West Penn Railways
Locomotive 1

West Penn 1 performs it duties transporting Santa's Caboose in 1990. (Bruce Wells, photo)

West Penn 1 in service at Connellsville shop 1941
(Chick Siebert, photo)


Car Number 1 Car Builder West Penn Railways
Year Built 1915 Year Acquired 1958
Type ST Locomotive Seats 0
Length 18'0" Width 8'0"
Height 10'1" Weight 53,500 lbs (26.5 tons)
Motors WH56 (2) Status Out of service, flood damage (09/2004)

Electric locomotive 1 has the distinction of being the last car of the once-great West Penn Railways system to operate under West Penn ownership.  During its 41 years in operation, Number 1 was used to shift railroad freight cars at West Penn's main shop and car barn in Connellsville, PA.

Even after the demise of the West Penn Railways system in 1952, Number 1 continued to perform its switching duties for the parent West Penn Power Company.  This locomotive was originally built in 1915 to standard railroad gauge and was soon converted to Pennsylvania wide gauge (5' 2-1/2").  Switching railroad equipment thus required the use of three rail or dual-gauge trackage.

The powerful motors under West Penn 1 drive the wheels through two stages of gear reduction, keeping the top speed of the locomotive to a brisk walk, while making Number 1 powerful enough to move several loaded freight cars many times its weight.  The steel frame is filled with concrete and scrap iron, which gives it great weight in a compact package.

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.

West Penn 1 was one of the cars in our shop when the remains of Hurricane Ivan in September 2004 inundated our building in 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.

Click on the thumbnail below for larger photo:

  West Penn 1 arriving at the museum in 1958    

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Last updated January 8, 2009
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