Steam Locomotive #643
Built in 1901 by the Pennsylvania Railroad #643 is a class B4a 0-6-0 switcher. She was among the last of the B4 yard switchers built. When built 643 was of a design near obsolescence, at least as far as the PRR was concerned. By the end of the decade the B4 type switchers were already being replaced by the larger more powerful B6 series that would remain the predominant 6 wheel switcher for the PRR until the end of steam in 1957. By 1917 the PRR had declared 643 as surplus, and it was put up for sale. The Central Iron and Steel Company in Harrisburg, PA purchased the 643 from the PRR. For the next 40 odd years she worked day in and day out for Central, and it’s successor company, Phoenix Iron and Steel. While 643 was at Central she was not without changes. The first of which was that 643 was renumbered to become their #5. Also at some unknown point the smaller original tender that she was built with was replaced with a larger, welded one. In 1945 #5 received a new replacement boiler at the H.K. Porter Company. The original 1901 boiler was of the Belpaire type favored by the PRR. The new boiler put on in 1945 by Porter is of the more common radial stay style. It is also believed that the new boiler is slightly larger then the original. The steel mill closed in 1959 and it looked as though the end was near for 643. But luck favored her, and in 1961 she was purchased by the Williams Grove Historical Steam Engine Association and moved to her new home. She has been here ever since, serving as one of the crown jewels of the WGHSEA’s collection of historic machinery.
Diesel Electric Locomotive #52
Engine #52 is the most recent addition to our stable. #52 was built by the Vulcan Iron Works in Wilkes-Berry Pennsylvania in 1953. It is a 65ton center cab diesel electric locomotive. #52 was built for Pennsylvania Power and Light in 1953 as their number 3347. Last in service at PP&L at their Martins Creek, PA location, the locomotive became surplus to them after that plant was converted from coal to natural gas. #52 is somewhat rare as locomotives go, since the Vulcan Iron works only constructed 54 diesel locomotives over 25tons. #52 was purchased by the WGHSEA in December of 2010. #52 is used as a backup for #643, and also will operate as primary passenger power on certain dates. #52 is available to be run by the general public as part of our Run a Locomotive program.
Diesel Mechanical #8
Engine #8 was built by the Whitcomb Locomotive Company in 1953. It is a class 25DM diesel mechanical locomotive. #8 was among the last locomotives built under the Whitcomb name. Whitcomb, long a division of the Baldwin Locomotive Works, ceased production of locomotives under their own name in December of 1953. Built for Pennsylvania Power and Light as their number #E129. At one point #8 was setup for radio control, although this system has long since been removed. E129 was purchased by the Williams Grove Historical Steam Engine Association in the 1980’s and renumbered to #8. #8 is used mainly for switching and track work, but does see limited use in passenger service. From 2001-2006 #8 was our primary locomotive while our steam locomotive #643, was out of service. In the 1990s #8 received an extensive rebuild that included the installation of a larger more powerful Cummins diesel engine that replaced the original Caterpillar.