Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad “Diesel Days In Titusville”


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Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad

Diesel Fuel

A product of refined crude oil found within the oil-bearing sands and shale of the earth at locations where the ancient geology of vegetation and animal decay has been entombed for centuries.

The diesel engine, named for Rudolph Diesel, would not have been developed; if not for the pioneering efforts of Colonel Edwin Drake of Titusville who produced the first commercially-scaled oil well in the valley adjoining Titusville in 1859. The oil boom created in this valley caused entrepreneurs throughout the civilized world to conceive of innovative ideas for the use of this liquid “black gold.” The industrial revolution that accelerated the creation of wealth, construction, machinery and all forms of commerce that made America great was fueled by oil and its products and Titusville was its epicenter.

As diesel-powered railway locomotives displaced coal-fired steam locomotives, great industrial corporations competed to produce locomotives of great horsepower, tractive effort and efficiency.

Locomotive Builders

American Locomotive Company (ALCO) and General Electric Company (GE), at one time, combined their engineering talents and jointly marketed diesel-electric locomotives in order to compete with the Electromotive Division of General Motors (EMD), Baldwin-Westinghouse, Lima Locomotive (later BLW) and Fairbank-Morse, among others. One-by-one these great companies ceded market share to General Electric Company’s Transportation Products Group, which now has merged with Westinghouse Airbrake Company to form Wabtec. Wabtec/GE became the dominant builder of diesel electric locomotives, located in Erie, PA. EMD became a unit of Progress Rail a division of The Caterpillar Company and Siemens, of Germany, entered the USA to build passenger locomotives in California.

In recognition of the major role Titusville has played in the origin of diesel fuel and its use in the railroad industry, the Oil Creek Railway Historical Society developed an innovative celebratory event for the “Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad” called “Diesel Days” where we have assembled several distinct examples of the locomotive builders’ craft. We will be, of course, running two, 26 mile, 3hr trips per day, Saturday, June 22 and Sunday, June 23 “Through the Valley that changed the World.” In addition, we will run three, 1hr shorter trips each day on the Fieldmore Line within Titusville’s industrial environs.

Locomotives in use and on display

We will have locomotives on display for up close and personal examination with knowledgeable personnel to narrate and answer technical questions for young and old admirers.

#75 Oil Creek & Titusville Lines, ALCO/GE, 1,000hp, 6 cylinder, turbo-charged, model S-2 switcher. Built 1947 in Schenectady, NY for South Buffalo Railway, operated in Lackawanna, NY at Bethlehem Steel until 1979 and sold to New York & Lake Erie Railroad. She was leased to affiliate OCTL in 1986 and shipped to Titusville for start-up of the OC&T.

#85 OC&T/OCRHS, ALCO/GE, 1,000hp, 6 cylinder, turbo-charged, S-2 switcher. Built 1950 in Schenectady, NY for South Buffalo Railway, also for operation at Beth Steel’s Lackawanna plant. Bought by NYLE, she was shipped to Meadville to replace leased Conrail power on OCTL’s Corry to Meadville line, transferred to Titusville and sold to OCRHS in 1999.

#3568 OCTL, Montreal Locomotive Works (MLW, licensee of ALCO in Canada), 2,000hp, 12 cylinder, turbo-charged, model M-420 (W) road switcher. Built 1977 in Montreal, Quebec for Canadian National Railway as #2568, later #3568, sold to NYLE for use on Trillium Railway in Tillsonburg, Ontario, shipped to Titusville in 2003. This unit equipped with GE Canada electrical equipment including GE AC main alternator producing AC current to be rectified for the 4 GE (DC) traction motors.

#406 Western NY & Pennsylvania, ALCO/GE, 1,600hp, 12 cylinder, turbo-charged, model RS-3 road switcher. Built 1952, #4112 in Schenectady, NY for Delaware and Hudson Railway. Rebuilt to 2,000hp with 251 engine as DH RS-3m. Became Tioga Central 506 and later sold to WNYP, renumbered 406.

#1950 Lake Shore Railway Historical Society, a GE, 25 ton, 150hp, 6 cylinder, industrial plant switcher, built in 1950 for Pennsylvania Power Company then a private owner who sold the “Critter” to Ellwood National Forge who subsequently donated 1950 to LSRHS.