The Streamlined Pennsy T1

The Pennsylvania RR T1 Duplex (4-4-4-4) was conceived in the late 1930s as a replacement for the Pennsylvania Railroad's aging fleet of K4 Pacifics.  Although it looked like an articulated locomotive (such as a Challenger or Big Boy), it was actually a duplex, two engines on a single rigid frame. The idea was to eliminate all the moving parts (including flexible steam pipes) required to swivel the front engine of an articulated, yet retain the additional power offered by two pairs of cylinders.  Styled by famed industrial designer Raymond Loewy, the T1 represented the Pennsy's best hopes for a technologically advanced steamer that could compete with diesels.  Extensive testing of the first two T1s, delivered in 1942, indicated the new design was a winner – a single passenger engine capable of hauling a sixteen car train at a hundred miles an hour. Glowing reports from these tests convinced management to place an order for 50 additional engines. Pennsy's Altoona works and Baldwin Locomotive Works split the order, each producing 25 engines in 1945-46.  In actual service, however, the locomotives did not live up to the promise of the test engines. Although they were indeed speedy and powerful, the rigid duplex frame gave the engine an unfortunate tendency to rock back and put most of its weight on the rear drivers, allowing the front engine to slip uncontrollably. It took a very skillful engineer to keep a T1 pulling surely on all eight drivers. Given more time, these problems could perhaps have been solved, but in the late 1940s time was up for the steam locomotive. In the end, the T1 was a grand, handsome experiment that failed.  Sadly, none were preserved.  In 2000, MTH brought out an exquisite Premier line model of the T1, featuring their original Protosound electronics package.  I later converted the locomotive to Protosound 2 (PS2), giving it the full panoply of sound and control features that enable DCS remote control.  Much as with the prototype, this is a heavy hauling model.  In this True HD 1080p video, you can see it effortlessly pulling a dozen scale heavyweight passenger cars, a large load indeed yet it does so without protest.

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