West Penn Railways Locomotive 1
Electric Locomotive 1 has the distinction of being the last car of the extensive West Penn Railways system to operate under West Penn ownership. During its 41 years in operation, Number one was used to shift railroad freight cars at West Penn’s main shop, car barn and operations center in Connellsville, Pennsylvania. Originally built in 1915 as a standard railroad gauge (4′ 8.5″) unit it was soon converted to wide gauge of five foot-two and one-half inches to match that of the streetcar system. Switching railroad equipment thus required the use of three rail or dual-gauge trackage with a rail common rail and a rail for each gauge. At PTM this arrangement can be seen at the Trolley Display Building on track 32. On your visit ask your guide to point it out.
The powerful motors under West Penn 1 drive the wheels through two stages of gear reduction. This gives the little locomotive the power to pull heavy loads while keeping the top speed of the locomotive to a brisk walk. To maximize tractive force the 12″ thick steel frame is filled with concrete and scrap iron. This gives it great weight in a compact package and together with the double reduction gearing makes Number 1 powerful enough to move several loaded freight cars many times its weight.
West Penn 1 was purchased in 1958 with the dual purpose of serving both as a historical exhibit and a useful tool in building the museum. Its powerful pulling ability has been put to good advantage many times. It took on additional duties after Unity caboose 53A was re-gauged to fit the museum’s operating streetcar line. Each year at Christmas #1 was brought out to move Santa’ Caboose into position for the annual Santa Trolley event.
West Penn 1 was one of the cars stranded in our shop when the remnants of Hurricane Ivan struck the Washington area in September 2004 inundating the building with 18 inches of water. As a result, the motors that power it were immersed and damaged by the flood waters. WP 1 is currently out of service pending removal and rebuilding of both motors.
West Penn Railways
STREET & INTERURBAN RAILWAY WORK & SPECIAL PURPOSE CARS
53,500 lbs. (26.5 Tons)
Out Of Service (flood damage, September 2004)