviations, 1954
5 Side-wind resistance
5 Smoke lifters -- Class K4s, 1939-1940
5 The Special Apprentice News, Vol. 1, Nos. 1-23, 1921
5 Special instructions for hurricanes and snow storms -- Chesapeake Region, 1961
5 Special trains -- Closing of State College, 1918
5 Specifications -- Miscellaneous
5 Staybolt inspection diagrams
5 Summary of equipment -- U.S.R.A. (B&O, CV, WM), 1919
5 10,000-lb. hydraulic dynamometer car, 1929
5 Tender diagrams, 1924
5 Test Department : High speed passenger trucks, 1944
5 Test Department : History, by Bruce B. Watson, 1950
5 Test Department : Ladies Aid, 1942-1948
5 Test Department : Locomotive draft, 1928-1931
5 Test Department : Summary report of Claymont Tests, 1933-1938
5 Tests of Class M1 No. 6872, 1929
5 Timetable -- PRR, 1876
5 Timken-equipped rolling stock, 1942
5 Timken hopper car tests, 1930-1931; 2
Box
6 Tonnage rating drawbar pull curves
6 Tonnage rating tests -- Panhandle Division, 1929
6 Track scales, 1875
6 Tractive effort formulae, 1928-1929
6 Tractive effort -- Kiesels formula, 1928
6 Trucks & wheels
6 Walschaerts valve gear -- Increased cutoff at high speeds, 1940
6 Watkel cab air duct, 1939
6 Watkel superheater smoke tests, 1941
6 Westinghouse gas turbine locomotive, 1947
6 Watson, Bruce B. : Miscellaneous letters & notes
6 Watson, Bruce B. : Miscellaneous notes on locomotives and M.P. personnel
6 Watson, Bruce B. : Miscellaneous notices, 1913-1957
6 Watson, Bruce B. : Scrapbook, circa 1930-1940
6 Watson, Bruce B. : Test Department miscellany
Oversize
1 Originals of news clippings (Use service copies in Box OS-1)
1 News clippings from Pennsylvania News, Altoona Mirror, etc.
1 Performance of B&P Class "P" No. 317, May 1887
Drawer
MD-59 Class T1 4-4-4-4 lettering, 1945 September 10
MD-59 Class E2/E3 4-4-2, elevation, 1908 February 21
MD-59 Class G5 4-6-0, elevations, undated
MD-59 Class K2s/K2sa/K3s 4-6-2, arrangement, 1947 April 21
MD-59 Philadelphia Region operating facilities, schematic track map, circa 1955