Saturday, April 03, 2021

Strasburg Railroad, Pennsylvania - July 1971

Today I have four vintage photos from Strasburg, Pennsylvania (about 50 miles southeast of Harrisburg), where the oldest continuously operating railroad in the western hemisphere still operates to this day. Chartered in 1832, the Strasburg Rail Road Company is today a heritage railroad offering excursion trains hauled by steam locomotives on 4.5 miles of track in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, as well as providing freight service to area shippers.

This first photo is neat, with the area bustling with visitors on a hot July day.

From Wikipedia: Strasburg currently has four operating steam locomotives: Great Western No. 90, Canadian National No. 89, Norfolk & Western No. 475 and Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal No. 15 (rebuilt as Thomas the Tank Engine) and the nation's largest operating fleet of historic wooden passenger coaches. The Strasburg Rail Road is one of the few railroads in the US to occasionally use steam locomotives to haul revenue freight trains. It hosts 300,000 visitors per year.

The locomotive to the left (only partially visible), old #90, is formerly from the Great Western Railway. No. 90 is Strasburg's strongest and largest steam locomotive. Used for pulling excursions and occasionally heavy freight. 90 wears a Reading 6 chime.

I     WANT     TO     GO     FOR     A     RIDE!!

These two nice ladies were probably giving campaign speeches from the rear of this passenger car, as part of their whistle-stop tour of the U.S.

I used to live in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, I wish we'd made the hour-each-direction trek to Strasburg to see this wonderful, historic railroad!



The Strausburg Railway provided a source coach for the film production crew of the 1969 movie HELLO DOLLY. The coach was converted into the open excursion car used in the musical number “Put on Your Sunday Clothes” . For years the museum ran the “ hello dolly “ coach as it appeared in the film. But as safety requirements for tourist / historical railroad associations increased, the open excursion car designed to accommodate dancers , actors and choreography wasn’t meeting the new standards. In recent years the car was converted back to its pre-Hello Dolly look and painted back to match the other restored passenger cars. It’s recognizable with its oval opera windows towards the rear of he car and it sports the name “Hello Dolly”

A locomotive was also loaned for the opening And railroad scenes of Hello Dolly - it was somewhat backdated to match the look and colors of similar locomotives of 1890 used on the New York Central / Hudson River lines.

TokyoMagic! said...

The back of that train car reminds me of Leslie Ann Warren in Victor/Victoria.

I didn't know about Strasburg, PA, or their trains. I like learnin' new things. Thanks, Major!

TokyoMagic! said...

Correction: The back of that train car reminds me of one of Leslie Ann Warren's scenes, from Victor/Victoria!

JC Shannon said...

Steam locomotives are a favorite of mine. I am amazed at how maintenance intensive they are. You don't just turn a key and go. Plus, they are all kinds of cool. I have never been there, so I am glad I got to learn about this place. I am ready for a ride as well. Thanks Major.

Anonymous said...

These images are all so sharp and crisp. And evidently stripes - both vertical and horizontal - are featured on many outfits, here. The two 'campaign speech-givers' seem to be channeling a look from an earlier era. Good for you ladies.

Thanks for the Hello, Dolly! info. HERE are some images, both more current, and from its big Hollywood 'starring role'.

Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

I just spent 25 laborious minutes writing a comment on my phone from a tent in the backyard and it disappeared as soon as I posted it (the comment; the tent's still there). I don't see how anybody can stand communicating this way. Don't feel like I've missed out on too much all these years without a smart phone.

When I took the "Magic Behind Our Steam Trains" tour at the MK in 2004, our guide was a WDW RR engineer who had retired from the NYPD and moved to Florida to work his dream job running steam trains. He told us that he had discovered that both Strasburg and Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton were both juuust outside the range of his NYPD pager, which meant he could escape for a weekend to Steam Nut Heaven without being bothered by work.

Great photos today, Major, and thanks for the extra link, Anonymous (Nanook?).

That took like 4 minutes on the laptop inside the house. Go jump in the lake, smart phone.

Andrew said...

Nice! I've never been to the Lancaster area, but it looks like there are some cool attractions there. You have the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania and the National Toy Train Museum just in Strasburg, for instance.

It's so cool that you lived in Camp Hill, Major; my great-aunt lives there now. I know you went to Hersheypark, but did you ever go to William's Grove Park (1850-2005) or Willow Mill Park (1928-1989)? Those parks were even closer to the center of Camp Hill.

I'm glad you finally found the hidden pictures, DrGoat and JG! Thanks for the kind words. Good job to TokyoMagic!, too. I didn't put you in the tree on purpose... I was going to use the "Fudgie the Whale" picture but forgot. And I'm sorry I didn't find which post had the most comments yesterday, Sue - I was Geocaching with my dad (not playing video games). :-)

DrGoat said...

I think any person interested in old timey stuff loves old locomotives. Many years back, a good friend and I procured a fairly simple but fun HO set-up. Circumstances being what they are, it faded as life interfered, as it usually does. Loved the look of the Climax Locomotive Company (later Climax Locomotive Works) locomotives. Gear driven engines that have a unique look. Bachman used to have a Climax in HO scale, but don't know if they do anymore. Might just have to dig one up. It would look great sitting on my desk at work.
Back in 1954 or so, Dad bought me (us) a Lionel O gauge set with a Lionel 726, 2-8-4 locomotive. One of my great regrets is not keeping track (no pun intended) of it. It disappeared sometime when I was about 18 and interested in other things.
A group from Carolwood Foundation came to Tucson a few years back and gave a wonderful lecture and a meet and greet at the Miniature Time Museum. Really cool to meet those folks.
Great Saturday post Major. Thanks.

JG said...

Andrew, you are welcome! What a thoughtful thing to do. I appreciate very much having my customized picture of Skull Rock!

Major, I’ve never been out to Strasburg, but we have ridden historic trains in Ft. Bragg, Virginia City, Lihue, and Yreka, definitely fun experiences.

If any of you come to Northern California, the Train Museum in Sacramento could take a whole day. We were over there a couple of weeks ago, and it was set to reopen soon. We spent hours there with our kids over the years, it’s a must for real buffs like many of you.

Thanks Mike Cozart for the film tie-ins. I never got to have a toy train set, but I think I grew up ok otherwise.

Thanks for this post, Major.


Nanook said...

@ Chuck-
Yes, that 'Anonymous' was me. I guess Blogger was in a snit...

Major Pepperidge said...

Mike Cozart, interesting… especially that they had to go all the way to Pennsylvania for the kind of coach that they wanted. The thought of them converting a genuine vintage coach to an open-air version seems kind of weird; but I suppose that the value of an old piece of railroad equipment is not like a vintage toy or whatever. And I’m glad to hear that it has been returned to its original form. Thanks Mike!

TokyoMagic!, I saw that movie when it came out, but jeez, I hardly remember it! I couldn’t have even told you that Leslie Ann Warren was in it.

TokyoMagic!, ha ha!

Jonathan, I think that the very fact that you “don’t just turn a key and go” is part of the fascination with steam locomotives! We’re so used to modern conveniences, and yet the steam loco was considered a marvel in its day.

Anonymous (Nanook?), if it can’t be polka dots, it might as well be stripes! That’s my motto, and it was also Albert Einstein’s motto. Thanks for the link to that web page.

Chuck, I know exactly what you mean! When I am away from a real computer and have to type anything of length, I absolutely hate doing it on my phone or iPad. Of course my age might have something to do with it, since younger people use their devices like they were born with them. I’m jealous that you took the “Magic Behind Our Steam Trains” tour; the fact that the tour exists at all shows how much interest has grown in the Disney trains. I’m not sure if they have something like that for the DLRR. I love that the guide had figured out ways to not be bugged by his employers!

Andrew, what are you waiting for! Now that you have your driver’s license (or soon anyway), you can make a road trip. Sadly, I never went to William’s Grove Park or Willow Mill Park, though I sure wish we had. It kills me that we were so close to those historic places, but I was at the age where I was pretty much at the mercy of doing what my mom or dad wanted to do. We were lucky that they took us to Hersheypark, I suppose! Thanks again for your very fun April Fools pictures.

DrGoat, as a kid I liked model trains, but for some reason never owned any. And at some point I felt like I either wanted to make a really elaborate setup, or not do it at all. So I didn’t do it! I love the examples that have trains going through mountains, and over trestle bridges, and maybe through farms and small towns. All I need is an entire large room and tons of money! Oh, and maybe some skills. I totally understand how you loved your model train when you were young and then outgrew it; we all have changing interests, particularly at that stage of our lives. I remember being so thrilled when my grandpa would give me a single “proof” penny in its little plastic capsule. It was brand-new and not valuable, but I loved my little coin collection. While I still have it (minus the coins that have been stolen by my mom’s guests who stay in my old bedroom), I rarely even look anymore. Cool that you got to hear a lecture from the Carolwood Foundation!

JG, yes, it really was thoughtful of Andrew to spend the time and effort … to make somebody else’s blog more fun! Unheard of. It shows what kind of person he is. Sounds like you are a “train person” for sure. I would love to se the Sacramento train museum; I went to the Orange Empire Railway Museum with TokyoMagic! and K. Martinez a few years ago, it was great fun!

Nanook, funny how both Chuck and I knew it was you!

Nanook said...

Yes, isn't it, though-? (I certainly hope it wasn't my scent that gave me away...)


Besides the pieces from Strasburg collection used in filming HELLO DOLLY, all five of the horse drawn streetcars used in the 1890 New York scenes cane from a collection in San Diego. All five were actual vintage horsecars from the 1880’s thru the 1890’s. Three of them were used in Coronado and services the Coronado ferry and the Hotel Del and Tent City on Coronado Beach. The other two streetcars had seen service in downtown San Diego. They had all been saved by a private collector. The FOX Studio purchased two outright and the others were rented. All were painted authentic color schemes used on New York’s streetcar lines on Broadway / 5th Avenue ( 14th Street in the film) . I don’t know
What became of these vintage horsecars after the filming of Hello Dolly except one : a yellow, white & red Broadway style enclosed Horsecar( manufactured by the Stephenson Car Works) in the horse drawn transport museum in old Sacramento CA. This was used as the guide for the HORSESRAWN STREETCARS at Disneyland Paris. The same Sacramento museum purchased one of the horse drawn omnibus’s made for the Hello Dolly and sold at the same studio prop auction as the Charleston Circle Fountain at Knott’s Berry Farm’s ROARING 20’s.

Did you see what I did: I tied The Stassberg to HELLO DOLLY to Disneyland Paris to Knotts Berry Farm!! Oh! And Kevin Bacon went to Knott’s Berry Farm once!


Also regarding the color scheme used on the Strasburg coach : what might seem “garish” color scheme was not a movie studio flourish but based one one of two color schemes the New York Central used on 6 open car summer excursion coaches during the 1890’s . The real coaches however were not as “heavy” as the converted Strasburg coach.

Incidentally in 19th Century and early 20th Century the color YELLOW was associated with speed in vehicles ..... it all started with the first successful railroad company in 1830 in England : The Liverpool & Manchester Railway .... they painted their first locomotives and first class coaches ( then meant non-stop service not accommodation) yellow because the fasted mail road coach line featured yellow stagecoaches. The Americans and Germans copied the British yellow for speed on their early trains as well. Even into the 20th century the fastest auto speedsters by Stutz , Mercer , Vauxhall and Mercedes were painted yellow.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, Leslie Ann Warren "exposes" herself on the back of a similar train car in Victor/Victoria, causing a gentleman passing by, to fall off of the platform at the station and onto the tracks. She was actually nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe, for her role in that film. Of course, I think she should have also been nominated for The Happiest Millionaire, but she was grossly overlooked that year.

Every time Mike mentions Hello Dolly!, I think of E.J. Peaker (and Donny Osmond). For those of you asking who E.J. Peaker is, you remember when you saw Hello Dolly!? Do you remember Miss Malloy's dress shop? Do you remember Minnie Fay, the assistant? THAT was E.J. Peaker!

zach said...

I'm a train guy for sure but I grew up hoping to see those new fangled Diesel locomotives on a streamlined passenger train. We live fairly close to Railtown 1897 State Historic Park now and I've threatened to volunteer but haven't yet. I did volunteer at Niles Canyon Railway that runs through Niles Canyon along a well-preserved portion of the First Transcontinental Railroad.

I'll second the suggestion to visit the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento. I agree, it will take you all day.

We had an American Flyer train set up in the attic. It disappeared with the old DL movies my family had. My son has my old HO stuff.

I haven't thought of E J Peaker for decades. She showed up all over the place in 60's and 70's television. I'm pretty sure I had a crush on her.

Thanks for the scans, Major, and thanks for the comments today. Happy Easter for those who observe it.


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, it was your charming accent!

Mike Cozart, I know that Hello Dolly is one of the last classic big studio productions… but I have never seen it! The more that time goes by, the more that I realize that my movie-viewing history is sorely lacking. And I consider myself a “movie buff”! If I got Turner Classic Movies, maybe I would have seen more of these wonderful old films. Thank you for all the info about the horsecars and streetcars. And YES, I see what you did! Nice addition of Kevin Bacon and Knott’s too!

Mike Cozart, I just chalked up the bright colors to the usual “Hollywood exhuberance”, shall we say. After all, they were competing with television, and what better way than to be big, and have dazzling sets and color? Do you think that the yellow color on the wheels of many Main Street vehicles is somehow tied in to the fact that yellow is associated with speed, as you said? Very interesting!

TokyoMagic!, well, you’d think that I would remember Leslie Ann Warren exposing herself, but… I don’t. I guess that was Blake Edwards’ thing - he had Julie Andrews show her boobs, famously. From my memory, many of Blake Edwards’ movies are either fun or real bores, but there are many that I haven’t seen either. Who doesn’t know who E.J. Peaker is (was)? Only the greatest actress in America, that’s who.

zach, ha ha, when you said that you have “threatened to volunteer”, I thought the same thing about Griffith Park, where Walt’s Barn is. It’s only open for short periods, and I am reasonably sure that many of the helpful and enthusiastic people who work there are volunteers. It seems like a fun thing to do on a weekend! What did you do for the Niles Canyon Railway? Your American Flyer setup sounds neat. I remember somebody telling me about their train setup that was on a table (about the size of a ping pong table), and the whole thing could be hoisted into the air, supposedly, to get it out of the way. Unless they had 10-foot ceilings, it must have been a very flat layout. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s Easter post!



Dean Finder said...

I took that "Magic Behind our Steam Trains" tour back in 2013 or so. There were a few people far more dedicated to the WDW trains than I in the group who revealed that the one locomotive that was undergoing refurbishment was having it done at Strasbourg. Small world, no?

TokyoMagic! said...

Mike Cozart, (slowly nodding my head in agreement) THE MOVIE STAR!!!!!

Major, I guess I should have said "partially" exposing herself. She still had underwear on. James Garner was making her leave town (actually, the country) so fast, that they just had her put a coat on over her underwear, and immediately took her to the train station.

I'm glad we are in agreement, on who's the greatest actress in America!

By the way, there was a contestant on Match Game '74 very early this morning, who's first name was "Major." His last name was not "Pepperidge," however.