PRR keystone Orangeville Yard PRR keystone

Where giants once roamed...
color photo courtesy of George Pitz (Thanks, George!!)
The Orangebille locomotive terminal was built in 1911; below is a very detiailed description of the facility, taken from the American Engineer and Railway Journal, Volumne 85 - January, 1911:

Orangeville Locomotive Terminal

Pennsylvania Railroad

A new locomotive terminal constructed by the Pennsylvania Railroad at Orangeville, near Baltimore, Md., which will take care of the power previously centered at Mt. Vernon, Biddle Street, and Bay View, is notable for the very high character of the structures and the convenience of its arrangement.  .It includes a 30-stall reinforced concrete roundhouse, a large brick and steel machine and blacksmith shop, a commodious store house, a fireproof oil house, a large power plant enclosed in a very attractive structure, and a conveniently located, well-arranged engineers' locker and reading rooms, as well as the usual coaling station, inspection pits, etc..
Referring to the illustration showing general arangement:

General layout of 1911 yard
Overview of Orangeville in 1911

General layout of 1911 yard
Overview of Orangeville in 1911

The incoming locomotives enter from the left on a single track (not shown on the drawing), which separates into three incoming tracks before reacing [sic] the incpection pits.  . There is a 75' inspection pit on each track, adjoined by an inspector's shanty, where the engineer's work reports are made out.  These three tracks continue over the ash pits, which are the standard Pennsylvania type using an air hoist*, and under the coaling station, where the supply of sand is also obtained.

Air hoist for ashes
Air hoist removing ashes
from ash pit

[The air hoist is a machine with a three-rail incline on which a donkey car rides; the rails go down into the ash pit and the donkey is loaded with ashes.  After the car is loaded it is pulled by cable into the air above a gondola car where the center rail abruply drops off to an acute angle inward, which allows a door on the bottom of the donkey car to drop open, dumping the ashes into the waiting gondola.]

At this point each track divides, permitting the locmotives either to go to the roundhouse turntable, if they are to be taken into the house, or to an 85' turntable in the northwest corner of the property, which connnects with the storage yard.  There are standpipes for water supply serving all of these tracks.  A single outgoing track leaves the rounshouse turntable and connects directly to a ladder forming the outgoing connection from all of the staging tracks.   This track is served by a standpipe at the far end of the yard, but does not permit the taking of coal or cleaning fires on the way out.

The illustration shows the general inter-relation of the buildings, and while at first it might seem that the oil house was not in a very convenient place, when it is remembered that many more locomotives pass through the storage yard than go to the roundhouse, it will be seen this structure should be more convenient to that part of the terminal.


Structure - This building has a solid reinforced concrete frame, each segment consisting of four columns, connected by girders, beams and slabs on the monolithic order.

Columns A on the inner circle are 11 x 13 in section; column B, 15 x 15 in.;., column C 16 x 16., and column D 14 X 14 in..  Column A is practically a steel column consisting of four 3¼ x 3¼ x 1⁄8 angles secured to web plates 9 x 1⁄8 and of various lengths to give the proper stiffness.  To this steel work are secured the hinges for the doors and the whole is encased in concrete, only the hinges and conductor brackets projecting through.

Between columns A is girder A reinforced on the bottom by twom 6-in, 8 lb, channels riveted to the steelwork of the columns.  In addition there are other horizontal and vertical reinforcing rods to suitably form the eaves and gutter and to tie to the beams.

Columns B are reinforced by four 7⁄8 plain round rods, which are tied every 12 in. with ¼ wire ties.  Columns B are connected at the top by girder B, which has a total depth of 2 ft. 10 in. and a width of 12 in.,beinf reinforced on the bottom by five 1 in. square twisted rods, three being straight and two bent up at the ends.

Between girder A and girder B there are three beams, twto coming at the posts and one in the center, which have a total depth of 2 ft. 4 in. and a width of 9 in.


Roundhouse interior
General view of rounshouse interior
Roundhouse ceiling
Roundhouse ceiling
Roundhouse and turntable
Roundhouse and turntable
Roundhouse and turntable
Roundhouse in section
MP54s in roundhouse c. 1975
MP54s in rounhosue c. 1975
Photo courtesy of and © George Pitz
Abandoned roundhouse, 1983
Abandoned roundhouse, 1983

These are reinforced by three 1¼ square twisted rods, two straight and one bent up at the ends, together with the stirrups of 3⁄8 round iron.

Columns C are connected by girder C, which is the same as girder B in section, but has five 1¼ square twisred rods for reinforcing.  Between girders C and B there are four beams, two at the posts and two spaced midway between between, having a section the same as between A and B, but having four 1 in. squar etwisted rods, two of which are bent up at the ends, in place of three 1¼ rods.

Between columns D is girder D, which is 2 ft. 10 in. in depth and 12 in. in width and and is reinforced with four 1 in. square twisted rods, two bent up at the ends and otehr reinforcing to form the eaves and gutter.  Between girders C and D the sane beams as between B and C are continued.

It will be noticed that the span between girders C and D is shorter than between C and B, which in turn is shorter than between A and B, which accounts for the use of similar concrete beams, although the roof area supported continually increases.

The roof structure is concrete slabs 4½ thick reinforced by 3⁄8 plain round rods spaced 6 in. centers across the heams and by 3⁄8shrinkage rods at about 18 in. centers parallel with the beams.  Other reinforcing is installed at the connections with the various girders and beams.  These slabs are covered with four-ply slag roofing.   The openings for the smokle jacks and ventilators are formed in the slabs and eyebolts for carrying the jacks are embedded in the concrete.

The outer wall of the house is formed by a 9-inch brick filling betwen columns D and below girder D.  This filling is not tied to the concrete work and extends to foundation at ground level.  A large part of the space, however, is taken up by window area, steel frames and sash being employed, which extend from the concrete girder to about 3 ft. 6 in. from the ground level where bluestone sills, resting on the brickwork, are located.   These window occupy a space 16 ft. 9½ in. in width, the distance between centers of columns being 23 ft. 11 &fasl16 in.

The floor consists of 3 x 12 in. plank laid radially, parallel with the pits, on 4 x 6 in. pine sleepers imbedded in 18 in. of cinders.  the floor at the center between pits is 4 in. higher than the rail.  The doors are of the usual swinging type and are arranged to swing inward.  They are carried from hinges imbedded in in the concrete columns and give an opening of about 12 ft.  Every third pit is provided with a wicket door. &nbdp; The end walls are of brick filling betwen cooncrete columns and provided with narrow windows in each panel.

Pits - The pits are of most substantial concrete construction, reinforcing rods being used wherever the character of the ground made it neccesary.  The side walls throughout are 2 ft. in width and the foundation is at least 12 in. thick at the narrowest point and 9 ft. 1 in. in width, except at the jacking walls, where the width of the side walls is carried out to 3 ft. 6 in. and the width of the foundation to 12 ft. 1 in.  These extensions for jack foundations are 8 ft. in length and located at the outer end of each pit on either side and at a point 27 ft. from the outer end of theh pit.  The bottom of the pit it well crowned and h as a slope of 3 in. in its length of o65 ft. inside, draining toward the inner circle.  Here there is a cast-iron grating over a sump, which connects with a 4 in. cast iron pipe leading to the turntable pit.  The rails are carried on 8 x 12 in. stringers bolted to the top of the concrete wall, as is showm in the cross section.  A 3 x 8 in. oak strip with its upper edge beveled is spiked inside of the stringer , acting as a protection for the heating pipes, which are secured along the inside walls of the pit.  The roundhouse floor is carried directly uo to the rail on eitehr side.

Eight pits in the end of the house adjacent to the machine shop are provided with drop pits.  The first two tracks having a drop pit for truck wheels, the next three a drop pit for drivers, and the following two a drop pit for trailing wheels.  The next pit is provided with a drop table for dropping all the wheels on the locomotive at once.  These drop pits are built with the same general style of walls and floor as are used in the regular engine pits.

Cast iron smoke jacks, of a new design recently developed by Paul Dickinson, Inc., are used.  These jacks have a length of 8 ft.and are supported from the I- bolts imbedded in the concrete roof slabs.  The hood joins a 40-in. diameter circular section made in two parts, which passes through an opening 4 ft. 6 in. square in the roof slab, provided with a heavy 8 in. concrte curb for distributing the stresses to the adjacent beams.   The space between the jack and the the foor is covered, but not closed, with a cast-iron extension forming part of the jack. space being left for ventelation at this point.  The top of the jack has a double hood for protection from rain or snow.  In addition to the space around the smoke jacks for ventelation there is also provided at anout the center over each pit.  These ventelators have dampers controlled by a sliding weight on the end of a chain operating gear.  Their construction and arrangement are shown in one of the illustrations.

Lighting - Inasmuch as this type of house is not provided with any overhead natural lighting, as has been customary in most new houses, special attention was given to providing large natural lighting area at both ends of the pit, and in this respect, as is clearly shown in the illustrations, unusual success has been obtained.  The windows in the outer circle are about 16 ft. 9½ in. in width and 18 ft. 10in. high over the frames, a steel sash known as Detroit Fenestra, maufactured by the Detroit Steel Products Co., is used.  For For large areas of this kind this type of sash has many advantages, not only in its strength but also in geatly increasing the available lighting area.  In each of the large windows there are six section s arranged to swing on the horizontal axis and provided with controlling rods for holding in any desired position.  On the inner circle the swinging doors have large sash in each.  This gives altogether about 375 sq. ft. of natural lighting area per pit, not including the windows in the end wall.

The heating system is by direct radiation and includes four large pipes running the full length on either side of each pit and a coil consisting of six sections extending the full length between concrete columns under the windows in the outer circle.  This heating system was designed and installed by the National Boiler Washing Co., who also furnished the boiler washing equipment.  The three pipes used in the boiler washing and filling system are supported by brackets secured to the concrete beams along the inside of column B, the connections coming down at every alternate post, as is shown in one of the illustrations.  Similar brackets carry the high pressure steam and air lines along the top of column C, while the same supply for the heating system is caried in a large pipeat the top of columns D.  The exhaust lines for the heating system are carried in a conduit just inside the foundation of the outer circle, this being covered with removable sections of flooring.

The washing tanks and pumps and other apparatus are located in the powerhouse and pipes are carried to the roundhouse in an elevated wooden trough supported by steel bents.  This same elevated conduit also carries the steam heating lines and other pipes from the powerhouse.

Turntable - The turntable pit has concrete side walls and a concrete ledge for supporting the circular rail and is floored with brick paving.  The table is a 100-ft. standard Pennsylvania type and is propelled by the standard electric turntable tractor of George B. Nichols & Bro., which operates the turmtable with the heaviest locomotive at the rate of 60 degs. in 60 seconds.

Orangville's (abandoned) turntabke in 1983

This tractor is simply an attachment to the table and is entirely self-contained.  The cab is on the tractor frame and ans all controlling appliances are located therein.  A similar tractor is used on the 85 ft. turntable at the end of the storage yard.  Since this latter turntable is located on the property line and has entering tracks from but one side, the concrete circular wall has been carried up about 3 ft. above the surface on the far sideto act as a bumping post and prevent the locomotives running off the end of the table.

Shop building

A steel and brick structure 80 ft. 3 in. x 162 ft. 10 in. in outside demensions, houses the machine and blacksmith shop, the two shops being separated by abricl wall.  This structure consists of three bays, the ceter one being carried up to give a row of winsows on either side.  There is a 10-ton crane over the center bay of the machine shop.   The structural details and architectural apperance are clearly shown in the illustration, as are also the arrangement and list of machine tool equipment.  The side windows have wooden sash and are balanced one with the other, while the windows in the clere-story are provided with an operating gear, so they can be controlled from the floor level.  The total lighting area of the building in square feet is almost exactly equal to the floor area.

sandhouse ext
Machine Shop Details

An inspection of the tools provided will show that this shop is prepared to make any class of repairs on its locomotives if neccesary.  The heavier tools are all grouped under the crane and are largely driven by individual motors, while the smaller tools are in most cases group driven.  One of the tracks in the roundhouse served by the driver drop pit continues through the outside wall and for the full length of the machine shop.  This permits the loading and unloading of heavy parts by means of the crane and also allows a locomotive to be drawn into the shop and the crane used for dismantling.

Inside shop, 1983
Inside machine shop in 1983

The shop is heated throughout by direct radiation, with the coils under the windows on the side walls.  The roof is of four-ply slagroofing laid on ¾ sheathing.


A structure which far exceeds in its architectural beauty anything usually associated with a locomotive terminal, encloses the powerhosuse at Orangeville.  It consists of a practically square building of brick with granite footings and terra cotta trimmings, with a steel stack without stays located in almost the exact center.  An extensio on the rear of 31 ft. 9½ by 34 ft. 7 in. outside is provided for the boiler washout system.  The windows, which occupy a large portion of each panel, have steel sash.  The structure has a steel framework, the center row of posts dividing it into two bays, one 35 ft. in width and the other 42 ft. in width, the latter being the boiler room and the former the engine room.  Brick filling between these columns forms a wall between the two sections.  Over the engine room there is a 10-ton crane furnished by Alfred Box & Co.   Entrances are provided to the boiler washout section from both the engine and fire room and there is but one opening between the boiler room and the engine room and this is provided with an Underwriter's automatic fire door.

Powerhouse, 1911
Powerhouse, 1911

In the fire room there are installed three Sterling boilers, with a space left for anotehr unit.  The coal is brought in the track alongside the northrn wall and discharged on the floor in front of the boilers.  The ashes fall into the basement where there is an ash handling apparatus which discharges them into cars standing on the coal receiving track.  The boler feed pumps and feed water heater are located in the boiler room between the batteries of boilers and beside the stack foundation. There are nine 24-inch ventilators over the top of the boilers and five similar ventilators in the engine room.  The foundation for the stack is a solid block of concrete 20 x 20 x 13 ft. brought up slightly above the floor level and to this the steel stack is bolted direct.
In the engine room there is a 250 k. v. a. amd a 100 k. v. a. Westinghouse generator, which furnish current at a pressure of 220 volts, 60 cycle. A25-kw steam turbine driven exciter provided for starting the main alternators, which afterwards receive their exciting current from a motor generator set. The air compressor is also located in the engine room.

Oil house

A fireproof structure, brick walls on concrete foundations with steel trusses, is used for the oil house.  Its main concrete floor is is on a level with the platform along the track and the oil tanks are in a shallow basement below.  The delivery faucets, of course, are in the main delivery room and air pressure is used to elevate the oil.   The basement contains steam heating coils over the tanks and the arrangement for filling both from tank cars and barrels has been carefully worked out.

Coaling station

The coaling station, which is of timber construction throughoutm is of the Holman - Barrett type as designed by Roberts & Schaefer Co., who erected it.  The elevating equipment consists of a pair of 2-½ ton Holman buckets and the distributing means consist of a pair of Barrett automatic distributing cars which work in time with the Holman buckets.  The total storage capacity of the plant is 1,200 tons of coal and 100 tons of sand.  Coal is received on two tracks with a receiving hopper under each.   Both hoppers feed to the one pair of Holman buckets.   Interposed between each hopper and the buckets is a pair of Barrett revolving measuring feeders so arranged that the buckets are taking coal from one hopper only at a time.

First coaling statiom at Orangeville
First coaling station
at Orangeville
Last coaling statiom at Orangeville
Last coaling station
at Orangeville

The elevating buckets and distributing cars not only handle coal, but also handle the wet sand, delivering it into a large overhead bin.  This bin has a concrete floor and underneath are two stove dryers in a fireproof compartment.  The sand gravitates through the dryers over screens into hoppers underneath, from which it is elevated to three storage tanks overhead.  These in turn deliver the sand to three tracks.  There is also a compartment for coke and for hard coal.  The plant is electrically operated and serves three tracks with coal and sand.

The water supply is obtained from the city and is pumped into two steel tubs, each of 50,000 gallons capacity, which furnish the pressure for the standpipes and general service.  The boiler feed pumps, washout equipment, etc., draw their supply from these same tanks.

There are fire hydrants located freely throughout the whole terminal, there being at least one in the vicinity of every building.

Storehouse and office building

This is a two-story structure with brick walls and woden floors supported by iron columns.  it contains the master mechanic's office, drafting room and storehouse.  In the latter there is an elevator serving the basement and both floors, and a loading platform extends the full length of the building.  Fireproof vaults of sufficient capacity to hold all valuable records rae provided.
Adjoining the storehouse is a small brick structure which includes a large reading room and rest room, communicating with the engineers' locker room, where expanded metal lockers of large capacity and in sufficient numbers have been installed for the convenience of train and shop men. &nnsp;adjoining the locker room is a large wash and toilet room.   The whole structure has concrete floors, excellent natural lighting and generally attractive surroundings.

For more general information regarding locomotive servicing facilities, you can check out my page General railroad practices, which is derived from the book Maintenance of Way and Structures by William Clyde Willard
First Edition, Second Impressio © 1915 by the McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc.
, or you can read the entire public-domain book at Google Books.

Oh - as a final, sad note to close out the history of Orangeville, here is all that was left in 2010:

Last coaling statiom at Orangeville
The end of Orangeville

The arc-shaped imprint was the roundhouse; the grassy areas between the concrete are where the inspection pits used to be.   To the right of that impression is a large, grassy arced area; this was the turntable pit.   The grass grew in these areas because they filled in the holes that were left behind when they tore down the structures.   No one planted anything; no wild flowers popped up - only weeds.   Hardly a rememberance befitting the Standard Railroad Of The World

This was Orangeville -
Where giants once roamed...

Stop Look LIVE!
Don't race trains...
even if you tie, you lose
Stop Look LIVE!

1st set of Orangeville pics
2nd set of Orangeville pics
Photos of Orangeville when it was active
Camden Yards page
Mike's Railroad Page

Last updated Friday, March 1, 2002

Last updated Friday, February 8, 2012
Page text and original photographs &cop; 2012 Michael Calo.   NO USE permitted without consent