Tale of Two Memos concludes
PRR support of the project did not flag, however. The company’s 1929 calendar artwork, titled Harnessing the Plane to the Iron Horse, featured a depiction by artist Grif Teller of a Pennsy K4s Pacific locomotive and a trimotor at the Columbus, Ohio, station, where a new airport had been built adjacent to the railroad. In 1931, the PRR had Teller depict another TAT trimotor flying above a K4s, with the title Giant Conquerors of Space and Time. (This painting is on display at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.)
the outcome was inevitable. Night flying soon became practical, weather
problems were surmounted, and coast-to-coast air travel no longer depended
on the train. In 1936, concluding that the airlines had little need for
a relationship with the railroads and that its investment would not benefit
its stockholders, the Pennsylvania Railroad sold its portion of Transcontinental,
which was eventually to become Trans World Airlines (TWA).
Had Atterbury foreseen as much? Perhaps it’s only the benefit of hindsight, but his pamphlet’s concluding comments seem forced; their tone seems to reveal a bit of uncertainty about the future:
As the future would prove, the "peculiar field" of airplanes came to be most long-distance travel -- which for so long had been the province of the railroads -- just as shorter distance travel was embraced by the automobile.
Decades later, one scholar was to refer to the Pennsy’s involvement as “General Atterbury’s rather heavy-footed leap into the air.” Perhaps the scholar, who was only fourteen in 1929, had forgotten the wonderment of the time, but as the following shows, the Pennsylvania Railroad did not.
After completing its run on the Lindbergh Special, locomotive No. 460 was serviced, then went back to Washington for a publicity photo the following day. It worked until 1955, serving in the New York and Philadelphia regions and on the Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Line. H. T. Cover’s directive was carried out. In 1955, the engine joined the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Historical Collection and was faithfully preserved at Northumberland, Pennsylvania.
The last extant example
of a PRR E6s Atlantic, No. 460 now proudly resides at the Railroad Museum
of Pennsylvania at Strasburg. Sometimes coupled to it have been two
other Pennsylvania Railroad survivors, a B60 baggage car and a P70 passenger
coach. Together, they keep alive the spirit of Extra 460 East, the
Lindbergh Special, on that spring day in 1927, when it left
the mundane world behind forever and raced into history.
Children in Awe (left). On September 18, 1954, famed railroad photographer Don Wood captured this scene while No. 460 was on layover in Atlantic City. The following year the Lindbergh Engine was retired.
At its current home (right) in the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. The engine was moved in 1969 to the museum from Northumberland, Pennsylvania where it had been in storage. Cosmetically restored, it is on display with the rest of PRR’s historic collection. It still inspires admiration -- from little boys and writers too....