Pennsylvania (PRR) Steam Roster: Post 1906

Published: March 26, 2024

By: Adam Burns

The Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR), often called the "Pennsy," first established in 1846, quickly rose to dominance as the largest railroad by traffic and revenue in the U.S. throughout the first half of the 20th century.

The birth of PRR was a bid by Pennsylvania to compete with the Erie Canal, New York's commercial supremacy. Pennsy was a unit of the extensive Pennsylvania System, which included several companies it had acquired over the years through consolidation, leasing or outright purchase.

It built a dense network of lines veining across the northeastern U.S, spanning over 10,000 miles by the early 20th century. The Pennsy's robust growth was deeply woven into the fabric of America's socio-economic development, transporting freight and passengers over its vast network. Its iconic streak of Red Keystone logo symbolized its widespread influence.

68657549_10162495027385529_9140091182171291648_n.jpgA little Pennsylvania 0-4-0, #713 (A5s), that appears to be performing switching chores, runs light through the streets of Atlantic City, New Jersey on April 25, 1954. Doug Wornom photo.

The introduction of steel rail, refining the track signal system, and embracing technological advancements elevated PRR's status as a leading innovator.

Highpoints included famously difficult engineering feats such as the horseshoe curve and the Pennsylvania station. Despite enhancements, Pennsylvania Railroad was struck by challenges post-WWII, leading to its merger with its longtime rival, New York Central, forming Penn Central in 1968.

As the largest, and most successful, railroad through the World War II period, the Pennsy utilized a wide range of wheel arrangements during the steam era, and was a big proponent of the Belpaire firebox.

The Belpaire firebox was a distinctive component utilized exceptionally by the Pennsylvania Railroad in their locomotives. Invented by Belgian engineer Alfred Belpaire, this firebox's unique design consisted of a sloping, rectangular shape with a flat top, diverging from the traditional round-top fireboxes.

The benefit of this innovation was twofold: firstly, it offered a larger surface area for heat transfer, facilitating more efficient boiler performance. Secondly, the flat top provided structural strength, negating the need for stay bolts that were typical in earlier designs, thus simplifying maintenance procedures.

Pennsylvania Railroad's widespread adoption of the Belpaire firebox appears counterintuitive to some, given that other railroads preferred radial stay fireboxes or the wagon-top design. This choice was rooted in the company's belief in this design's enhanced structural stability, efficiency, and simplicity.

Furthermore, the Pennsylvania Railroad could manufacture the Belpaire design more cost-effectively, as demonstrated by their production capabilities at the Altoona Works.

These factors made the Belpaire firebox an integral part of the identity of the Pennsylvania Railroad, symbolizing their dedication to practicality, efficiency, and innovative engineering solutions.

Therefore, despite not being universally used across all railroads, the Belpaire firebox remains iconically associated with the Pennsylvania Railroad, justifying its prominence in historical records.

Interestingly, however, due to the railroad's relatively easy grades through central Pennsylvania, it did not maintain a fleet of large articulated, or Mallet, steam locomotives.

In general freight service it predominantely relied on 2-8-2s, and 2-10-4s for heavier assignments, while 4-6-2s were generally tapped for passenger trains.

Roster (Post 1906)

Wheel Arrangement Class Number(s) Quantity Builder Date Built Retirement Notes
2-8-0 H6b 1-9988 (Not Sequential) 148 Baldwin, PRR, Alco (Pittsburgh) 1907-1913 1925-1953 -
2-8-2 L1s 2-9866 574 (Not Sequential) PRR, Baldwin 1914-1919 1941-1959 -
0-6-0 B6sa 3-6227 (Not Sequential) 55 PRR 1913-1914 1949-1953 -
2-8-0 H9s 7-9999 312 (Not Sequential) - - - Rebuilt from Class H-8.
4-6-2 K4s 8-8378 (Not Sequential) 425 PRR, Baldwin 1914-1928 1947-1959 -
4-4-2 E3d 10-6441 (Not Sequential) 43 PRR 1908 1932-1946 -
4-4-2 E6s 13-6085 (Not Sequential) 82 PRR 1912-1914 1948-1953 -
0-6-0 B8 15-9569 (Not Sequential) 247 PRR, Lima 1913 1929-1956 -
2-8-0 H8b 21-3577 352 (Not Sequential) PRR, Baldwin 1908-1913 1934-1957 -
4-6-2 K2 23-9999 (Not Sequential) 153 PRR 1910-1911 1931-1949 -
2-8-0 H9s 24-5174 274 (Not Sequential) Baldwin, PRR 1913-1914 1947-1958 -
2-10-0 I1 30-6340 (Not Sequential) 122 PRR 1918-1919 1949-1959 -
0-6-0 B6sb 31-6400 (Not Sequential) 238 PRR 1916-1926 1949-1959 -
0-4-0 A4 50-6601 (Not Sequential) 64 PRR 1906-1913 1927-1936 -
0-4-0 A5s 76-4039 (Not Sequential) 47 PRR 1916-1924 1930-1956 -
4-6-2 K2a 86-8543 (Not Sequential) 72 PRR, Alco (Schenectady) 1911-1913 1931-1949 -
4-4-0 D16 340-6460 (Not Sequential) 40 PRR 1907-1908 1928-1935 -
4-6-0 G5s 459-3832 (Not Sequential) 40 PRR 1923 1948-1953 -
2-10-0 I1 790 1 PRR 1916 1956 -
4-4-2 E5 1002-9832 (Not Sequential) 12 PRR 1910-1913 1937-1949 -
2-8-0 H8 3193-3217 25 PRR 1907 1933-1956 -
4-6-2 K2sb 3371, 3375 2 PRR 1911 1934, 1931 -
4-6-2 K29 3395 1 Alco (Schenectady) 1911 1929 -
2-8-8-2 HH1s 3396 1 Alco (Schenectady) 1911 1928 -
0-8-8-0 CC1s 3397 1 Baldwin 1912 1931 -
0-6-0 No Class 3687-3688 2 Baldwin 1907, 1913 1925-1926 Ex-Cornwall & Lebanon Railroad
2-8-8-0 HC1s 3700 1 PRR 1919 1929 -
2-10-0 I1 4225-4699 475 Baldwin 1922-1923 1949-1960 -
4-8-2 M1 4700 (6699) 1 PRR 1923 1950 -
4-4-2 E6 5075/1067 1 PRR 1910 1950 -
0-6-0 No Class 5411 1 Baldwin 1912 1928 Ex-Baltimore & Sparrows Point Railroad
4-4-4-4 T1 5500-5549 50 PRR, Baldwin 1945-1946 1952-1956 Duplex Drive
4-6-2 K5 5698-5699 2 PRR, Baldwin 1929 1952-1953 Experimental designs featuring a one piece, cast-steel frame. The pair were PRR's last new Pacifics.
4-6-0 G5s 5700-5749 50 PRR 1924-1925 1949-1955 -
4-4-2 E2d 6001-6083 (Not Sequential) 32 PRR 1908 1931-1938 -
2-8-0 H10s 6073-9999 200 (Not Sequential) - - - Rebuilt from Class H-8.
6-4-4-6 S1 6100 1 PRR 1939 1949 Duplex Drive
4-4-4-4 T1 6110-6111 2 Baldwin 1942 1953 Duplex Drive
4-6-4-4 Q1 6130 1 PRR 1942 1952 Duplex Drive
4-4-6-4 Q2 6131 1 PRR 1944 1952 Duplex Drive
2-10-4 J1 6150-6174 25 PRR 1943-1944 1957-1959 -
4-4-6-4 Q2 6175-6199 25 PRR 1945 1953-1956 Duplex Drive
6-4-4-6 S1 6200 1 Baldwin 1944 1952 Turbine
2-10-4 J1/J1a 6401-6500 100 PRR 1942-1943 1957-1959 -
4-4-2 - 6504, 6532 2 Baldwin 1907 - -
0-8-0 C1 6550-6639 (Not Sequential) 90 PRR 1925-1927 1948-1953 -
4-8-2 M1a 6700-6799 100 Baldwin, PRR, Lima 1930 1951-1959 -
4-8-2 M1 6800-6999 200 Baldwin, Lima 1926 1949-1959 -
2-8-0 H10s 7001-9895 273 (Not Sequential) Alco (Pittsburgh, Brooks), Baldwin, Lima 1913-1916 Retired by 1960. Rebuilt from Class H-8.
4-6-2 K3s 7004-8663 30 Baldwin 1913 1947-1949 -
0-6-0 B28s 7007-9405 (Not Sequential) 30 Alco (Pittsburgh, Cooke, Schenectady) 1918-1919 1948-1953 A USRA design.
2-10-2 N1s 7008-9866 60 Alco (Brooks), Baldwin 1919 1947-1950 -
2-10-2 N2s 7036-9859 130 Alco (Brooks), Baldwin 1919 1948-1953 USRA Heavy design.
2-8-0 H8c 7021-9989 192 (Not Sequential) Alco (Brooks, Pittsburgh) and PRR 1908-1913 1934-1957 -
0-6-0 B29 7028-9786 (Not Sequential) 135 Alco (Pittsburgh, Richmond), Lima 1913 1926-1930 -
0-6-0 B6 7045-9354 (Not Sequential) 49 PRR, Baldwin, Lima 1910-1913 1948-1952 -
4-6-2 K28 7067 1 Alco (Pittsburgh) 1907 1933 -
2-8-0 H8a 7193-9886 117 (Not Sequential) PRR, Baldwin, Alco (Pittsburgh) 1907-1911 1937-1956 -
0-8-8-0 CC2s 7250-9359 (Not Sequential) 10 Baldwin 1919 1947-1949 -
4-4-2 E2b 7496-8634 (Not Sequential) 70 PRR 1909 1924-1927 -
4-6-2 K21s 8701-8712 12 Alco (Schenectady) 1910-1913 1929-1930 -
4-4-2 E23s 8735-8738 4 Alco (Schenectady) 1907-1910 1928-1929 -
0-6-0 B23 8777-8782 6 Alco (Schenectady) 1907 1926-1934 -
2-6-0 F27s 8833-8843 11 Alco (Schenectady) 1907 1926-1928 -
4-6-0 G34b 9530-9539 (Not Sequential) 8 Alco (Pittsburgh) 1907-1909 1927-1928 -
2-8-0 H34a 9602-9605 4 Alco (Pittsburgh) 1908 1925-1926 -
2-8-0 H34b 9616-9619 4 Alco (Pittsburgh) 1910 1925-1926 -
2-8-2 L2s 9627-9631 5 Alco (Schenectady) 1919 1948 USRA Light design.
4-6-0 Narrow-Gauge 9661 1 Baldwin 1910 1929 Ex-Ohio River & Western
2-6-0 Narrow-Gauge 9663 1 Griffith & Wedge 1909 1928 Ex-Ohio River & Western
2-6-0 Narrow-Gauge 9684 1 Alco (Cooke) 1916 1934 Ex-Waynesburg & Washington
2-6-0 Narrow-Gauge 9687 1 Alco (Cooke) 1920 1934 Ex-Waynesburg & Washington
4-4-0 D16d 9821-9825 5 PRR 1907-1910 1925-1931 -

Sources

  • Drury, George H. Guide To North American Steam Locomotives: Revised Edition. Waukesha: Kalmbach Books, 2015.
  • Morrison, Tom. American Steam Locomotive In The Twentieth Century. Jefferson: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2019.
  • Schafer, Mike and Solomon, Brian. Pennsylvania Railroad. Osceola: MBI Publishing, 1997.
  • Staufer, Alvin F. Pennsy Power: Steam and Electric Locomotives of the Pennsylvania Railroad, 1900-1957. Brattleboro: Echo Point Books & Media, 2019.

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