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PRR R5 Northern Types by mrbill6ishere PRR R5 Northern Types by mrbill6ishere
The Pennsylvania Railroad was rather late in the race to begin creating super power steam engines. Even when it did, they were mostly just pre-existing classes with longer fireboxes and 4- wheel trailers. The first exception was the R3 "Keystone" 4-8-4s which came onto the scene in the mid- 1930s. Which were followed by the first 2 T1 4-4-4-4s, as well as the six R4 4-8-4s purchased with 6110 and 6111.

There were actually plenty more plan for super power steam to accompany the R3s and T1s in replacing the archaic K4s and L1s, but this situation changed in 1941, when the United States learned that Hitler had attempted a second attempt at the Zimmerman Telegram with Mexico. Only this time, Mexico told the US themselves, knowing that they would just fail if they joined the Axis. The end result was that the US joined the UK and USSR to fight Germany, Italy, and Spain. Japan was a colony of Portugal in this alternate timeline, but the US did send forces to support the Portuguese colonists there.

With the war on full, the War Production Board ordered Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) officials to get serious and drop the 4-4-4-4 T1 project. PRR needed motive power and needed it now. For heavy freight service, they copied Chesapeake & Ohio's T1 design, a texas-type 2-10-4. A bit of cosmetic alterations and a PRR Cab Signal system, and those nine hundred, fifty-seven thousand pound bruisers began hauling the heavy tonnage over the Allegheny Summit at Gallitzin.

But PRR needed more power. The 125 J1's were great for heavy freight, but what about passenger and light but "time" freight? Passenger power during the war was strictly prohibited, but dual-service engines were permitted, if grudgingly. PRR argued that a 4-8-4 of similar loading to their J1's would have higher speed and wider range on the tighter trackage at the outer edges of the system. As a result, 20 R5s were authorized for building by Baldwin, Lima, and the PRR's own shops in Altoona. As well as by subsidiary Norfolk and western's shops in Roanoke, VA.

However, they were nowhere near as numerous as the other classes based off C&O engines. In fact, they spent most of their lives on coal trains and in helper service over Horseshoe Curve. That said, they were considered a legitimate balance between the strength of the J1 2-10-4 and the speed of the U2 Berkshires. With some even being given belpaire fireboxes as experiments.

Many a railfan have since placed the class on their lists of best 4-8-4 steam engines. Typically alongside the C&O Greenbriers which influenced them.
:icontrainboy101:
trainboy101 Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2017  Student Digital Artist
I wish these were real
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:iconmaxm2317:
maxm2317 Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2017
Most impressive!  
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:iconrattlerjones:
RattlerJones Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2017  Student Filmographer
nice
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