Posts Tagged ‘Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum’

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. 

Pa. State Rep. Who Championed Railroads Has Died

September 24, 2019

A veteran Pennsylvania state representative who was described as a champion of railroading has died.

Rick Geist, 74, who represented a district in Altoona for 34 years and served as chairman of the House Transportation Committee, died while vacationing last month in Russia.

He served on the board of directors of the Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum and drafted legislation to create a bipartisan feasibility study for a high-speed-rail line Pennsylvania.

He persuaded Conrail Chairman L. Stanley Crane to agree to move former Pennsylvania Railroad Class K4s 4-6-2 steam engine No. 1361 from a static display site at Horseshoe Curve to the museum.

The Altoona museum restored No. 1361 to operating condition in 1987 and it pulled excursions for a year and half before being sidelined by mechanical problems. The locomotive had been built in Altoona in 1918.

Geist was by profession a consulting engineer. He served as majority or minority chairman of House Transportation Committee for 27 years.

He used his position to help the ARMM land grants for such projects as installation of a turntable and a partial roundhouse to provide indoor storage and display space.

Geist also helped ARMM obtain funding for a new visitor center at Horseshoe Curve, which opened in 1992.

Ed’s Trip to Pennsylvania (Part 3)

September 23, 2017

Sunday morning found us back in downtown Altoona, Pennsylvania, to get a few more images of Norfolk Southern and Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian as they passed Alto Tower.

We ate breakfast and attended church that morning and also made a visit to the Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum.

At the museum we saw the ex-Pennsylvania Railroad GG1 and the Pennsy K4 1361 before heading home to Ohio.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Altoona Museum Roundhouse Getting ‘Tenants’

February 3, 2015

The new roundhouse in Altoona, Pa., at the Railroaders’ Memorial Museum will soon get some “new” tenants.

Museum officials said they plan to move into the facility Pennsylvania Railroad GG-1 electric locomotive No. 4913, Pullman solarium observation Loretto, Vulcan-built 0-4-0T Nancy, and Broadway Limited observation lounge Mountain View.

The tender from the museum’s Pennsylvania K-4s Pacific is now housed in the building. Museum volunteers are currently working to reassemble No. 1361, which was disassembled 18 years ago for restoration.

Construction of the roundhouse has been underway for more than two years.

The roundhouse will also have classroom space for Penn State’s railroad engineering and management classes.



Altoona Museum’s Roundhouse Nearly Complete

March 21, 2014

The new roundhouse at the Railroaders Memorial Museum in Altoona, Pa., is expected to be finished within the next month.

Once opened, the building will house Pennsylvania Railroad K4 No. 1361.
A restoration crew has been working on the frame, springs and other items of the 4-6-2 in Memorial Hall.

The frame, supported on the engine truck and trailing truck, will be rolled into the roundhouse. The locomotive’s drivers will be installed after the bearings have been completed. Parts now stored in Memorial Hall will be moved to the roundhouse following its completion.

The locomotive’s boiler, now stored off-site, will be moved to Altoona in a few months.