PRR 1361 Restoration Set to Begin

Work is expected to begin soon on a $2.6 million restoration of former Pennsylvania Railroad 4-6-2 No. 1361.

The project is being overseen by the Railroaders Memorial Museum in Altoona, Pennsylvania.

The K-4 engine had been on static display for 28 years at Horseshoe Curve west of Altoona.

Restoration work to operating condition began in 1985 in Altoona and the 1361 pulled a 90-mile roundtrip excursion in April 1987 on the Nittany & Bald Eagle railroad, a former PRR branch.

The locomotive’s excursion life was cut short in late 1988 when an axle overheated during its return to Altoona.

Attempts to repair it failed and the locomotive spent time in the 1990s and early 2000s at Steamtown National Historic Site. It was supposed to be restored there but that work was never completed.

In 2007 No. 1361 returned to Altoona where it has languished ever since although some progress has been made at times toward restoring the K4 back to operating condition.

The objective of the latest restoration project is to return the locomotive to its early 1950s appearance when it operated in New Jersey commuter service.

Once the 1361 is operational, it will operate in various locations throughout Pennsylvania.

Museum officials said they have relationships with railroads, other museums, and tourist operations in the state and beyond.

“The goal is to employ those relationships to allow the K4 to visit those locations as a roaming ambassador to railroad history,” said Davidson Ward, president of FMW Solutions, which is working with the museum to restore the 1361.

 “Assuming fundraising is consistent and productive, we estimate three to four years. As with any restoration, however, this is always subject to change,” he said about when the K4 might be up and running.

The 1361 was built in Altoona and was one of 425 locomotives in its class. It was retired by the Pennsy in 1956.

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