Levin Heading Effort to Restore PRR K4s

An effort to restore former Pennsylvania Railroad K4s 4-6-2 No. 1361 kicked off this week.

Bennett Levin, who owns a pair of PRR passenger diesels, is behind the effort to ramp up the restoration effort.

Speaking to the 50th anniversary convention of the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society in Altoona, Pennsylvania, Levin said the official state locomotive of Pennsylvania needs a new boiler and its axles must be converted to roller bearings.

Levin said new boiler would cost at least $1 million with the money coming from private sources.

Former Norfolk Southern CEO Charles “Wick” Moorman is reportedly helping to support the restoration.

“We believe there are financial partners out there to sustain the operation,” Levin said. “There is movement going forward.”

Levin said once the 1361 is restored that it will be used to pull a replica 1940s and 1950s Pennsy passengers train in Pennsylvania.

No. 1361 was displayed at Horseshoe Curve near Altoona between 1957 and 1985.

The locomotive was then restored to operating condition and pulled excursion trains before an axle problem sidelined it 1988.

Partial restoration was done at Steamtown and the East Broad Top shops in Orbisonia, Pennsylvania, but the locomotive has been in a state of disassembly for more than 20 years.

Some further work has been done on the boiler and other components in Altoona in recent years.

Levin acknowledged that the operating environment for historic equipment is “fragile.”

Amtrak canceled a special he had planned to operate to the PRRT&HS convention with his PRR E8A locomotives and passenger cars.

He said he will work for a legislative remedy to alleviate liability insurance issues that hinder excursion trains so that excursion operators no longer need Amtrak’s liability insurance to use freight railroad tracks.

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