The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is located in eastern Pennsylvania in the town of Strasburg. The museum was opened in 1975. The museum has on display a large and significant collection of Pennsylvania-related motive power and rolling stock spanning the years 1825 to the present.

After WWII, in 1945, the PRR still operated more than 4000 steam locomotives. During the next 10 years, the PRR began to replace them all with diesels. On Saturday Oct. 20, 1957 a passenger excursion train from Baltimore, powered by #559, an L-1s class 2-8-2 arrived in Northumberland. This would be the last operating steam locomotive at the PRR Northumberland roundhouse. By the end of Nov. 1957 all steam locomotives were retired on the PRR but they retained 125 in case they were needed. By the end of 1959 most had been sold for scrap.

Unlike its main competitor, the New York Central, the Pennsylvania Railroad (or more specifically, someone at the PRR) had the foresight to set aside one steam locomotive from each of its main classes and store them in or near that PRR roundhouse in Northumberland. This amounted to about a dozen locomotives. I have heard that this was done "quietly" as the mentality of most railroads at the time (and perhaps others at the PRR) was to scrap steam locomotives to recover whatever value they could for the steel. Some of those "saved" locomotives were:

PRR Locomotives outside the roundhouse photo by Ron Ziel.
  • Class A5s 0-4-0 94
  • Class B6sb 0-6-0 1670
  • Class D16sb 4-4-0 1223
  • Class E-6 4-4-2 460
  • Class G5s 4-6-0 5741
  • Class H6sb 2-8-0 2846
  • Class H10s 2-8-0 7688
  • Class I1sa 2-10-0 4483 (now located in_Hamburg, NY)
  • Class L1s 2-8-2 520
  • Class M1b 4-8-2 6755
  • Wanesburg & Washington 2-6-0 9684 (now located in Waynesburg, PA)

This collection represented locomotives built between 1888 (an H3 class 2-8-0) and 1923 (an M1 class 4-8-2). After 1923, the PRR had begun to focus more on electrification. Unfortunately, the collection did not include the more exciting duplex-drive locomotives from the 1939-1946 era. The collection remained at the roundhouse for around 10 years.

In Oct, 1969 the steam locomotive collection was transported from the roundhouse in Northumberland, PA to the Strasburg Railroad in Strasburg, PA in preparation for a museum that was not yet built. More than five years later in 1975, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania was created across the highway from the Strasburg Railroad. Most of the collection was then moved to this new museum. This is where the collection has remained ever since. The Northumberland roundhouse was demolished during the spring and summer of 1987.

Public areas in the Museum include a two story building (with a large "Rolling Stock Hall") and an outdoor area (complete with a turntable). The Rolling Stock Hall houses much of the older (and smaller) display pieces. Surprisingly, until a few years before I visited (in 1993), the outdoor area, which contained all of the large steam locomotives, was closed to the public! A new wing was added to the building around 1995. Now much of the collection is indoors. Many of the photos shown below are from my visit to the museum in 1993.

Sometime in 2013 it was announced that a new six-stall roundhouse would be built on the site of the museum. The steam locomotives that currently remain outside would then be displayed inside of this new roundhouse.

For more information, please visit the official Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania web site.

Pennsylvania Railroad Steam Locomotives

PRR 0-4-0 94 by R. Glueck.

Class A5s 0-4-0 #94

This 0-4-0 switcher has a typical slope-back tender for improved vision from the cab during switching operations.

Photos


PRR 0-6-0 1670 by R. Glueck.

Class B6sb 0-6-0 #1670

This 0-6-0 "shifter" had modern features like superheating, a power reverse, and a Belpaire firebox making it a very "modern" 0-6-0. After retirement, 1670 was stored for a time at Northumberland, PA.

Photos


PRR 4-4-0 1223 photo by R. Glueck.

Class D16sb 4-4-0 #1223

After retirement, 1223 was stored in Northumberland, PA. 1223 was restored to operating condition in 1965 and operated on the Strasburg Railroad with 7002 as late as 1989. After that it was moved back to the museum.

Photos


PRR 4-4-2 460 photo by Richard Duley.

Class E6s 4-4-2 #460

460 was built in 1914. It represents the height of E class Atlantics of the PRR.

460 is called "The Lindbergh Engine". In recognition of the first person to fly non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean from New York to Paris, President Calvin Coolidge bestowed the rank of Colonel upon Charles A. Lindbergh. Two competing newsreel companies vied to be the first to show their movies of the Washington Lindbergh ceremonies in the theatres of New York. One company hired an airplane. The other company hired a train. Both occurring on or around June 11, 1927. When the train left the Washington Union Station at 4:14 PM, no one realized a record breaking time would be made. 460 covered 223 miles in 3 hours and 8 minutes between Washington and New York. The train also included a mobile darkroom so that the film could be developed en route. This way, the film was ready to roll the second 460 pulled the train into Penn Station.

460 spent its last years on the PA-Reading Seashore lines. Since this photo was taken, #460 has been moved into the new building addition.

Photos


PRR 4-4-2 photo by Richard Duley.

Class E7s 4-4-2 #7002

This locomotive began life as PRR 8063. It was renumbered "7002" by the PRR for the 1949 World's Fair because the real 7002 had already been scrapped. Why was the locomotive number 7002 so important? The real 7002 was the (unofficial) world steam speed record holder (127.1 MPH). This unofficial record was set back in 1905. "7002" operated for some time (1983 - 1989) on the Strasburg Railroad, often double heading with 1223.

Photos


PRR 4-6-0 5741 photo by Richard Duley.

Class G5s 4-6-0 #5741

After retirement, 5741 was stored in Northumberland, PA. This class was among the heaviest Ten-Wheelers ever built. They were the standard motive power for the PRR commuter trains for 20 years.

Photos


PRR 2-8-0 1187 photo by R. Glueck.

Class H3 (originally R) 2-8-0 #1187

PRR 1187 is one of two locomotives at the museum carrying that number. The other is Reading 0-4-0 1187. This 1187 was built by the Pennsylvania Railroad in its Altoona Shops in 1888. This locomotive design was the first to use the Belpaire firebox which was popular on the PRR (and GN).

Photos


PRR 2-8-0 2846 photo by R. Glueck.

Class H6sb 2-8-0 #2846

2846 was built in 1905 by Baldwin. Many of this class were later fitted with automatic stokers, superheaters, and power reversers.

Photos


PRR 2-8-0 7688 photo by R. Glueck.

Class H10s 2-8-0 #7688

After retirement, 7688 was stored in Northumberland, PA.

Photos


PRR 4-6-2 3750 photo courtesy Richard Duley

Class K4s 4-6-2 #3750

The K4s was probably the most popular and best known of all PRR steam locomotives. At top speeds of 75 mph, the K4s were the principal haulers of the Pennsy's main line passenger trains. The key to success of the K4s was its uncanny ability to keep pace with more modern steam power employed by competing railroads. Today, 3750 is one of only two of the famous class to be preserved. Since this photo was taken, #3750 has been moved into the new building addition.

Photos


PRR 2-8-2 520 photo by Wes Barris.

Class L1s 2-8-2 #520

On November 14, 1942, 520 experienced a boiler explosion near Cresson. It was completely rebuilt and put back into operation. In 1957 it pulled a special railfan excursion from Enola to Norhumberland. That turned out to be its last trip. After the excursion, it was retired and placed at the roundhouse in Northumberland.

This view clearly shows the typical Belpaire firebox of the PRR. The PRR and the GN were the only two US railroads which widely used this design. 520 was built in 1916 for the PRR to replace older 2-8-0s in freight service. The L1s were the freight hauling counterparts of the famous K4s Pacifics. 520 was retired in 1957.

Photos


PRR 4-8-2 6755 photo by Wes Barris.

Class M1b 4-8-2 #6755

This magnificent dual service locomotive was built by the PRR at Altoona in 1930. After retirement it was stored outside at the Northumberland, PA roundhouse for some time before coming to the museum. The M1 class was considered by many to be the best steam locomotive the PRR ever owned. The M1 proved to be the most valuable on the railroad's mountainous Middle & Pittsburgh Divisions. Behind the locomotive is a "Coast-to-Coast" tender designed for extra capacity to allow long distance service. The tender holds 31½ tons of coal and carries 22,090 gallons of water. In 2002 when 6755 was moved from its location near the rear of the museum to its new position in front of the museum, the museum was extremely cautious. This was because it had sat in one place for such a long time that the ties below it had rotted. Despite this, its relocation to the first track inside the fence along Route 741 occurred without incident.

Photos

Non-Pennsylvania Railroad Steam Locomotives

Leetonia 3-truck Shay #1 photo by Charles J. Hartwell.

Leetonia Railroad Class C 3-truck Shay #1

Photos


Reading 0-4-0 Mother Hubbard 1187 photo by Wes Barris.

Reading Class A4B 0-4-0 Camelback #1187

This is one of only 5 surviving camelback steam locomotives. As you can see, in 1993 it was displayed on the turntable in the center of many other locomotives.

The turntable is electrically driven and was manufactured by the American Bridge Co. and installed at the Cressona, PA engine house of the Reading RR. It was moved to Bridgeport, PA in 1946 to accommodate Reading T-1 4-8-4 locomotives. It was later shipped to the Museum on three flat cars, where it was installed in operating condition.

In 2004 it was announced that 1187 would be restored to operating condition. This would make it the only operating camelback locomotive in the USA. As of 2018 the restoration is progressing but at a very slow pace. This is probably a very long-term project.

Photos


Pennsylvania Power & Light Fireless 0-8-0 photo by Hank Eisenstein.

Pennsylvania Power & Light Fireless 0-8-0 #4094

4094 is an 0-8-0 fireless locomotive once owned by the Pennsylvania Power & Light Company. She is the only streamlined fireless steam locomotive I have seen. She is now beautifully on display inside the museum building.

Photos

  • PPL 4094 (1993 Wes Barris photo)
  • PPL 4094 (1998 Photo courtesy Richard Duley)
  • PPL 4094 (1998 Photo courtesy Richard Duley)
  • PPL 4094 (Photo courtesy Hank Eisenstein)
    New York, Chicago & St. Louis 2-8-4 757 photo by Wes Barris.

    New York, Chicago & St. Louis Class S 2-8-4 #757

    757 is one of six surviving New York, Chicago, & St. Louis 2-8-4 Berkshires. After retirement in 1958, 757 sat for years near the roundhouse in Bellevue, OH. No home was found in Bellevue to display it so in 1966 it was donated by the Norfolk & Western to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. In 2017 the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum approached the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania with an offer to bring 757 back to Bellevue. In 2018 preparations are being made for this move.

    Photos

  • All material Copyright © SteamLocomotive.com
    Wes Barris