Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania Railroad steam locomotives’

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.

Pennsy Steam on the Strasburg

June 27, 2020

It’s mid-1970 in Strasburg, Pennsylvania, where Pennsylvania Railroad 4-4-0 No. 1223 is live on the Strasburg Rail Road.

The American type locomotive was built in Altoona, Pennsylvania, in 1905 and its excursion career has ended.

It is now on static display at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Pennsy 0-6-0 To Operate at Pa. Steam Festival

April 9, 2015

A former Pennsylvania Railroad 0-6-0 will operate during the Williams Grove Historical Steam Engine Association’s annual steam show Aug. 30–Sept. 7.

Built in Altoona, Pa., in 1901, No. 643 is the nation’s only operable Pennsylvania Railroad steam locomotive.

The Association was formed in 1958 to preserve steam-powered equipment and provide information about the history of farming.

During the association’s annual steam show, it uses steam engines for plowing, harvesting and sawing.

The show is held at the show grounds west of Harrisburg, Pa., and south of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. For further information, visit



Ex-PRR Steamer to Operate in Pennsylvania

March 21, 2014

The only operating former Pennsylvania Railroad steam locomotive will operate on several dates this spring and summer for the Williams Grove Railroad.

The 0-6-0 No. 643 is owned by the Williams Grove Historical Steam Engine Association, which has expanded its schedule of steam trips and its “Run a Locomotive” program for 2014.

No. 643 will run on the following dates: May 17 to 18, June 1 and 29, July 19 to 20, Aug. 24, and Aug. 27 to 31. The association also offers a chance for visitors to run No. 643 on select dates at a cost of $125 per 30-minute slot.

Built in 1901 by the Pennsylvania, No. 643 is a class B4a 0-6-0 switcher, among the last of its class built.

By 1917 the PRR had declared No. 643 surplus and sold it to the Central Iron and Steel Company in Harrisburg, Pa., where it was renumbered No. 5.

For the next 40 years it worked for Central Iron and its successor company, Phoenix Iron and Steel. The original smaller original tender was replaced with a larger, welded tender.

In 1945 it received a new replacement boiler at the H.K. Porter Company. The original 1901 boiler was of the Belpaire type favored by the PRR, but the new boiler is of the more common radial stay style.

The steel mill closed in 1959 and two years later No. 643 was purchased by the Williams Grove Historical Steam Engine Association and moved to Williams Grove.

In addition to No. 643, the association operates No. 52, a 65-ton center cab diesel built by Vulcan Iron Works in 1953.