March 15, 2017 was a defining moment for the T1 Trust, and marks the first time the two halves of the T1 locomotive's number 4 wheel set were united. The T1 Trust withstood blustery conditions and a wind chill of 10 below zero as the second Boxpok driver for 5550 was retrieved from Beaver Valley Alloy Foundry in Monaca, Pennsylvania. As one views the locomotive, the number 4 wheel set is the wheel set closest to the cab. The new driver was cast in the same custom formulated Nickel Steel, and heat treated to match the physical properties of the first driver. Interested donors will find detailed information on the T1 Trust's driver sponsorship program here: https://prrt1steamlocomotivetrust.org/station/Boxpok-Driver
Again relying on original PRR drawings in combination with modern day technology, the T1 Trust has begun work on the cab for 5550. The images below show pieces of the cab, which like the prow, were cut from aluminum sheets using a CNC machine. If you would like to make a dedicated donation in support of the T1 cab construction please send an email to email@example.com
ARRIVED at Curry Rail Services (CRS) in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. This image shows all the pieces of the T1's cab on a custom built skid awaiting assembly. Among a growing list of T1 Trust corporate sponsors, CRS is the premier provider of locomotive products to the railroad industry. Pennsy faithful will celebrate the fact that the cab for 5550 is to be built in the former PRR Samuel Rea Car Shops, now occupied by Curry Rail.
It's back to Beaver Valley Alloy Foundry in Monaca, Pennsylvania for the second driver. On December 9, 2016 the T1 Trust ordered the next driver to be cast for T1 number 5550. This driver is expected to be cast by March 6, 2017 and represents the second half of the number 4 wheelset. This new driver will be cast in the same custom formulated Nickel Steel by Beaver Valley Alloy and heat treated to match the physical properties of the General Steel Castings 2% Nickel Steel alloy. Interested donors will find information on the T1 Trust's driver sponsorship program here: https://prrt1steamlocomotivetrust.org/station/Boxpok-Driver
Less than three years into its existence, and two years ahead of schedule, the T1 Trust has managed to acquire a nearly complete set of original T1 blueprints. Largely obtained from the PRR collection housed in the Pennsylvania State Archives at Harrisburg; each historic document has been digitally scanned, meticulously catalogued, and uploaded to the Trust's file repository for use in building America's Premier Steam Locomotive.
A total of 1638 T1 mechanical drawings are now in the Trust's possession. These include 87 miscellaneous shop tools and PRR specifications that can be applied to the T1, with the remaining 1551 detailing the Locomotive and Tender. The master tracing list included only 1530 drawings, but our search has turned up a number of superseded and revised drawings that reflect design changes implemented after the master list was published. As a result, the total number of locomotive and tender drawings needed has increased to 1798.
Of the 247 drawings not yet in our possession, 91 are "E" size drawings that we have yet to search for. The remaining 150-odd drawings are confirmed to be missing from the archival collection in Harrisburg. We may be able to find some of these in other collections, such as the PRRT&HS archives in Lewistown, but many will require searching microfilm records. Fortunately, most of the missing drawings for the locomotive are relatively minor details, like pipe clamps, fittings, and fasteners, and are small format drawings that would require only a single frame of microfilm.
The tender likewise is mostly complete, however we still require several of the large format drawings for the frame, front and rear sills, and tank streamlining. Each of these may encompass up to 16 frames of microfilm, so significant post processing will be needed to reconstitute the complete drawing. Typically, we spend about two hours processing drawings for every hour spent scanning. Piecing together a single large drawing from microfilm slides can take eight hours apiece. To date, we have invested about 41 days in research and scanning activities in Harrisburg, comprising 237 man-hours of labor, with another 500 hours in processing and uploading files afterwards.
Again, the Trust has done more with less through the efforts of dedicated volunteers, coming in under budget and ahead of schedule. Please take a minute today and sponsor a drawing, help the T1 Trust Bring Back Wicked Cool. https://prrt1steamlocomotivetrust.org/store/
The "shark-nose" prow is one of the T1's defining features, and the T1 Trust is hard at work bringing back this distinctive attribute for 5550. Referencing original PRR drawings, the T1 Trust has started work on 5550's iconic prow. Seventy-eight individual parts will come together to form the 800-pound prow which is constructed primarily of aircraft-grade 6061 aluminum. The total estimated cost of the prow is just under $20,000 and the expected time frame for completion is 4-6 months.
The readily recognizable prow of the T1 has several unique features. Located in the top of the prow are two oval openings that allow heat to escape to prevent heat build up in the all aluminum structure and sheet metal. If the skin were allowed to get too hot, it would likely warp. There is also a built in internal heat shield to protect the headlight from further heat. This heat shield is completely removable so that cinders could be cleaned out that may have fallen through the top openings during regular operation. The prow itself is located outside of the smokebox, so it would not be subject to hot gases and cinders coming from the firebox.
The T1 Trust is pleased to announce the addition of Doyle McCormack to its advisory board. Best known for his work restoring and operating the Southern Pacific Daylight #4449, McCormack brings over 40 years of railroad preservation experience to the T1 Trust.
In what amounts to a "first" for any Railroad Preservation effort anywhere, the PRR T1 Trust was featured in the September 2016 issue of Popular Mechanics magazine. The PRR T1 Trust's marketing plan all along has been to appeal to the general public. With this article featuring the PRR T1 Trust in Popular Mechanics, the organization has made a great leap forward in its effort to achieve mass acceptance among rail fans and the wider public at large. Popular Mechanics was particularly fascinated by the Trust's work in bringing back General Steel Castings' Nickel Steel for use in the T1's driver. The September issue of Popular Mechanics revealed details familiar to supporters of the T1 Trust.
The T1 Trust was well represented at the 2016 PRRT&HS annual meeting in Camp Hill, PA. The T1's BOXPOK driver was on display and attracted A LOT of positive attention. Members of the T1 Trust gave two lectures to attendees about the 5550 project and staffed an information booth.
The T1 Trust announces it's Advisory Board, the Curators of the 5550. Providing advice and guidance to the non-profit T1 Trust, the Curators of the 5550 develop strategies to raise funds toward the construction of 5550, assist with marketing, promotional and educational activities associated with 5550 and The Pennsylvania Railroad T1 Steam Locomotive Trust, Inc.
The Curators of the 5550 are:
•Gary Bensman, a veteran steam locomotive rebuilder and preservationist. Bensman has overseen the restoration of more than 60 locomotives and serves on the Trust’s engineering committee.
•Wes Camp is the Trust's chief operations officer. A retired Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Master Mechanic, Camp was vice president and chief mechanical officer with Ross Rowland’s High Iron Co. and chief mechanical officer of the American Freedom Train.
•Dave Griner worked for Hartford Steam Boiler & Inspection Co., and has been involved in projects for the Strasburg Rail Road, Union Pacific, Virginia & Truckee, and the Durango & Silverton. Griner helped draft the current steam locomotive code, and his role at the T1 Trust involves project management, boiler design, and code compliance.
•Martin E. Hansen, general counsel to the T1 Trust has been practicing law for nearly 40 years. During that time he has organized the purchase and sale of over 45 steam locomotives, as well as entire railroads. Hansen also has experience operating and restoring steam locomotives.
•William “Bill” Withuhn, Curator Emeritus of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. Withuhn has written multiple articles about the PRR T1 and co-authored the current Federal Inspection and Repair Standards for Steam Locomotives. He aids the T1 Trust with fundraising and marketing.
•Jim Wrinn is the editor of Trains Magazine and the author of several railroad books. Wrinn serves the T1 Trust as a liaison to the professional railroading community and as a key fundraising resource.
•Wayne York brings his experience as the only still active founding member of the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, the keepers of Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765. York serves the T1 Trust as a strategic planning advisor and assists with the networking required for such a complex and specialized project.
The T1 Trust made history today when it cast the first Boxpok (box spoke) driver the United States has seen in nearly 70 years. Unlike a typical spoked driver, the Boxpok driver is almost entirely hollow. This design promotes a favorable strength to weight ratio and allows the fine tuning necessary for high speed operation. This is perfect for the PRR 4-4-4-4 T1 design.
During the beautiful sunset of steam, many powerful high-speed passenger locomotives were produced. Yet only a select few rode on the magic carpet of their day: the illustrious Boxpok driver. Fashioned using General Steel Castings' Nickel Steel, the last Boxpok driver was produced nearly 70 years ago. Through old-fashioned detective work, The T1 Trust was able to identify the chemical and material properties for General Steel Castings' Nickel Streel. However the annealing process remained a trade secret and a mystery, until now.
Working with Beaver Valley Alloy and a national materials testing laboratory, The T1 Trust has used 21st Century technology to successfully replicate General Steel Castings' Nickel Steel. In bringing back this extinct class of steel, the Trust is one step closer to its ultimate goal, a fully operational T1 locomotive.
Please consider a year end tax-deductible gift to help The T1 Trust keep moving forward.
The T1 Trust is pleased to announce the completion of the casting pattern to be used in the production of the T1's Boxpok drivers.
The T1 Trust's General Manager, Jason Johnson (L) and Marty Novotny (R) from Liberty Pattern stand next to the driver center casting pattern. The drivers are 80", the 72" driver center receives a 4" thick steel tire which of course goes all the way around, adding the additional 8" which results in the final driver diameter of 80".
Designed to help raise $20,000 needed to create the modern casting pattern for all eight wheels, The T1 Trust launched a new Kickstarter campaign on July 8, 2015. Highlights of the campaign include never before seen rewards ranging from T1 Trust coffee mugs to full sized bronze 5550 keystone number plates cast from the original pattern and even an opportunity to run the T1 locomotive once it's built. For more information click on the image below:
The T1 Trust was invited by the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical and Historical Society to participate in that group's annual meeting held from April 30 to May 3, 2015 in State College, Pennsylvania. The T1 Trust presented two lectures and staffed an information booth at the conference. The headlight for 5550 was revealed at the meeting, and important announcements were made concerning the progress of the 5550 CAD model, corporate sponsorship, and new opportunities for donors who wish to support the project.
The T1 Trust's Representatives at the PRRT&HS Annual Meeting (L to R) Gary Bensman, Brad Noble, Jason Johnson, Scott McGill, and Wes Camp
Assembly of all parts currently modeled, showing piston rods, crossheads, axle assemblies, side and main rods, and complete wheelsets for front and back engines. Parts correctly located in vehicle position per elevation and arrangement drawings. 46 unique parts modeled, 36 drawings referenced, 592 total parts in assembly.
To see further details on the progress of the 5550 CAD model please visit the Gallery.
Built from original PRR T1 blueprints by Gary Bensman, the headlight to adorn 5550 may now be sponsored in the Trust's Fundraising Center. The name of the headlight sponsor will appear on The T1 Trust website and a handsome donation certificate will be issued. As an enduring expression of gratitude, the Trust will also have the name of the headlight donor engraved onto the headlight casing.
The question most asked to the T1 Trust is, "Where will it run when complete?". We are pleased to announce that the Trust has received three letters of invitation to operate on various railroad lines around the country. We have received formal letters from Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, PA, the Steam Railroading Institute in Owosso, MI and the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in Independence, OH. All three organizations have a long track record of handling mainline steam locomotives and can easily support the T1 locomotive operation when complete.
"From the Rails Up", that is the approach taken by the T1 Trust's dedicated group of CAD modelers. Working from original PRR blueprints and mechanical drawings which have been extracted from the Pennsylvania State Archives, the 3D CAD team is producing a virtual model of 5550. This 3D CAD model will ensure that once produced, all the parts "fit", the model will also facilitate simulation testing and identify any potential areas of concern. Furthermore the CAD model offers the T1 Trust an advantage in negotiating with vendors. Since all the design work is finished, in many cases the CAD "math" can be exported directly to automated devices such as CNC machines. The T1 Trust is acutely aware that cost saving measures such as this are essential in making the 5550 Project a reality. The assembly in the picture contains: Driver axles (main and front), Driver axle bearings and spacers, Frame shoes, Drive wheel centers (main and front), Side rods, Main rods Crossheads, Crosshead shoes, Piston rods (front and back), Piston rod nuts, spacers, and plugs
The T1 Trust is full-steam ahead for 2015. Starting this month, visitors to the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum in Dennison, Ohio will be able to see the magnificent prototype 80" T1 wheel on display. Located on former PRR mainline, Dennision was a frequent service stop for the T1, and a fitting location for the Trust's stunning exhibit. The Trust owes a debt of gratitude to the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum for giving us such a great location to showcase our effort. In related and equally exciting news, The T1 Trust has solicited it's initial bid to have the first two wheels cast in steel.
On December 23, 2014, engineering staff from The T1 Trust met with Denny Fisher of Bill Miller Equipment Sales in Eckhart Mines, Maryland. The purpose of this visit was to introduce their personnel to the 5550 project and to conduct a preliminary examination of the former US Army Transportation Corps (USATC) Locomotive #611, currently stored onsite.
611 is a USATC S160 class consolidation (2-8-0). She was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, PA in 1943, and was originally numbered 2628. This class of locomotives was designed for use by the US Army, to provide a fleet of motive power for transporting military supplies abroad, and restoring railroad service in war torn countries during and after the war. A total of 2,120 S160's were built, and served in Africa, Asia, South America, and throughout Europe.
The 611 is of interest to the T1 trust because of what happened during her service after WWII. She was part of the motive power roster at Fort Eustis, Virginia. From 1946 until 2010, Fort Eustis was the home to the Army's Transportation School, where soldiers were trained in rail, marine, amphibious operations and other modes of transportation. In the early 1950's, 611 was modified to replace her original Walschaerts' valve gear and piston valves with an experimental derivative of the Franklin Type B1 rotary Cam Poppet valve gear. Despite being scavenged for parts to keep other S160's running at Fort Eustis, the valve gear is complete, and 611 is now the only remaining locomotive in the world fitted with any version of Franklin Rotary Cam gear.
Bill Miller Equipment Sales has graciously offered the T1 Trust unrestricted access to the 611, for the purpose of reverse-engineering the valve gear. In the coming months and years, we will be sending members of the engineering committee to Maryland, for the purpose of dismantling and blueprinting all of the surviving valve gear components. Our course of investigation will include:
Dismantle and blueprint cambox assembly to determine component part details and cam profile. Measurements will be taken using a combination of manual inspection tools, as well as 3D scanning equipment if available. We will attempt to determine material alloys used if non-destructive methods can be utilized. Finally, 3D solid models of all existing components will be created in CAD, and serve as the basis for creating a new set of B2 camboxes. We anticipate this effort will take place over the next several years.
In addition to serving our interests, the information we collect may someday be used to help restore the 611 to operational condition. To that end, a full duplicate set of prints and CAD files of the B1 parts will be provided to Bill Miller Equipment Sales for reference. The T1 trust would like to extend their thanks to Bill Miller, Denny Fisher, and all of the staff at Bill Miller Equipment Sales for their support of the 5550 project.
Engineer's side drive gearbox and return crank assembly, currently removed from locomotive. This assembly draws power from the main axle to drive the valve gear. One of the side rods is in the foreground. The short shaft with the universal joint to the left of the main housing is the end of the driveshaft assembly. This will be the first item that the T1 Trust will be dismantling to create new blueprints for the Franklin Type B gear.
On Thursday December 4, 2014 work began on the prototype driver center casting pattern for 5550. Made of high density foam, the pattern will serve as a proof, allowing for the further refinement of the driver center CAD model.
The first official painting of 5550 was completed in August of 2014. A total of 250 prints were then made and these were signed and numbered by the artist. The painting was unveiled to the public on December 1, 2014 and has been featured in railway magazines around the globe.
In order to start the T1 Project rolling, the Trust has established a Founders Club for individuals donating $1,000 (in up to four payments of $250). Join The Founders Club Today and help us to start building 5550.
Members of the Founders Club receive:
Membership in the Founders Club is a unique opportunity to get in at the beginning of the T1 project. Space is limited however, due to the number of prints.
On Friday November 21, 2014 The T1 Trust spoke to the Washington D.C. Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society. The Trust's presentation was delivered by CMO Scott McGill and described the history of the PRR T1 Class, as well the progress and goals of The T1 Trust. The talk was a big hit with those present and Scott was able to field some excellent questions.
On Wednesday November 5, 2014 The T1 Trust spoke to the St. Louis Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society. The presentation covered the history of the PRR T1 Class, as well the progress and goals of The T1 Trust. The Trust's Chairman, Brad Noble was there in person, with CMO, Scott McGill presenting via teleconference. The Trust enjoyed a great response in St. Louis. Thank you to all those in attendance for making this wonderful evening possible.
The Driving Spring Link Pin is a part with a certain amount of historical drama. The backstory is this: the T1 has been accused of excessive wheelslip. Part of this reputation may come from the fact that in the case of the two prototypes 6110 and 6111 the front and rear engines were tied together by the spring rigging. After it was determined that the front engine tended to lift off the rail in curves with this arrangement, the PRR modified the two prototypes. The suspension for the front and rear engines was separated. The front engine was equalized with the leading truck and the rear engine was equalized with the trailing truck. The original PRR drawing (E431144) bears the result of this modification in that the total number of Driving Spring Link Pins on 6110 and 6111 was reduced with two black lines of pencil from 10 to 8. This modification was carried forward on all 50 production units, and with that you might say the PRR solved the slipping problem.
Andy Pullen, one of the Trust's finest machinists, has produced the first of eight Driving Spring Link Pins for 5550. To make the part, Andy worked from original PRR mechanical drawings extracted by The T1 Trust from the Pennsylvania State Archives. Andy is no stranger to steam locomotives and his more than thirty years of experience as a machinist includes two years spent working for the Norfolk Southern Steam Program. Andy currently serves as a machinist for the US Naval Academy in the Division of Engineering and Weapons. The pins Andy is producing in his elaborate home machine shop are available for Part Sponsorship here. To sponsor the original PRR drawing number E431144 with it's remarkable penciled edits, follow this link.
The T1 Trust was invited by the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad to participate in the inaugural Steel Wheels Festival on September 27, 2014 in Cumberland, Maryland. The festival provided a great opportunity to promote the Trust, and for networking with other organizations and individuals. Thank you to everyone who came out to support The T1 Trust.
The T1 Trust is pleased to announce it is now officially a public charity with tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code. Contributions made to The T1 Trust are fully tax-deductiible. This applies to financial pledges, and also to the donation of material and services.
On Tuesday June 24, 2014 The T1 Trust spoke at the Railroaders Memorial Museum in Altoona, PA to the Horseshoe Curve Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society. Again the Trust enjoyed a warm reception, and a great outpouring of support. The Trust's Marketing Director, David Haslam was there in person, with Trust Chairman, Brad Noble, and CMO, Scott McGill presenting via teleconference.
Saturday May 31, 2014 marked another 'first' for The T1 Trust. The group's initial Kickstarter campaign came to a successful conclusion, raising over two-thousand dollars for the Trust. The campaign centered around the bronze 5550 Keystone Number Plate. The plate was cast in early April and machined at the Strasburg Rail Road Shops. The 5550 Keystone was subsequently polished and painted, and is now ready for donor's names to be engraved on the back.
On Friday May 2, 2014, The T1 Trust passed the credibility litmus test. Three members of The T1 Trust traveled to the US Department of Transportation Headquarters in Washington, DC for a meeting with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). The Trust's representatives consisted of Chairman, Bradford Noble, DO, Chief Mechanical Officer, Scott McGill, and Director of Operations, Wes Camp. The group met with three members of the FRA Motive Power & Equipment Division, Staff Director, Gary Fairbanks, Mechanical Engineer, Harold Weisinger, and Senior Safety Specialist, Steven Zuiderveen. The meeting lasted for over three hours, and allowed the Motive Power & Equipment Division to get a feel for who and what The T1 Trust is. The message delivered to the agency was clear, the Trust intends to build a fully FRA compliant locomotive. As a result of the meeting, the Trust was able to establish firm contact with the FRA moving forward. It looks like clear track ahead!
The 5550 Keystone Number Plate pattern was cast in bronze on Saturday April 3, 2014. Special thanks is due to T1 Trust Member Chuck Blardone for donating his time, talent, and effort to make this happen. The pour took place at an Amish forge in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The images that follow are a rare and unprecedented look behind the scenes at an Amish forge. We couldn't ask for a better birthing place, and the photos document the inception of T1 5550 as she transitioned gracefully from dream to reality. Full Gallery Link
The 5550 Keystone Number Plate pattern was made by Chuck Blardone, a member of our group, and editor of the PRRT&HS Keystone magazine. Chuck used mechanical drawings we extracted from the PA State Archives, and dropped the pattern off at the forge March 12 in preparation for the next bronze pour in 3-4 weeks.
The T1 Trust has assisted the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Section I, PL Sub-committee, in obtaining historic documents necessary for acquiring funding to study locomotive boiler stay bolt technology.
The T1 Trust To Present At The PRRT&HS Annual Meeting. The T1 Trust has been asked to present two 45-50 minute talks at the May 1-4, 2014 annual meeting of the PRRT&HS, in Camp Hill, PA. The request came personally from Bruce F. Smith, President of the PRRT&HS, and The T1 Trust has gratefully accepted the invitation.