In its heydays, the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) was a real powerhouse in the railroading industry. For over a century, the railroad commanded travel in the entire eastern and mid-western parts of the nation. It was a massive 30000-mile railroad that stretched from the Great Lakes to Chicago, and deep into the southern states. This railroad made massive contributions to the railroad industry and pioneered the world-famous Horseshoe Curve. But even with this deep-rooted history, most locomotives that were owned and plied the mighty PRR have been lost in history. The only remaining one is Pennsylvania Railroad #643.
A Brief History of Pennsylvania Railroad #643
Operated by the Williams Grove Historical Steam Engine Association, Pennsylvania Railroad #643 is a former PRR B4a class Switcher-type steam locomotive. It was manufactured at PRR’s shops in Altoona, Pennsylvania in 1901 to be used on the PRR as a passenger-hauling steam locomotive.
PRR #643 was declared surplus to requirements at PRR and was sold to Central Iron and Steel Company of Harrisburg, PA in 1917. It was renumbered #5 and worked for the company for the next four decades. The locomotive received a new boiler in 1945. PRR #643 was sold to Williams Grove Historical Steam Engine Association in 1961 after Central Iron and Steel ceased operation in 1959. Since then, it has been owned and operated by the Williams Grove Historical Steam Engine Association.
Today, PRR #643 is the star attraction at the Williams Grove Historical Steam Engine Association. It’s the only PRR steam locomotive that’s still in operation today. Be sure to head over to the Williams Grove Historical Steam Engine Association website to learn more about this steaming legend.
A longtime railfan, Bob enjoys the research that goes into his articles. He is knowledgeable on many railroad topics and enjoys learning about new topics. You can get a hold of Bob at his email link below.