Museum Group, Technical Society Launch Campaign to Preserve Five Pennsylvania Railroad Steam Locomotives

PRR 460

By Wayne Laepple, Steve Glischinski | January 10, 2017

STRASBURG, Pa. – The Friends of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society have begun a campaign to preserve five Pennsylvania Railroad steam locomotives. The locomotives are slated for display in a new roundhouse to be constructed at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.

During a ceremony to welcome PRR E6s 4-4-2 No. 460 back into the museum collection following a six-year cosmetic restoration, Friends President Don Lotz announced the “Ready for the Roundhouse” project. The PRR steam locomotives will be cosmetically restored, media-blasted and painted. The five engines are:

  • M1b 4-8-2 No. 6755, built at Juniata Shops in Altoona, Pa. in 1930
  • K4s 4-6-2 No. 3750, built at Juniata in 1920
  • L1s 2-8-2 No. 520, built by Baldwin in 1916
  • H10s 2-8-0 No. 7688 built by Lima in 1915
  • B6sb 0-6-0 No. 1670 built at Juniata in 1916

The locomotives are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The majority of the work will be undertaken by an outside contractor, Sandman’s Sandblasting & Coatings of Manchester, N.Y., and will be overseen by Museum rolling stock curator/restoration shop manager Allan Martin.

Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society President Steve Staffieri said the Society would match all donations to the project up to $50,000 through April 15, 2017. The Philadelphia Chapter of the PRRT&HS kicked off the campaign with a $1,000 donation. The five locomotives will be also the focus of the Friends’ annual fund drive.

The famous “Lindbergh Engine” No. 460 will join the five engines in the new roundhouse. Museum staff, volunteers and contractors spent about 29,000 hours restoring the engine to its 1950s look. For now it will be displayed in the Museum’s 100,000-square-foot Rolling Stock Hall until the new roundhouse is completed.

No. 460 earned its nickname on June 11, 1927, when it was used by the International News Reel Co. to rush film footage from Washington to New York. The newsreel company filmed a special ceremony at the U.S. Capitol honoring aviator Charles A. Lindbergh after his nonstop solo flight from New York to Paris.

Since the Museum’s restoration shop was built in 1998, artifacts that have undergone various stages of restoration or preservation work include Buffalo & Susquehanna combination car No. 35, the John Bull locomotive, a Coudersport & Port Allegany snow plow, a Pennsylvania Power & Light fireless steam engine, a Cumberland Valley Railroad coach, a PRR air brake instruction car and caboose No. 478396, and a GP38 simulator. Eight locomotives have also had asbestos abated.

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania Director Jeff Bliemeister said the state’s Historical & Museum Commission has approved all documents and drawings for the proposed six-stall, $6.1 million roundhouse. He expects the Commission to solicit bids for construction soon, with groundbreaking in the spring. Construction would be completed in 18 months, he said.

Donations to the Ready for the Roundhouse campaign can be made at www.rrmuseumpa.org. Tax deductible contributions may also sent to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, P.O. Box 125, Strasburg, PA 17579.

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