Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania completes fundraising for five restorations

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Strasburg, Lancaster County, Pa. — The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania has reached its $250,000 goal for the Ready For The Roundhouse fundraising campaign for the preservation of five historic steam locomotives.

The nonprofit Friends of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania took the lead in the Ready For The Roundhouse campaign, which was kicked off with a special $50,000 matching fund challenge from the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society. The campaign began in November 2016 and the $250,000 goal was met in December 2018.

The five steam locomotives that are part of the Ready For The Roundhouse campaign are keystone pieces which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and are part of the famed Pennsylvania Railroad Historic Collection. They include Pennsylvania Railroad M1b No. 6755, K4s No. 3750, L1s No. 520, H10s No. 7688, and B6sb No. 1670. These engines, along with the restored E6s No. 460, are slated to take their place in the Museum’s to-be-built roundhouse, for which ground could be possibly broken this year.

Patrick C. Morrison, Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania director, says, “It was critical that these iconic locomotives from our nation’s rich railroading heritage not be lost to the ravages of time and environment. The plan is to media blast, paint and repair some of the most egregious problems in order to stabilize them, put a stop to the various levels of deterioration and make them ready for display in the roundhouse. In the future, one or more of these engines may certainly be subject to additional restoration work, given the time and the money.”

He adds, “The Museum is fortunate to have had so many individuals, businesses and groups like the Friends of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society come forward time and again, recognizing the importance of preserving artifacts of this caliber and committing much-needed funds to these projects. We are currently in discussions to determine our next major railroad preservation project, which will be the subject of a fundraising campaign.”

The majority of the stabilization work on the five locomotives will be undertaken by outside contractor Sandman’s Sandblasting & Coatings of Manchester, New York and will be overseen by Museum rolling stock curator/restoration shop manager Allan Martin. Museum volunteers and staff also are committing time, work and resources to the project.

Morrison points out that some of the major pieces, in addition to PRR No, 460, which have undergone various stages of restoration or preservation work just since the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania’s restoration shop facility was built in 1998, include the Buffalo & Susquehanna combination car No. 35, the John Bull locomotive, the Coudersport & Port Allegany snow plow, the Pennsylvania Power & Light fireless steam engine, the Plymouth locomotive, the Cumberland Valley Railroad coach, the Pennsylvania Railroad air brake instruction car, the three-domed ACF tank car, the GP-38 cab simulator, the Reading multiple unit car No. 800, Pennsylvania Railroad ND cabin car No. 478396 and eight locomotives which have had asbestos abated.

In general, Morrison notes, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania’s restoration projects are becoming vastly larger in scope and ever more complex, challenging and expensive as time passes. Individuals who are skilled in welding, metal fabrication, cabinet making, painting and pipe fitting are needed in the restoration shop as volunteers and are invited to contact the volunteer/program coordinator. Donations for equipment restoration are gratefully accepted on the Museum’s website and by mail to the Friends of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, P. O. Box 125, Strasburg, PA 17579.

The official railroad museum of the Commonwealth, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is home to a world-class collection of 100 historic locomotives and railroad cars, a working restoration shop, a vast library and archives, an immersive education center and unique special events, programs and exhibits.

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is one of 24 historic sites and museums administered by the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission as part of the Pennsylvania Trails of History, with the active support of the nonprofit Friends of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. Visit www.rrmuseumpa.org or call (717) 687-8628.

Source: Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania announcement

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