The World’s Fastest Locomotive
Built: 1902 by Pennsylvania Railroad, Juniata Shops, Altoona, Pennsylvania
Retired: 1934 (original) 1939 (No. 8063)
Speed became a marketing tool as railroads competed for passenger business. The New York Central was the first to break the 100 mph barrier, but not long after, the Reading Company had four Atlantic-type locomotives equally capable. The Pennsylvania Railroad’s E2 and E3 class Atlantics quickly developed a reputation for being fast, dependable runners.
The E2 No. 7002 gained fame on June 12, 1905, when it reportedly set a ground speed record of 127.1 mph, making up time west of Crestline, Ohio. In 1939, the Pennsylvania Railroad prepared to send No. 7002 to the World’s Fair in New York, only to find it had been unceremoniously scrapped. The Pennsylvania Railroad chose another locomotive, No. 8063 as a “stand in” at the Fair. With no time to change its appearance, it debuted as No. 8063. In 1983, it was leased to the Strasburg Rail Road, where it operated until 1989.
Fun Fact: By the 1949 Chicago World’s Fair, the locomotive was shown off in all its glory as No 7002, under the banner of being the World’s Fastest Locomotive.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places