Pennsylvania Railroad 4-6-2 K4s 1361 is one of 425 K4 series Pacifics used on its top passenger trains until the late 1950's. 1361 was built by the PRR in its own Altoona Works in 1918. Today, the locomotive is in pieces after a failure to properly maintain it by its current owner, the Altoona Railroader's Memorial Museum, along with a misappropriation of funding.
1361 operated on the North East portion of the Pennsylvania Railroad, likely operating no further west than Chicago. It often powered the mainline "name trains," such as the Broadway Limited. It also operated occasionaly on the jointly owned Pennslyvania-Reading Seashore Lines into Altantic City. The 1361 was equipped with the most modern fittings installed on the K4s, excluding poppet valves. It got the modern slat pilot, typical PRR smokebox configuration, and modern interchangeable tender. Its career ended in 1956, when diesels took over operation of passenger trains completely. It is estimated at earning approximately 2.5 million miles over its career. On June 8, 1957, PRR donated 1361 to the city of Altoona, and briefly returned to excursion service 30 years later.
Preservation and RestorationEdit
After retirement and dedication, the 1361 was placed on display on a piece of track at the Horseshoe Curve viewing area surrounded by an inverted barbed wire fence. Periodically, 1361's decorative fittings, such as headlight and number plate, were removed for maintenance. The 1361 itself was still a victim of heavy elements, though the damage was mostly on the outside to things like the boiler plating and cab. The fledgling Altoona Railroaders' Memorial Museum took over control of the Horseshoe Curve visitor center and made the decision shortly after that the K4 could be better cared for at the site of the new museum. The ARMM removed 1361 and replaced it with a Pennsylvania Railroad GP9 in 1985.
1361 was restored to running condition in 1987 and briefly saw excursion service. in 1988, the main bearings and driving axle suffered a failure and 1361 was pulled from excursion service. On December 18, 1987, 1361 was declared the State Locomotive of Pennsylvania.
In 1996, the engine was dismantled and sent to Steamtown for a complete return to operating condition. However, funding ran out and he restoration was not complete. In 2010, the restoration was cancelled. in 2013, it was decided to return 1361 to the Altoona Railroaders Museum in hope of having it fully restored, and the boiler and most of the small components have been moved. Unfortunately, restoration was once again cancelled due to slow progress.
Restoration commenced again in 2015, with a group of four dedicated people working on the locomotive. Slow work on the engine continues to take place as of 2017. An announcement was made in May 2018 by Bennett Levin, who is famous for owning and operating two PRR EMD E8s, that a full restoration of 1361 is somewhere in the works. He is working alongside Wick Moorman, former CEO of Norfolk Southern and former head of the 21st Century Steam Program.
The disassembled remains of 1361 currently reside inside the Museum's newly built Roundhouse.