There are a number of reasons why we chose the T1 for our project. First and foremost, we’re PRR fans in general, and T1 fans in particular. Personal preferences aside, there are a number of other reasons why we feel it should be recreated: – The PRR didn’t preserve one in the historic collection at Northumberland. – Of the PRR duplexii, it was the most widely produced (52 units), and if we want to build a late PRR design, it would be the most representative. – Of all the Duplexes, it was the only class capable of running anywhere in system (The S1 was limited to between Crestline and Chicago, and the Q2 could only move light as far east as Altoona) – It possessed a combination of features that wasn’t utilized anywhere else (Franklin Poppet valves, Duplex drive, and Loewy styling), and was therefore unique. The uniqueness of the design is the main reason we’d like to see it reproduced. There are a lot of other large steam locomotive restoration projects ongoing, and we need to do something to set ourselves apart from other organizations making appeals for donations. If completed, the T1 would be the only poppet valve locomotive operating in the USA, and the only rigid frame duplex anywhere in the world. Finally, there is so much conjecture on the T1’s actual performance – whether it could actually attain the speeds attributed to it, or how difficult they were to operate and maintain – that it would put to rest a lot of questions regarding what the design was capable of. There is more potential for learning in the process of rebuilding a T1 than there would be a more “conventional” design, and we’d have the opportunity to validate the revolutionary ideas of the men who created it.
As was alluded to in another question – there’s very little to be learned from building a “proven” design. Moreover, most of the other classes suggested either still exist, or are similar enough to other extant locomotives that their configuration is already represented in the heritage fleet. There’s no point in building another Berk or 4-8-4 when there are so many running or restorable examples already out there. There are 4-6-4 and 2-10-4 projects ongoing that we don’t want to be in direct competition with for resources or public attention.
Numerous reasons – foremost is that we don’t own any of the existing locomotives, nor are we likely to encounter one that is available for sale. The bulk of the PRR historic collection, now in the possession of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, is owned by the State of Pennsylvania. The PA Historic Museum Commission regards these locomotives as artifacts, and presently will not allow the sort of “alterations to the historic fabric” necessary to restore them to operation. Unless this policy changes, that leaves the two Long Island G5’s (#35 and #39), The I1 in the possession of the WNYRHS (#4483), and the K4 owned by the Railroader’s Memorial Museum in Altoona (#1361) as the only potential restoration candidates. The 39, 1361, and 4483 are already being restored, or considered for restoration by their respective owners, so we wouldn’t want to duplicate their efforts, or compete directly with a similar design. That leaves the D16, E6, H10, L1, or M1 as candidates for duplication, or one of the extinct F3 or N1 classes for replication. The D, F or H would make a great candidate for a short line, but not so much for mainline service. Besides, there are plenty of 4-4-0’s, 2-6-0’s and 2-8-0’s already running, so if there were interest in replicating one of those for short line service, The Strasburg Railroad or another locomotive builder would already have done so. An L, M, or N would be great to see run – but they’re an awkward size that’s too heavy for most short lines, but not fast enough for mainline service, except possibly the M1. We’d probably have a harder time answering the “where will it run” question with one of those than a T1. We could replicate the E6, which certainly is small enough to operate on a short line, and fast enough for mainline service – but by the time we built the three (or four) of them needed to pull today’s excursion trains, it might be less costly to just build the T1.