28% CoMPleTe: ‘T1’ geTs a TeNder
America’s $10m new-build project, Pennsylvania Railroad ‘T1’ 4-4-4-4 No. 5550, is already 28% complete by weight - thanks to the discovery of a suitable tender. Purchased from the Western New York Railway Historical Society (WNYRHS), the 16-wheel, 200,000lb tender, holding 31 tons of coal and 21,000 gallons of water, is the last known survivor of its type. Last used behind an ‘M1’ 4-8-2, it is essentially identical to a ‘T1’ tender, but without streamlining. Described as being in “excellent condition” it is to be restored in authentic dark green at a cost of $45,000, saving the estimated $3m needed to build a new tender. The T1 Trust has agreed with the WNYRHS to keep the tender at its Buffalo, New York, base for up to 30 years at an annual cost of $1. Following the completion of No. 5550’s streamlined prow earlier this year, its cab has been built by Curry Rail Services - based in the former PRR Samuel Rea Car Shops in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. Having cast the first two Boxpok wheels in February 2016 and March this year, the Trust is looking ahead to the construction of the frame - which, like many US locomotives, is a steel casting. A foundry capable of doing the job has been identified, but it is possible that it will have to be fabricated from smaller castings. An original ‘T1’ whistle has been donated, and thanks to another lucky find - a Franklin Railway Supply instruction manual - it has been decided to fit the Franklin rotary cam poppet valve gear used on the original No. 5550 in 1948. Like the UK’s new-build groups such as the ‘P2’, the trust is raising funds through a monthly donation scheme. For more details, visit the website at prrt1steamlocomotivetrust.org
The Pennsylvania railroad 16-wheel tender purchased for new-build ‘T1’ 4-4-4-4 No. 5550. It resembles something from a science fiction movie, but actually it’s a new-build locomotive across the atlantic that has a ‘face’ - Pennsylvania railroad ‘T1’ 4-4-4-4 No. 5550. The front end of the streamlined machine - dubbed the ‘shark’s nose’ - has been painted, complete with numberplate.