Any updates or progress on PRR 1361?

I have an idea - send the bits and pieces of PRR 1361 to the 'Age of Steam Roundhouse' and beg them to restore it back to live steam operation or, better yet, put it back together for indoor static public display in a railroad museum and be done with it. Politics aside financing a steam locomotive restoration like this is horribly expensive and something I don't want to get into. Hot Water is most likely correct in saying no eastern U.S. railroad would be willing to operate a live steam locomotive on their existing tracks so why bother restoring it to full steam operation.

Nobody said this would be easy or cheap (because it's not). 

The 1361 holds memories for many people, including me, being stored on Horseshoe Curve for many years. It's an iconic locomotive. If a steam locomotive can be said to be beautiful, I would say she was. If anything deserves to be restored, I would vote for it, but that's just my opinion. 

Tom 

nyccollector1 posted:

I have an idea - send the bits and pieces of PRR 1361 to the 'Age of Steam Roundhouse' and beg them to restore it back to live steam operation or, better yet, put it back together for indoor static public display in a railroad museum and be done with it. 

Yeah I’m sure the AOS group would love the undertaking to just get it reassembled for free because “we asked real nice” 

What about Everett or Nitttany and Bald Eagle? They would probably host excursions. NS will move steam locomotives but no longer host excursions. Except for 844, and maybe 261, there will be no mainline steam anywhere else with the Amtrak ban and the eastern class 1’s now giving steam the cold shoulder like NS. They just don’t want to bother anymore. Too much risk and liability. Steam trains on rare mileage always bring out the nutzos. If some shutterbug gets killed by the steam engine, guess who’s on the hook? NS. We’ll just have to ride steam on tourist lines from now on.

Montclaire posted:

Donate/trade her to Steamtown.  TE is adequate and they are looking for a second excursion engine.  

Steamtown already had their chance with 1361, and blew something north of three million dollars, and still got nowhere!  Besides, Steamtown is now working on the B&M Pacific.

Dominic Mazoch posted:

Maybe instead of getting one item running, it might get more steam, er, bang for the buck to get the entire collection out of the elements.  To explain steam, use live steam models.

The National Park Service has nowhere NEAR enough funds for THAT!!!!

Hot Water posted:
Dominic Mazoch posted:

Maybe instead of getting one item running, it might get more steam, er, bang for the buck to get the entire collection out of the elements.  To explain steam, use live steam models.

The National Park Service has nowhere NEAR enough funds for THAT!!!!

Yeah, no doubt. You don't have to be into trains to know that the NPS has routinely struggled with their budgets from year to year.

Some of you might not recall, but Steamtown was considered a massive government boondoggle at the time; spending a large amount of money to restore what was considered the rotting shell of roundhouse in a crack neighborhood within a failing northeast city. Were it not for the quick acting of Rep. Joseph McDade (R-Pa), the D&LW roundhouse site would probably be a parking lot or area where meth gets cooked, now.

Folks like us generally would like the place (I finally got to see it in 2015), but there was a massive cry of pork barrel buffet action in PA when this came to pass. The money came quick and the park was under construction before many of the locals had a clue anything was even going on.

Since that time, the money was reigned in and they're in the same position that pretty much every other park in the NPS chain; underfunded and undervalued by the public.

All,

Lets say 1361 returns to steam, would CSX/NS/Amtrak allow it to run on their tracks?

Does the Altoona museum have any track to run 1361 on?

Will 1361 be landlocked?

Lots of misinformation here.  The short version: the original allocation for the park fell several million short of what was requested, leaving many pieces out in the cold.  The annual operating budget has been essentially stagnant for three decades, and the park has to kick back a large share of their proceeds to the govt, same as any other NPS site.    In other words, they started with a shortfall and have no reasonable means to catch up, short of spending requests through the fed.

Regarding 1361, she was not a Steamtown project.  She was an outside project allowed to use the Steamtown facilites.  SNHS is looking ahead and would like a mate for BLW #26, and B&M 3713, which is under restoration.  The goal is to always have steam available.  The park is considering returning Mikado 3377 to service, after 3713 is finished.  However, the 1361 would probably cost the same in terms of labor and materials, so I believe it could be a viable option for them.

Craignor posted:

All,

Lets say 1361 returns to steam, would CSX/NS/Amtrak allow it to run on their tracks?

Does the Altoona museum have any track to run 1361 on?

Will 1361 be landlocked?

No, excursions on the mainlines would be unlikely, especially post-PTC.


No, the museum has no track, but there is a switch to an NS siding.

Would depend on NS's position on moving dead-in-tow down to Hollidaysburg to the Everett interchange, and the willingness and benevolence of the ERR's owner to allow it on the property.
The same circumstances would apply to anything run on the Nittany and Bald Eagle out of Tyrone.

Montclaire posted:

Lots of misinformation here.  The short version: the original allocation for the park fell several million short of what was requested, leaving many pieces out in the cold.  The annual operating budget has been essentially stagnant for three decades, and the park has to kick back a large share of their proceeds to the govt, same as any other NPS site.    In other words, they started with a shortfall and have no reasonable means to catch up, short of spending requests through the fed.

I actually said nothing different. I was talking about the perceptions of the public at the time and the fact that whatever money they had was pulled back once 'heavy lifting' seemed to be done (in classic government fashion, though, that doesn't really mean everything was actually completed).

You only have to Google the phrase, "Steamtown boondoggle" to see the countless news stories from 1992 and 1993 to show how ill-received the whole operation was among large sections of the public at the time (though I suspect the good citizens of Lackawanna County were less inclined to poo-poo the idea for the prospects it brought the area). Knowing how the public thinks of such things, I can hardly blame them among the people who couldn't care less about trains and how they saw Steamtown at the time; government money to restore a crumbling roundhouse in the rust belt to house one (dead) man's collection of old trains. On the face of it, it did sound like a silly waste of tax money at the time.

Think of how some (if not many) of us would feel about a similar project to secure a collection of items we didn't care about at all.

All that said, if it were up to a vote on how everything is spent by the government, we would never have gone to the Moon, dub the Panama Canal, or done all the other things we now know to be great ideas. Seeing a finished Steamtown today, we can say, "Yep, that was money well spent" but people at the time didn't have that foresight.

But as for 1361, that's going to be something that people into all forms of historical preservation are going to ponder for generations. I have a friend at the Smithsonian and she says this locomotive has become a case study in artifact mismanagement within the world of museum preservation. It's become a cautionary tale on when to leave well enough alone.

The engine, she (I think correctly) argues, would have been much better off today if 1361 had never left Horseshoe Curve and had instead stayed behind that fence, when you consider where the loco is today and in what condition, all so a just handful of people could see/ride behind 1361 in steam for only about a year.

Sadder still is that the other K4, 3750, really isn't in that great a condition, either. I've long given up on the idea that the sole currently complete K4 still sits outside, enduing those terrible PA winters, just on the other side of the wall from one of the better railroad museums in America.

Good evening,  I believe that 1361 will someday be reassmbled.   Will she steam down the rails as she did in the 80 s, I am not sure.

 What needs to happen is the existing crew that are doing their best to get this lady back together needs to get 1361 back in the public eye in a good way. 

The money allocated to 1361 restoration in the past is gone and will never be returned so it is time to move on and learn from the past as with everything in life.

If this currant crew can get the engine back in the public eye this grand lady may just come back from the dead.

Yes it takes money and dedication and know how to make this possible,but if you think about it three years ago 1361 was in storage and no one other than the person with the key knew where she was at.

Now 1361 can be seen by the public as she sits in the roundhouse at the museum so least in three years there is some progress.

Whether anyone wants to admit to it or not Altoona and the surrounding area is railroad country.

1361 was a symbolic symbol for Altoona and someday she will return. Maybe a bit older, maybe she won't move like she use to, but she will be back !!!

Mark Strittmatter

TCA#14-69917

Indiana, PA 

My opinion on this engine and some things I'd like to know. How did this engine go back to restoration/repair status after it was restored in 1987? The engine was completely rebuilt and it didn't even operate for more than a year or two. What happened? I've never seen an answer. With that being said, I honestly think a cosmetic restoration is what's needed. Sorry but in today's world this engine with its Belpaire firebox and not being up to safety standards today because of side sheets being too thin and whatever else (correct me if I'm wrong) is a ton of money to fix and a waste. I understand the engine is a huge historic piece to the state of PA but it will NEVER operate on a mainline ever again. It has plain bearings which is a big NO to most class 1's (yes I know 4449, 4501 and 630 have them and have been on the main as of recently but i would assume that's because they have a great crew and an amazing track record). Second I seriously doubt NS or CSX or whoever is in that area would allow it on their trackage also. I have no idea if Strasburg is connected to the RRMOPA but that could be it's only option but then what's the point of having that engine chug around at 20-30 mph tops. To me it seems like restoring it to operation is a huge waste of money IMO. Just do a cosmetic on it and get it back to looking like it should and preserve it indoors.

MJV1988 posted:

My opinion on this engine and some things I'd like to know. How did this engine go back to restoration/repair status after it was restored in 1987? The engine was completely rebuilt and it didn't even operate for more than a year or two. What happened? I've never seen an answer.

Well, for one thing, back in 1987 #1361 was NOT "completely rebuilt", in order to restore her to service. Plus, they burnt up a trailing truck journal durning her last operation, and damaged that axle. Additionally, the Gettysburg Railroad "disaster" occurred and the FRA eventually "changed the rules" for steam locomotive restorations/overhauls, to what we know today. Thus, #1361 is no longer compliant unless she operates at reduced boiler pressure, or the work to up-grade her firebox area is fully completed.

With that being said, I honestly think a cosmetic restoration is what's needed. Sorry but in today's world this engine with its Belpaire firebox and not being up to safety standards today because of side sheets being too thin and whatever else (correct me if I'm wrong) is a ton of money to fix and a waste. I understand the engine is a huge historic piece to the state of PA but it will NEVER operate on a mainline ever again. It has plain bearings which is a big NO to most class 1's (yes I know 4449, 4501 and 630 have them and have been on the main as of recently but i would assume that's because they have a great crew and an amazing track record). Second I seriously doubt NS or CSX or whoever is in that area would allow it on their trackage also. I have no idea if Strasburg is connected to the RRMOPA but that could be it's only option but then what's the point of having that engine chug around at 20-30 mph tops. To me it seems like restoring it to operation is a huge waste of money IMO. Just do a cosmetic on it and get it back to looking like it should and preserve it indoors.

 

MarkStrittmatter posted:

Good evening,  I believe that 1361 will someday be reassmbled.  

Well, sure, someday. I think nobody would argue the thing will never be put back together. The sad part is that so many years have come and gone with no appreciable progress to even a reassembly, let alone even a cosmetic restoration.

As for how she got 'restored' to running at all, Jack (Hot Water) hit all those points. I'm glad he did, as that's exactly what I heard at the time (a repair and not a restoration the way we'd understand it today), in an era where you could still do that. I just didn't want to talk out of turn as you never know how accurate such things can be. There's too much misinformation about this engine out there already.

I missed my chance to ever see a K4 in steam (some pals of mine and I were going to go up there about month or so after they quit running her, planned of course before the incident that sidelined her for good) and I truly doubt I'll ever get to see one running on her own.

But, if we've learned anything over the past 20 years or so, it's to never say never.

We’ll probably see 2102 steam again before the K4 is even rebuilt. Heck, the Long Island 4-6-0 at Strasburg will probably run before 1361 ever will again. There’s also no feasible place to run it. Can’t do rides over the curve to the loop and back, NS wouldn’t allow it. Maybe Nittany or Everett but it would be up to the owners to allow it and NS to move it. I rode behind it from York to Menges Mills in August, 1988.

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