Spring 2015

If you live in a part of the world that spent most of the winter covered in snow, we’re willing to bet spring couldn’t get here soon enough. If you’re still digging out, the good news is that the spring issue of the T1 Trail Blazer is here!

What's Happening?

Like those of you with snow shovels, we’ve been busy all winter long, continuing to clear the path necessary for the triumphant rebirth of the T1.

Your help is needed. The T1 Trust is excited to announce the 5550 Store. There you can Sponsor a Driver or Sponsor a Drawing. Sponsors of both drivers and drawings will receive handsome certificates of donation suitable for framing like the example shown here.


Archives Extraction at the Pennsylvania State Archives at Harrisburg

By Scott McGill, Chief Mechanical Officer

For anyone who’s been following the 5550 project, you know that most of our efforts (and appeals for fundraising) to date have been directed towards ‘archives extraction’.  This article attempts to show some of the behind the scenes activity involved in that effort, to give readers a better understanding of the work being done at this stage of the program, and how the money from donations is being spent.

Before we can build a new T1, we first have to assemble as many of the original blueprints as possible.  This will minimize the effort involved in re-engineering the 5550, and allow us to get a very accurate estimate of the total project cost before we start cutting metal. The master drawing list for the T1 contains 1,230 drawings associated with the locomotive, and another 300 for the tender.  Unlike some new build projects - where only a handful of original prints survive, and the parties involved essentially have to design an entirely new locomotive - the T1 design has a lot of surviving documentation we can call upon for reference.

The engineering drawings are presently available from two sources – The Pennsylvania Railroad Technical and Historical Society (PRRT&HS), and the State of Pennsylvania.  Both organizations have extensive collections of documents on both hard copy and microfilm.  In the case of the State archives, most of the drawings are original vellum copies from the PRR engineering offices in Philadelphia.  The PRRT&HS originals tend to be blueprint copies from one or more of the facilities where locomotives were maintained.  The two sets of drawings are not complete duplicates – while there is a substantial amount of overlap between them, there are some documents that only exist in the state collection, and some in the PRRT&HS collection.  Both organizations have a copy of the same set of microfilms, created in 1951 by the Atlas Microfilm Co., under contract from the PRR.

The microfilm collection, while theoretically complete, has two problems.  One, the rolls of film can contain over 1000 drawings each, and are not completely in numerical order.  Finding a drawing that is out of sequence can be extremely difficult.  Secondly, the quality of the image varies greatly – depending on the condition of the original, the care the photographer took when shooting the film, and the degradation of filmed images over the last 61 years. Some films are crystal clear while others are nearly illegible.  For these reasons, we have elected to scan originals whenever they are available, and resort to the film only when an original can’t be located.

Because the originals in the Pennsylvania State archives are predominantly vellum, and in generally good condition, we have been procuring most of our drawings from that collection.  The state has approximately 200,000 original PRR drawings on file.  Another source of information at the State

Archives is the Baldwin Locomotive Works collection.  Baldwin did the bulk of the engineering on the T1, and manufactured 27 of the 52 units built.  This collection contains an additional 100,000 drawings, approximately 220 of which are for the T1. 

The PRR prints are exact copies of the Baldwin prints, and differ only in that they were updated to incorporate design changes during the T1’s service life.  The Baldwin prints cover only the “as delivered” condition.  Because only the large format drawings have been completely catalogued, we don’t know for certain how complete the T1 drawings set is, but based on our success rate so far in locating them, we estimate that better than 90% of the locomotive drawing set still exists.  The cost of scanning documents at the State Archives is about $10 per lineal foot.  Given the size and number of drawings needed for the T1, this could cost the T1 Trust as much as $37,000. 

The original drawings are located deep within the archives complex, where they are generally not accessible to the public.  Because of this, relatively few get to see them, or appreciate the effort needed to extract them.  The T1 Trust would like to extend our appreciation to both Kurt Bell and Jonathan Stayer of the Pennsylvania State Archives, for their permission and assistance in allowing the T1 Trust permission to illustrate these efforts in the following photo documentary.

At the time of writing of this article (approximately 15 months into the project) the T1 Trust has acquired 218 of the 1,530 drawings on the T1 master list.  We anticipate the archives extraction activity will continue for at least another 5 years.

Figure 1 - The Pennsylvania State Archives building (left), adjacent to the State Museum in Harrisburg.







Figure 2 - The PRR Mechanical Drawings collection - all boxes on the right hand side of this 50-foot aisle contain PRR engineering drawings for motive power, rolling stock, and other equipment.







Figure 3 – Title block of drawing scanned in this article.  (Main Rod Crankpin Bushing D429925, Revision D, dated 11-13-1950)  This drawing was originally issued in January of 1944, and is common to all production T1 variants.







Figure 4 - Larger drawings (A and B size) are sorted by equipment class.  Here are two cartons of "A" size drawings for the T1. Each box measures 12” high x 7” wide x 40” deep.







Figure 5 – Smaller drawings (C, D, E, and F size) are sorted by size.  Here, a carton of "C" size drawings is opened, showing a stack of original documents rolled for storage.







Figure 6 – Drawing stack removed from the carton and laid flat.  Each stack may contain hundreds of drawings, filed in numerical order.







Figure 7 - An Archives volunteer encapsulates the fragile 71 year old document in a mylar sheath, to prevent damage during the scanning process.










Figure 8  - The document is ready to run through the large format document scanner.










Figure 9 - The Archives volunteer feeds the document into the scanner.  The long tables on either side of the scanner are to support the drawings during scanning.  Larger drawings can be more than 12 feet long, and are too heavy for the scanner to process without being supported on both sides.









Figure 10 - After scanning, the image is de-skewed, cropped, and saved in TIFF format on the Archives' server.  Copies are then saved in other formats upon request.









Figure 11 - When originals no longer exist, copies can be found on Microfilm, created by the Atlas Microfilm Co. in 1951. These may be accessed by the general public during regular archives hours, and are scanned directly from the film.








5550 CAD Model Begins to Take Shape 

"From the Rails Up", that is the approach taken by the T1 Trust's dedicated group of CAD modelers. Working from the original PRR blueprints and mechanical drawings 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. In addition, 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. 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.


T1 Lithograph Signed and Numbered by Raymond Loewy (215/300)

The T1 Trust is pleased to offer a remarkable showpiece from the history of railroading and industrial design. Signed and numbered by Raymond Loewy in 1978, the print shown above, will make a spectacular premium for one generous donor. The iconic streamlining of the T1 Class is the brainchild of Raymond Loewy, considered by many to be the preeminent industrial designer of the Twentieth Century. This print was donated to The T1 Trust by David Repp of Rediscovered Paper as a way to help fund the 5550 Project.

Mr. Repp describes his involvement with the work of Raymond Loewy, "In 1996 I was in San Francisco and went to check out The Circle Fine Art Gallery on Maiden Lane which was the only building in San Francisco designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright. It was originally called the V.C. Morris Gift Shop and it's location was right off Union Square the shopping district in downtown San Francisco. Its design had been referred to as mini Guggenheim since it has a circular ramp going up to the 2nd floor. Shortly upon arriving a salesperson approached me and I let her know I was just interested in seeing the interior of this wonderful building and not really looking for any art. Not being deterred by my response she said she might have something that usually appeals to people interested in architecture - she returned from the basement with a framed print and I immediately said "Raymond Loewy's S1 Locomotive?" She confirmed it was and was done in 1978 in editions of 300. I bought it that day and thought it was a pretty good find.

About 8 months later I was walking by the gallery and they had a banner strung up notifying passerby's that after 25 years the entire chain of gallery's was going out of business. I immediately wondered how many of the S1 prints they had remaining and saw the opportunity. After learning a bit more about Loewy's relationship with the gallery and it's owner I learned that Loewy did another series of eight prints called "The Series" one of which was the T1 Locomotive. I bought the remaining prints and have been marketing them ever since."

The lithograph is available here for a donation of $5,550.00 to the Trust.

The T1 Trust Book Club

Wes Camp and John Stein proctored a six session online book club for The T1 Trust which began on January 29th and ran for six weeks through March 5th. The subject of the book club was Suggested Unit Course in Locomotive Firing. Written in 1944, the chosen reference is quite modern by steam standards.

The sessions were held on Thursday evenings and lasted for two hours or so. Topics covered included an overview of the boiler, and locomotive water systems in general with special attention given to the water glass. There were sessions on locomotive fuels which included special guest appearances. Jack Wheeluhan who fires the Daylight for Doyle McCormack covered oil firing and pyrometry, and America's premier new-steam builder, Dave Kloke paid the book club a visit to discuss firing with coal, oil and even cord wood. Further topics reviewed were grates, stokers, valves, valve gear, netting, smoke, draft, lubrication, the locomotive frame, running gear, appliances and appurtenances.

Making Connections

The T1 Trust's Chairman was able to rub elbows with steam royalty on March 21, 2015 at the Baltimore Chapter NRHS meeting. From left to right: Doyle L. McCormack, Bradford Ross Noble, Ross E. Rowland, Jr., Wes Camp, and Hank Webber.

The T1 Trust continues to establish itself as a cutting edge force in railroad preservation. The relationships established by the Trust's principals have put us in the position to call upon key decision makers whenever we're ready. When will we be ready? That part is up to you! Please visit The 5550 Store and help us achieve "A Comeback Sixty Years in the Making".

The T1 Trust in Print

The T1 Trust is in "Trains" magazine. The May issue of "Trains" is in stores now and contains a two page spread showcasing The T1 Trust.


5550 Has Rails to Run On!

The T1 Trust is pleased to announce the receipt of formal letters of invitation to run at the Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the Steam Railroading Institute in Owosso, Michigan and the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in Independence, Ohio. All three of these fine organizations have a long record of handling mainline steam locomotives and can easily support the operation of the T1 locomotive when complete.

Sponsor a Driver Center

2015 is shaping up to be a major turning point for the T1 Trust. We have every intention of pouring the first major steel parts for 5550. Our goal for 2015 is to cast two of the eight large 72” driver centers that make up the bulk of the 80" wheels.

Having already received numerous casting bids for the wheels, the Trust is confident as far as cost is concerned. We need your help now to bring back the T1. The expected cost per wheel is $24,000. We are requesting donations to be used specifically for this monumental next step - casting the driving wheels for 5550. Donations can be made in any amount, or an individual can sponsor an entire wheel for $24,000. The name of those who choose to sponsor an entire wheel will be cast into the wheel itself and will remain visible for the life of the locomotive. Click here to learn more.


That’s all for now and thank you for your continued support.