Posts Tagged ‘Pennsy K4 No. 1361’

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. 

Fabulous Fall Fun in 1987

June 23, 2020

Nickel Plate Road 765 at Clarksfield, Ohio, on Sept. 27, 1987.

My passion for steam was evident in the Fall of 1987.

In the 1980s Norfolk Southern was still operating between Orrville and Bellevue. For several years Nickel Plate Road No. 765 pulled trips sponsored by the Orrville Railroad Heritage or Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum.

Also during the ’80s the East Broad Top still had four operating 2-8-2s. Usually Nos. 12 and 17 were out just for specials as the Fall Spectacular. The regular tourist train was No. 14 or No. 15.

Finally former Pennsylvania Railroad  K-4 No. 1361 was operating crew training trips from Vail to Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.

I caught one on a spectacular autumn day not knowing the following year would be the last time it would be in steam.

Article and Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

East Broad Top Nos. 14 and 17 at Orbisonia, Pennsylvania, on Oct. 10, 1987.

EBT Nos. 12, 14, 15 and 17 at Colgate Grove during a rare quadruple-header.

EBT 14 and 17 at Colgate Grove.

Nickel Plate Road No. 765 pulling a New River trip at Montgomery, West Virginia, on Oct. 18, 1987.

Pennsylvania Railroad No. 1361 at Vail, Pennsylvania, on Oct. 25, 1987. That’s steam impresario Doyle McCormack in the SP cap.

PRR 1361 at Milesburg, Pennsylvania, which is the junction of the branch to Bellefonte with the Bald Eagle Valley branch.

PRR 1361 at Bellfonte, Pennsylvania, the county seat of Centre County, on Oct. 25, 1987.

There was Much to Anticipate in April 1987

June 5, 2020

The restore Pennsylvania Railroad K4 steam locomotive chugs along at Milesburg, Pennsylvania, north of Bellfonte on the ex-PRR Bald Eagle branch in central Pennsylvania.

April of 1987 was looking to be a very exciting month. There would be inaugural steam locomotive trips featuring Pennsylvania Railroad 4-6-2 No. 1361 and Norfolk & Western 2-6-6-4 No. 1218.

Pennsy 1361 would make its debut at Altoona, Pennsylvania, and N&W 1218 would be ssteaming out of Roanoke, Virginia.

We chose to chase the 1361 because we knew the 1218 would be up in our area later that summer.

No. 1361 ran on Conrail (the former PRR mainline) from Altoona to Tyrone then up the Nittany & Bald Eagle, a former Pennsy branch, to Bellefonte on April 12, 1987.

The day was complete rain, fog and gloom; however, that did not hinder the first time seeing the K4 live since her days just recently on display at Horseshoe Curve.

I was with the Surdyks on this day along with hundreds if not thousands witnessing this historic restoration having come to fruition.

On April 26, 1987, there was a joint Akron Railroad Club/Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts photo special on the New York & Lake Erie out of Gowanda, New York.

This excursion on former Erie Railroad tracks was set up with the president of the NY&LE, Bob Dingman.

We were fortunate to have the locomotive and a coach used in the filming of the movie Planes Trains and Automobiles with Steve Martin and John Candy.

You may notice the railroad name Contrack is a takeoff of Conrail and Amtrak.

In the movie Candy plans Del Griffith, a shower curtain ring salesman who winds up traveling  with Martin , who plays marketing executive Neal Page, by train and automobile, after their flight from New York to Chicago is diverted to Wichita, Kansas, during a blizzard.

The NY&LE was also noted for the railroad scenes in The Natural with Robert Redford. Former Grant Trunk Western 2-8-2 No. 4070 was brought from Cleveland to the NY&LE for the early scenes in the movie.

Finally on May16, 1987, Louisville & Nashville 4-6-2 No. 152 was leased by Norfolk Southern for several trips as part of its steam program.

The trip I photographed was ran from L&N 152 from Lexington to Stearns, Kentucky. N&W 611 would then return the train to Lexington.

Article and Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

No. 1361 passes a Conrail helper set on the Pittsburgh Line at Pinecroft, which is east of Altoona, Pennsylvania.

Doyle McCormick sits in the engineer’s seat of No. 1361 in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.

ARRC and RRE members ride in a a gondola during their excursion on the New York & Lake Erie. That is the late J. Gary Dillon standing on the porch of the caboose while Marty Surdyk stands at far right wearing a red and white hat.

The excursionists pose at South Dayton, New York, on the Contrack locomotive used in the movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

Louisville & Nashville 152 at Danville, Kentucky.

L&N 152 is putting on a show at Moreland, Kentucky.

Norfolk & Western 611 pulls the excursion train over the Cumberland River at Burnside, Kentucky.

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.

Levin Heading Effort to Restore PRR K4s

May 11, 2018

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.

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’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.