Posts Tagged ‘Altoona Pennsylvania’

WMSR to Hold Fundraising Trip for PRR 1361

August 18, 2022

A fundraising trip will be held Oct. 14 on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad to raise money toward the restoration of Pennsylvania Railroad K4s class steam locomotive No. 1361.

The 4-6-2 is being restored to operating condition by the Railroaders Memorial Museum of Altoona, Pennsylvania.

The fundraising excursion will be pulled by Chesapeake & Ohio Railway 2-6-6-2 engine No. 1309, which for the occasion will sport the No. 1361’s three-chime PRR Blue Ribbon whistle.

Capacity of the excursion has been set at 200 passengers and tickets are $361 per person.

The excursion will travel the 16-mile route from Cumberland to Frostburg, Maryland.

As part of the event, there will be a pre-departure reception, night photo shoots, raffles for cab rides, a cash bar and live music.

Attendees will have the opportunity to visit the cab of the 1309 and blow the whistle. More information and ticket information can be found at www.wmsr.com.

The 1361 was built by the PRR in its Juniata Shops in Altoona in 1918. Its restoration is expected to cost $2.6 million.

For several years the 1361 was on static display at Horseshoe Curve west of Atoona. It was removed by the museum and restored to operating condition in the late 1980s.

Another Tale From the Penn Central Scrap Line

June 26, 2022

John Woodworth, Mike Ondecker, and I visited Penn Central’s scrap line in East Altoona, Pennsylvania, on Feb. 14, 1970, where we found Penn Central 6976 (BLH AS616) still in Pennsylvania Railroad paint but with a PC roster number.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

PennDOT Awards Multimodal Grants

April 27, 2022

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announced this week that it will award $47.9 million in funding to 56 projects, some of which involve public transit.

The funding is coming from the agency’s Multimodal Transportation Fund.

Projects chosen to receive grants were selected using such criteria as safety benefits, regional economic conditions, technical and financial feasibility, job creation, energy efficiency and operational sustainability.

Rail-related projects included $1.29 awarded to rehabilitate the Altoona Transportation Center, a multimodal transportation hub for passenger rail and bus services.

The planned work includes renovating utilities, installing new wayfinding and access signs and updating passenger spaces and transfer areas.

Another rail-related project is the removal of a deteriorated bridge over an active railroad line in York County. It received $379,501.

The bridge slated for removal, the Pleasant Acres Bridge, is weight restricted and is no longer needed following completion of a new road extension and grade crossing in Springettsbury Township.

NS Recalls 18 Altoona Shop Workers

February 22, 2022

Eighteen idled Norfolk Southern workers have been recalled at the Juniata Locomotive Shop in Altoona, Pennsylvania.

A news report quoted Bob Kutz, president of the Blair-Bedford Central Labor Council, that NS has brought back eight machinists, four boilermakers, three electricians, two pipefitters, and a carman.

NS had furloughed 86 workers last July and eliminated 14 positions through attrition. The shop now has 318 workers.

Pennsy GP9 at Horseshoe Curve Gets New Paint

November 8, 2021

The former Pennsylvania Railroad GP9 on static display at Horseshoe Curve near Altoona, Pennsylvania, has received a new coat of paint.

Trains magazine reported on its website that the unit now has the correct shade of Brunswick Green used by the Pennsy.

The locomotive is situated in a park that is maintained by the Railroaders Memorial Museum of Altoona.

Museum officials also said that Horseshoe Curve park will remain open on a limited basis during the winter.

In previous years the park closed between January and March. The winter hours will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Some exceptions will be made for the upcoming holiday season and during the first two weeks of January.

86 Lose Jobs at NS Altoona Locomotive Shop

July 13, 2021

Eight-six workers were furloughed last week at Norfolk Southern’s Juaniata Locomotive Shop in Altoona, Pennsylvania.

A news report indicated that another 14 positions were eliminated through attrition.

The workers were informed of the layoffs when they reported to work and were prohibited from entering the shop complex. The furloughs reported affected 32 electricians, 31 machinists, as well as those in other trades.

NS issued a statement saying the furloughs were part of a long-term business plan. However, union officials and a local state representative lambasted the job cuts.

“It’s all corporate greed,” said Stege Plazek, the local president of the Transport Workers Union, who was among those laid off. “They continue to slash manpower to fill their pockets.

”State Rep. Lou Schmitt (R-Altoona) said railroad managers were unwilling “to cut half a penny off their record-setting dividends to keep my people employed.”

The shop will continue to employ 400 workers.

PRR 1361 Restoration Set to Begin

July 12, 2021

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.

FMW To Help with PRR 1361 Restoration

June 25, 2021

An Altoona railroad museum has hired a consulting firm to help with the restoration of Pennsylvania Railroad K4 No. 1361.

The announcement on Thursday by the Railroaders Memorial Museum said FMW Solutions will lead the effort to restore the 4-6-2 steam locomotive to operating condition.

FMW, which is based in Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee, recently helped with the restoration of U.S. Sugar 4-6-2 No. 148 in Florida and is working on the restoration of Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis 4-8-4 No. 576.

The cost of restoring the 1361 has been put at $2.6 million and the Altoona museum said fundraising efforts are being led by board chairman and former Norfolk Southern CEO Charles “Wick” Moorman. 

The 1361 was built at the Altoona Works in 1918 and ran until 1956 when it was placed on static display at Horseshoe Curve.

It was restored to operating condition in the late 1980s before being sidelined with mechanical problems after two years of operation.

Since then the locomotive resided for a time at Steamtown National Historic Site but plans to restore it there collapsed and the engine was delivered to Altoona in pieces.

Although some restoration work has been performed since then in Altoona on the tender and other locomotive components, little progress has been made. 

The museum hired FMW in 2019 to conduct a detailed inspection of the locomotive. That assessment has been reviewed and approved by the Federal Railroad Administration. 

Day on the East Slope

June 23, 2021

About three weeks ago I took a trip to Altoona, Pennsylvania, and railfanned the east slope of the former Pennsylvania Railroad Alleghany Mountain grade.

Here is a selection of some of my photographs, all of which were taken at Bennington Curve.

In order they include a downhill stack train, Amtrak’s westbound Pennsylvanian, and an eastbound coal train that had the PRR heritage leading and the Lehigh Valley heritage as a DPU

Photographs by Todd Dillon

Waiting to be Scrapped

January 28, 2021

Pennsylvania Railroad Fairbanks-Morse Train Master No. 6702 has called it a career and is waiting to be scrapped. By the time this image was made in the late 1960s to early 1970s, the Pennsy had become Penn Central. The location is the scrap line in Altoona, Pennsylvania, and the H24-66 F-M is sandwiched between two other units.

Photograph by Robert Farkas