Pennsylvania S-1

Find an old ROW or want to know what the name of that one tower along the EL was? Post any historical questions or comments here. Open to any era from around the Ft Wayne area. Interurbans welcome!

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Notch 8
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Pennsylvania S-1

Post by Notch 8 » Tue Mar 20, 2018 6:44 pm

PRR (Pennsylvania) 6100 S-1 6-4-4-6 The S-1 class locomotive was so large that it could not negotiate the track clearances on most of the lines of the PRR system. In its brief service life it was restricted to the main line between Chicago, Illinois and Crestline, Ohio. It was assigned to the Fort Wayne Division and based at the Crestline enginehouse. The S-1 hauled passenger trains such as The General and The Trailblazer on this route. Crews liked the S-1, partly because of its very smooth ride. The great mass and inertia of the locomotive soaked up the bumps and the surging often experienced with duplex locomotives.

Starting tractive effort calculated in the usual way (85% mean effective pressure) comes out 76,400 lbf (340 kN), but the engine used 70% limited cutoff (presumably to increase port openings at short cutoff) so the railroad claimed a correspondingly lower tractive effort.

The first experimental duplex on the PRR was the S-1, a huge rigid frame duplex locomotive of the 6-4-4-6 wheel arrangement. This engine was over 146' long! This locomotive was built by the PRR at Altoona in 1939; it was hailed as the largest locomotive ever built. The look of this locomotive was designed by Raymond Lowey, whose first assignment for the PRR was to redesign a trashcan at Penn Station, and later designed the look of the T1. When it was completed, it did not see revenue service right away. It was sent to the New York World's Fair and was put on display along with other railroad's latest motive power to show the world first class, cutting edge technology.

This locomotive had impressive statistics. 84" drivers meant that she could really make tracks! It is said that going 100 mph was not uncommon, even though the speed limit on the Ft. Wayne mainline was 80 mph for passenger trains.

The S-1 was completely streamlined, a cosmetic shrouding that many railroads were adding to their locomotives to enhance the appearance and, hopefully, along with other comforts on board, lure riders from their automobiles and back onto the train. As impressive as it looked, this was a huge headache for the roundhouse crews that had to work on these locomotives. The problem was that it interfered with access to the stuff underneath. And when you had a recurring maintenance item, it was most frustrating to waste time removing it, doing the work, and then replacing it.

Turning the S-1 here in Crestline was obviously not done on the turntable. It was turned on the "wye" which was just west of the roundhouse and one leg of it crossed Bucyrus St. During the War, Crestline was one of several facilities that were used to train military railroad personnel. One day a clerk was relieved from duty early and was "railfanning" near the roundhouse and came upon the S-1. Its hostler saw him and asked if he could throw switches so he could get the S-1 to the wye and then into stall #30. After an affirmative response, he climbed up into the cab and went for a smooth ride, throwing switches where necessary. When it first entered the wye, the S-1 slipped badly and came to a stop. The hostler is reputed to have said, "Soldier, if this stiff-legged, blank, expletive, blankity blank is on the ground!" The soldier got down to take a look, and sure enough, the rear set of drivers were on the ties. This brought on some more blue language from the hostler. After he cooled down, he said, "Soldier, go tell the house foreman this animal is on the ground again." I've read somewhere that when the S-1 was to be turned on the wye, some people from town would go down to the roundhouse to watch the event. If it did happen to come off the rails, it must surely have added to the excitement.

The speedometer only went up to 110 and once while riding the loco, a road foreman, noticing it buried, pulled out his stopwatch and clocked the train for a distance of about 3 miles btw known locations. He clocked the train with 12 heavyweight cars doing about 134 mph! This was chronicled in a 1941 issue of popular Mechanics magazine.

Its high speed capability was such that some have claimed the S-1 exceeded the 126 mph (203 km/h) record steam locomotive speed set in 1938 by the LNER locomotive Mallard. The locomotive was claimed to have exceeded 156 mph (251 km/h) on the Fort Wayne-Chicago Railroad, as it was rumored that the PRR received a fine posted by an interlocking tower on the division, proving the claim. No verifiable records are available to authenticate the claims.

Removal from service

No further S-1 models were built. According to the cited reference the last run for the S1 6100 was in December 1945. However, a timebook belonging to Pennsy engineman Byron Breininger from the Ft. Wayne division records a trip to Chicago on S-1 engine 6100 at 8:59 AM on May 5, 1946. The engine was scrapped in 1949. The PRR continued developing the T1 class of 4-4-4-4 duplex locomotives but this locomotive model also met with limited success
S-1's 1st run out of Fort Wayne Indiana Crew was L-R "Harvey" Mr H.H. Lehman-Fireman C.J. Wappes Road Foreman and Frank Ritcha Engineer — with "Harvey" Mr HH Lehman, C. J. Wappes and Frank Ritcha.
S-1 No. 6100 6-4-4-6 on the Fort Wayne ready track in 1941
S-1 Bourbon Indiana 1942
Pennsylvania 6-4-4-6 S-1 at Fort Wayne Indiana 1941

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Re: Pennsylvania S-1

Post by rrnut282 » Fri Jan 17, 2020 1:35 pm

Nice photos. PRR kept trying to increase the state of art with steam.

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Re: Pennsylvania S-1

Post by Howard » Fri Jan 17, 2020 8:37 pm

It's hard to imagine everything holding together at 134 or 156 mph.

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