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PRR 1361 Status?

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  • Member since
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  • From: Spartanburg, SC
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PRR 1361 Status?
Posted by GP-9_Man11786 on Sunday, March 11, 2012 3:25 PM

Does anybody know the status of PRR K4 1361's restoration? The last I heard the loco was headed back to Altoona in pieces. I also heard that the FRA had decided the Belpaire firebox is a faulty design, which is mind-boggeling because 1361 ran millions of miles in revenue service with that faulty firebox. I would hope this engine does steam again, someday.

Modeling the Pennsylvania Railroad in N Scale.

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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, March 11, 2012 4:53 PM

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

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Posted by MerrilyWeRollAlong on Sunday, March 11, 2012 5:13 PM

It is still sitting in pieces and will probably get put back together at some point and that's the best the locomotive will probably ever be.  The owners of the locomotive, the Railroaders Memorial Museum in Altoona botched the restoration of the locomotive.  Poor oversight of the restoration together with absolute incompetent, mismanagement of the museum has tarnished the organization to the point where it is taking years for the museum itself to regain some respect in museum and political circles.  A lot of state grant money was essentially flushed down the toilet so the Museum won't find too many friends in Harrisburg anymore.

The PRR Technical & Historical Society went on a rant about the Railroader's Memorial Museum consecutively for 5 or 6 of their quarterly magazines a year or two ago.  The PRRTH&S got so hostile to the Museum to the point where they literally said "we are going to call people out and tell them what we think" and they did that.  They named names and wrote articles and editorials in a "tar and feathering" manner and rightly so, the Museum was driven into the ground to the point where they had to layoff half the skeletal staff they already had, cut hours, cut days of operations and were falling behind on bills.

Since the Museum is getting back on its feet and is barely in any financial shape to restore the locomotive to operating condition, I don't expect it to run again for a long, long time.  In my opinion, the Museum should first learn how to run a Museum before stepping into the world of restoration where they had no expertise in.  If 1361 ever does get restored to operating conditions, the Museum will not be allowed to be a part of that process in terms of oversight and funding because of all the ill will it caused in the railroad and political community.

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Posted by Modelcar on Sunday, March 11, 2012 6:41 PM

.....After reading the posting here of the operation of the Museum, and the posted link to more reading of the problems referring to restoring the K-4 to operational condition again, seems almost no chance.

That's kind of sad.

Placed on Horseshoe Curve on display for years....and removed, and brought back to life, but now it seems it's finished.

I had the opportunity to look it over close-up, some years ago as it was standing in the Museum yard there in Altoona.  And of course take some pic's. of it.

At least it did get a chance to run after it's long display on Horseshoe Curve, and giving many a chance to see a K-4 in operation.  Now, perhaps if it can at least be put back together for a static display, and then many more can see one as a complete locomotive that really was part of hauling {many} people and freight, helping to win WWII...!

I too rode behind them 70 years ago.

Quentin

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Posted by Firelock76 on Sunday, March 11, 2012 8:17 PM

Well OK, the last I heard was that the running gear of 1361 was at the Strasburg RR for resoration work, the boiler and firebox was in Alabama being worked on by veterans of the Norfolk Southern steam program.  Very little those guys can't do.  Also, as I understand it the problem isn't really with the Belpaire boiler, it's with severe firebox erosion.  Could be wrong though, I admit it.   The REAL problem is, if it's restored to running condition, where are they going to run it?

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Posted by GP-9_Man11786 on Sunday, March 11, 2012 9:30 PM

Firelock76

Well OK, the last I heard was that the running gear of 1361 was at the Strasburg RR for resoration work, the boiler and firebox was in Alabama being worked on by veterans of the Norfolk Southern steam program.  Very little those guys can't do.  Also, as I understand it the problem isn't really with the Belpaire boiler, it's with severe firebox erosion.  Could be wrong though, I admit it.   The REAL problem is, if it's restored to running condition, where are they going to run it?

 

I would think NS would allow steam excursions around the curve at least for special events seing as how they've brought back their steam program. There is also the Nittany & Bald Eagle line not far from Altoona.

Modeling the Pennsylvania Railroad in N Scale.

www.prr-nscale.blogspot.com 

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Posted by chatanuga on Monday, March 12, 2012 7:26 PM

Here are some pics of the K4 from my family's trip to the Curve in 1985.  The interior shots were taken by our neighbor's son who took my parents' camera, hopped the fence, and blindly (since it was getting dark) took some pics of the interior.

Kevin

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Posted by oltmannd on Friday, March 16, 2012 7:29 AM

A shame that it seems it won't be able to run again.

https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/WgSy-XQzq0ERVNLULJXiJJXMsVZriA91NlJozrIiy_E?feat=directlink

This shot is at the Altoona car shop while is was still enjoying it's second life.

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

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Posted by chatanuga on Saturday, March 17, 2012 2:18 PM

Couple videos I found.

http://youtu.be/NZHOdZ-bOUc

http://youtu.be/mTVjbeRBWWk

Kevin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, March 17, 2012 4:03 PM

Thanks chatanuga for posting those videos!  Now here's the thing I don't understand, maybe because of a paucity of information from those who should know and let everyone else know:  here was 1361 up and running in 1987, apparantly running well, and withing a few years it's not running anymore.  What happened?  WHY did it happen?  How does an engine with no visible problems wind up within a stones throw of a scrapyard?  Now if it was firebox erosion of the same type that led to the retiring of Strasburg's 7002 and 1223 just how tough is it to rebuild a firebox?  OK, I know it's not THAT easy, but how does the repair and restoration of a whole engine that was up and running turn into a fiasco?  I know it's easy to critisize when you're not personally involved, I know talk is cheap, but if anyone out there can enlighten us with the "straight scoop" I'd love to hear it.  As I said in an earlier post from what I know, or THINK I know, the running gear is undergoing restoration work in Strasbug and the boiler and firebox assembly is undergoing the same in Alabama.  Anyone know of any progress?

I'm not losing any sleep over this so I can't say the lack of credible information is maddening, but I do wish the Railroaders Memorial Museum wasn't so closed-mouth about it.  It's guaranteed to lose you friends in the long run. A little PR sense wold go a long way.

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Posted by Phoebe Vet on Saturday, March 17, 2012 5:11 PM

I have the Bachmann Spectrum model of that engine on my layout.

Dave

Lackawanna Route of the Phoebe Snow

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, March 17, 2012 5:21 PM

Phoebe Vet

I have the Bachmann Spectrum model of that engine on my layout.

Oh yeah, one of these days I'll have a Lionel or Mikes Train House K-4 on my "O" gauge pike.

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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, March 17, 2012 5:31 PM

Firelock76

What happened?  WHY did it happen?  How does an engine with no visible problems wind up within a stones throw of a scrapyard? 

 ...how does the repair and restoration of a whole engine that was up and running turn into a fiasco? 

I don’t claim to have the explanation, but I have learned a little about it, and read a little between the lines.  Emotions run deep over what went wrong, and there seems to have been a lot of finger pointing.  However, I have the feeling that the locomotive could end up running again once everyone’s feelings have been sorted out.  Generally, I perceive that there is a controversy over having spent too much public money without getting the job done. 

 

As I understand it, the final nail in the coffin was the discovery of new FRA rules on boilers that require a thicker boiler shell over the firebox than what the engine had in the past and during the last phase it was under steam since being removed from the curve.  As I understand it, this discovery was not made until after this steel was replaced during the latest rebuild.  So that new work does not comply with the latest regulations and needs to be done over.  So that amounts to a new, unforeseen extra cost on top of costs that some say were already too high.  Nevertheless, a lot of work has gone into the most recent rebuild, so perhaps the locomotive could be finished for less money than starting with another restorable candidate.  I believe there may be some surprises ahead with regard to this engine. 

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Posted by MerrilyWeRollAlong on Saturday, March 17, 2012 7:54 PM

Bucyrus

 

Generally, I perceive that there is a controversy over having spent too much public money without getting the job done. 

 

 

If it was that simple, then the job would have gotten done. The issue is that the people who oversaw the restoration to operation had NO experience in restoring a locomotive to operating condition so they just took the word of whoever they hired to restore the locomotive.  This resulted in public funds being used to pay for shoddy work.  Had the Railroader's Memorial Museum board and the person they hired to restore the locomotive were competent at locomotive restoration, they would have known ahead of time what materials were acceptable and what the thickness of the boiler shell should have been in order to be acceptable by the FRA.  Again, it needs to be emphasized that the head of the of Railroader's Memorial Museum at the time was WAY in over his head as he knew how to run daily operations of a museum but was not qualified to be the president  nor did he have the knowledge of how to restore a locomotive.  The number one job of a not-for-profit museum president is to raise funds to keep the museum running and he failed at that which resulted in massived cut backs in staff and operating hours.  (BTW, i'm not saying that he is a bad person, he was just in over his head.)

 

Yes, it is possible the locomotive could run again, but it is no longer a top priority of the Museum.  The Museum has a lot of public relationship rebuilding it has to do before it could even considered rebuilding the locomotive.  At the same time, it's not even clear what the full extent of the damage the contractors did to the locomotive.  That would require a full (not to mention an expensive) inspection of the locomotive.  From what I understand, the Museum's current project of building a roundhouse for the Museum's collection of equipment is under great scrutiny/oversight (from a variety of overseers) to ensure that it is being done correctly.  Just for the record, I too would love to see the locomotive restore but it doesn't look like it'll happen anytime soon.

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