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