This model features the fabulous Big Ben Bricks custom steam engine wheels.
The Pennsylvania Railroad T1 Duplex Drive (4-4-4-4) steam locomotive. Two different versions of the T1 existed, an early prototype of which there were two examples, and a production model of which fifty were built. This is a model of the production model.
Built between 1945-46, the production model T1s were built to service the PRR's passenger service, capable of pulling 910 ton passenger trains at speeds in excess of 100 mph. They were meant to be the next step in steam technology, a truly revolutionary, technologically sophisticated design.
The theory behind the duplex drive was to reduce weight and wear on the drivers and valve gear, making for a fast, smooth train. History has not been kind to the T1, however, as they have been labeled as trains susceptible to violent wheelslip, even at speed.
But according to an article published in the May 2005 Chesapeake and Ohio Historical Magazine, when the C&O tested the T1 for their own purposes they recorded no such wheelslip or many of the performance problems blamed upon the design, but rather suggests many of the problems were with drivers unfamiliar with such advanced steam engines.
Still, the C&O did come to the conclusion that the T1 did not fit their needs. Without a buyer and with the onset of dieselisation, the PRR scrapped all of the T1s. They join the ranks of many great locomotives lost to the scrapper's torch.
My version of the T1 has taken me a year and half of starting, stopping, and giving up. I found this to be one of the greatest challenges I've built in the train world, because getting her look made in LEGO, especially that chisel shaped nose, proved very difficult. If it weren't for the help of many individuals over on Flickr, I never would have gotten this far.
In real life, the PRR T1s were not articulated. However, LEGO's sharp track geometry necessitated articulation of not only the locomotive but the tender as well. The locomotive articulates in much the same way as my Allegheny - the locomotive rotates above the first set of drivers and above the trailing truck. The second set of drivers simply floats underneath the boiler, pulled along by the first pair.
The long skirt of the tender, too, needed articulation because of the length. I wasn't able to create a continuous, solid skirt, but I was able to reduce the gaps between the skirting attached to the motors and the rest of the tender to only a half stud.
More photos are available, including in-progress photos, via FLICKR.