Pennsylvania Railroad 1223
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|Pennsylvania Railroad 1223|
Pennsylvania Railroad No. 1223 is a class "D16sb" 4-4-0 "American" type steam locomotive built in November 1905 for the Pennsylvania Railroad by their own Altoona Works for passenger service. After being retired from active service in 1950, the locomotive ran excursion trains on the Strasburg Rail Road outside of Strasburg, Pennsylvania from 1965 to 1989 when it was removed from service requiring firebox repairs. Currently, the locomotive is still on static display at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania outside of Strasburg. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. No. 1223 is the only surviving example of the Pennsylvania Railroad's D16sb class.
Revenue Service And First Retirement (1905-1950)
The class D16 locomotives of the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) were the most modern of a long history of 4-4-0 "American" type steam locomotives that the railroad used. No. 1223 was home built by PRR at its Juniata Shops in Altoona, Pennsylvania in 1905. As built, it was a high speed passenger engine with tall driving wheels. However, the 4-4-0 type—long the mainstay of American passenger and freight service—was already becoming outmoded when No. 1223 was built, being superseded by ever-larger engines. PRR itself was pioneering steel passenger cars, which the public soon demanded for the implied increases in safety. No. 1223 was eventually rebuilt with smaller driving wheels for local freight service, having been replaced on passenger trains by engines like the class "E6" Atlantics and class "K4" Pacifics. It was modernized as well, receiving superheaters (the "s" in D-16sb), piston valves, an electric headlight and other improvements. By 1940, most railroads had forgotten about the 4-4-0, but PRR , Boston & Maine and Canadian Pacific Railway, were still using them. Nos. 1035, 1223 and 5079 were all leased to the Baltimore, Chesapeake & Atlantic Railway working such routes as the McDaniel Branch and the Love Point to Easton line. No. 1223 was scheduled for scrapping when a PRR officer noticed her and ordered renovation to almost original condition in 1937. Of the three, No. 1223 was selected for display at a number of railroad fairs in the 1930s-1950s, and eventual preservation. For years, the engine was stored at a roundhouse in Northumberland, Pennyslvania.
Restoration And Excursion Career (1965-1989)
In 1965, the Strasburg Railroad (SRC), based in Strasburg, Pennsylvania, leased No. 1223 from PRR and restored it to operating condition on August 14, 1965. In the 1970s and 1980s, No. 1223 pulled regular SRC tourist trains, as well as occasional offline excursion trips, running in tandem with PRR 7002. During the 1970s, the Penn Central had transferred PRR historical collection to the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which placed much of the collection on display at the newly built Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania across the road from SRC's depot complex. As such, ownership of No. 1223, as well as No. 7002, was turned over to the museum, from which SRC continued to lease and operate both engines. In 1989, SRC's newly acquired ultrasound device revealed that the firebox walls of both 1223 and 7002 were not thick enough to comply with the updated Federal Railroad Administration regulations, thus deeming the engines unsafe for operation.
Second Retirement (1989-present)
Strasburg declined to make the necessary repairs as the engines did not belong to them. Moreover, the museum preferred to keep the original fabric of their equipment intact, resulting in SRC withdrawing both locomotives from service at the end of the 1989 season and allowing their leases to expire.
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