Always known for its independent engineering and distinctive style, the Pennsylvania Railroad produced many notable steam locomotives. The M1 4-8-2s certainly rank among their most successful designs.
The Pennsy had already found its primary passenger power in the form of the K4 Pacific. A design perfected over decades of engineering and revision, 425 K4s provided one of the largest stables of passenger locomotives to be found anywhere. As good as they were however, the K4s still had their limits. As passenger trains grew longer and heavier in the 1920s, the railroad was forced to double and even triple-head the Pacifics over its mountain grades. Larger power was needed.
Appropriately, the solution for the problem would come in the form of a Mountain-type (4-8-2) locomotive. The Pennsylvania’s M1 was more than just a K4 with an extra pair of drive wheels however. The M1 took from the best of several existing designs, but most heavily from the I1 Decapods.
After building a prototype in 1923 and two years of thorough testing and refinement, the railroad ordered 200 new locomotives. Only 20 of these would be regularly assigned to passenger service however. Most found a home as the railroad’s new premier fast-freight engine.
The engineering department never let up however, and in 1930 an order was placed for 100 more 4-8-2s, classified M1A. These locomotives included a feedwater heater and increased boiler pressure. They were also delivered with the monstrous “coast to coast” tender which was nearly as long as the locomotive itself. Again, only 10% of the new locomotives were assigned for passenger duties, though all were equipped to handle the varnish.
Following the war, 40 M1A’s were upgraded to M1B’s with a further increase in steam pressure. Rebuilt or not, most of the M1s received the new modernized front end during the war years which made access to the headlight and generator much easier. All of the M1s put in good service to the end of steam. They were among the most versatile of PRR steam locomotives and could be found on the point of just about anything from a passenger train to a fast freight to coal trains.
Ultimately the arrival of even more versatile and efficient diesels in the l940s and 1950s spelled the end for the M1 fleet in 1955. Only one M1 survives today. No. 6755, built in 1930 by Baldwin as an M1A and later upgraded to an M1B was set aside by the Pennsy for its historic collection and can be seen today at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg. It is the largest surviving PRR steam locomotive.
Lionel is pleased to bring back the pride of the Pennsy with this latest release of the M1A. For the first time, this locomotive will be available with LEGACY and whistle steam! Each of the models will capture the locomotives’ appearance prior to their modernization in the 1940s.
Additionally, the models will feature:
- LEGACY Control System equipped – able to run in LEGACY Control mode, in TrainMaster Command Control mode, or in Conventional mode with a standard transformer
- Odyssey II Speed Control with On/Off switch
- LEGACY RailSounds system featuring:
- CrewTalk dialog and TowerCom announcements, each with different scenarios depending on whether the locomotive is in motion or stopped
- Six official railroad speeds with Crewtalk dialog
- DynaChuff synchronized with 32 levels of intensity as the locomotive gains speed
- LEGACY “Real-Time Quilling Whistle” control with instant response for realistic signature ‘quilling’ and correctly timed warning signals
- Single hit or continuous mechanical bell sounds
- Sequence Control plays the sound effects of an entire trip, including warning sounds and announcements, based on the movement and speed of the locomotive
- Current speed and fuel dialog, refueling sound effects
- Whistle Steam effect
- Powerful maintenance-free motor with momentum flywheel
- Wireless Tether connection between locomotive and tender
- ElectroCoupler on rear of tender
- Directional lighting including operating headlight and back-up light on rear of tender
- Illuminated classification lights on the front of locomotive and tender
- Traction tires
- Fan-driven smoke unit
- Adjustable smoke output
- Interior illumination in cab and tender “doghouse”
- Die-cast metal locomotive body, pilot, and frame
- Die-cast metal tender body and trucks
- High level of separately applied metal details
- Separately applied builder’s plates
- Authentically detailed cab interior
- Glowing ashpan and firebox in cab
- Cab glass windows
- Engineer and fireman figures
- O-54 Minimum curve
The Pennsy M1As are being built to order. They featured three road numbers (6755, 6764, 6771) and as an undecorated Pilot model. Look to see them at your dealer later this year. Nos. 6764 and 6771 are available individually with a suggested retail of $1499.99. No. 6755 is being sold as part of a new Pennsy coal train set which will also include all new PRR GLA hoppers and an N5B cabin car – look for more information on these exciting new models (also available for separate sale) in upcoming blogs!