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History of the K4

In a time when themes of Reemerging, Resurging and Returning to Normal are in the forefront, what emerged just over 1100 years ago in Blair County set a new normal in Train travel — the K4 Locomotive. Andrew Brumbaugh of the Railroaders Memorial Museum saying: “They were used on Mainline Passenger services. if you were going to travel on the Pennsylvania Railroad, odds are your Train was pulled by a K4 Engine.”

In the late 1800’s, the Pennsylvania Railroad set out to be a technological pacesetter for the Industry. They developed a Locomotive Test Department, similar to Vehicle Diagnostic Centers we have today. From the Railroad Test Department emerged the K4. Brumbaugh adding: “They tested a bunch of engines and basically figured out what was good and what was bad, and the result was the K4 Steam Engine.”

Most of the K4’s, 350 of them were built at the Altoona Juniata shops. The premier Steam Locomotive for decades, but today Brumbaugh says: “There are two K4s in existence. One is cosmetically restored. Ours is in the restoration process in the hopes of eventually running.” The Restoration of the K4 — Historic, Educational, and Symbolic of America’s Industrial Age. Brumbaugh adding: “To have something so large where it was actually made, that’s going to bring people from all over the world. It’s going to help the Allegheny Portage, East Broad Top and its really going to make Central Pennsylvania a Railroad destination.”

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