May 23, 2024


Simply Consistent

T1 Trust displays progress in building new steam locomotive

Long black bolier and related parts of steam locomotive under construction, mounted on wheels for highway movement
The combined cab, boiler shell, and prow of T1 Have faith in locomotive 5550 is shown in Harrisburg, Pa. (Dan Cupper)

HARRISBURG, Pa. — In the to start with public showing of the mixed taxi, boiler shell, and prow of its new streamlined steam engine, No. 5550, the Pennsylvania Railroad T1 Steam Locomotive Have confidence in displayed its development on a undertaking whose backers hope to see it operating by 2030.

The Have faith in trucked the 30-ton assembly 1,200 miles from its fabrication web site in St. Louis to a Harrisburg resort wherever the Pennsylvania Railroad Technological & Historical Modern society is keeping its yearly conference this weekend.

The Trust’s aim is to produce a new member of the legendary 52-motor fleet of PRR T1-course 4-4-4-4 large-speed passenger locomotives, all of which were being scrapped [see “Pennsy T1 comes to life in a St. Louis shop,” Trains News Wire, March 30, 2018]. Have confidence in General Supervisor Jason Johnson reported that the team has lifted $1.715 million to day and the motor is 39% finish, as measured by weight of components.

Finished, the engine will weigh 1 million lbs and the tender 200,000 kilos.

Front of locomotive being built next to banner with picture of complete engine
The nose of No. 5550 stands future to a banner showing a completed T1. (Dan Cupper)

The Have faith in has revealed areas of the locomotive, these types of as a keystone numberplate, an 80-inch-diameter driving wheel, the nose, and the taxi, at preceding society conferences. But the sheer bulk and appearance of the perform-in-progress assembly ended up a stunning departure from previous conferences.

The primary PRR T1 fleet consisted of two prototypes, Nos. 6110-6111, designed by Baldwin Locomotive Is effective in 1942, and 50 generation engines crafted in 1945-46, half by Baldwin (Nos. 5500-5524) and half by PRR’s Altoona (Pa.) Will work (Nos. 5525-5549). Thus the Trust’s decision to quantity its engine 5550, which would have been the upcoming in the series. No. 5549 was the final locomotive accomplished at Altoona of about 6,800 steam and electric powered engines constructed there due to the fact 1866.

The styling, together with a distinctive wind-splitter nose that presaged BLW’s sharknose road diesel style, was the development of famed industrial designer Raymond Loewy.

Johnson noted that 4 80-inch-diameter motorists have been solid, with the remaining four in manufacturing.

Necessary variants from the unique PRR layout incorporate:

— Oil firing in its place of coal.

— An all-welded boiler alternatively of riveted.

— A contemporary 26 brake technique.

— The potential to MU with diesels.

— A wheel-slip alarm.

As to the concern of the place to operate No. 5550, Johnson stated economics dictate that it be on quick strains and regionals at generally 25 to 40 mph. It would be technically achievable to operate on principal traces “if we experienced coaches and our own insurance plan,” he explained, but fees would take in up virtually all income.

Man standing next to partially built locomotive talking to spectators
T1 Have confidence in Standard Manager Jason Johnson discusses the job with attendees at the Pennsylvania Railroad Complex & Historic Culture convention. (Dan Cupper)

The following hurdle, Johnson reported, will be to make the 68-foot-very long frame, which will comprise each fabricated and welded elements. The originals ended up one particular-piece forged frames with all four cylinders integral to the casting. When it’s technically probable to duplicate that feat nowadays, Johnson said, the Rely on can save time and money by dividing the job into “10-20-30-40 elements.” Otherwise, the endeavor would value 3 to 5 occasions extra. This and other tasks will be accomplished with the help of Computer system-Aided Layout and 3-D modeling, applications that did not exist for Baldwin and PRR.

Scott McGill, the Belief ‘s main mechanical officer, described the operate required to get to this phase. He put in the equivalent of 41 8-hour days in the Pennsylvania Condition Archives, copying and scanning 1,754 T1 blueprints out of an approximated 450,000 in the state’s holdings, which had been saved from PRR’s Harrisburg roundhouse. The T1s ended up mostly primarily based listed here, foremost PRR’s Blue Ribbon Fleet, such as the Broadway Constrained to Chicago and Spirit of St. Louis to St. Louis. The Trust’s blueprints symbolize 99% of all those necessary, lacking only 14 drawings for a total set.

The Believe in has obtained a previous PRR tender that is equivalent to the substantial 16-wheel Course 180P84 tenders utilized driving the initial T1s, and will spend an believed $200,000 to streamline it and or else make it acceptable. This saved the group at the very least $3 million above the cost of constructing a new tender.

The Believe in acquired its get started in 2017 when Missouri medical professional and longtime PRR fan Brad Noble browse about the British success in creating a new edition of a “lost” steam-locomotive class, the A1 Tornado. He questioned what would materialize if a billionaire like Invoice Gates made a decision to again this kind of a challenge.

Partially completed locomotive with headlight illuminated
The partially completed T1 at night. (Dan Cupper)

The authentic T1s ended up designed to operate at effectively about 100 mph and, in a troubleshooting mission, the Franklin Railway Supply Co. basically clocked just one unofficially at 141 mph. The emergence of the Tornado acquired Noble to questioning if it have been possible to set up a new verifiable globe pace history for steam, set at 126 mph in 1938 by London & North Jap Railway A4-course 4-6-2 motor No. 4468, Mallard.

By a quantity of contacts, he approached the Federal Railroad Administration, which coached him and colleagues on necessities and specifications desired to create a new locomotive in the write-up-steam era. He characterized FRA as both polite and hugely supportive. Generation of a internet site and fundraising system quickly adopted.

Standing in the hotel parking lot amid scores of photographers and the curious, Noble said, “I am grateful to be aspect of these an epic endeavor. Of course, I said epic.”

The job will once more be on screen Sunday, May perhaps 15, at the Harrisburg-Hershey Sheraton, 4650 Lindle Street in Harrisburg.

Far more facts on the T1 Have confidence in is out there at its web site a lot more on the Pennsylvania Railroad Complex & Historic Culture is available listed here.