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PRR K4s #5410 at Brielle, NJ

        While this recording was made in New Jersey on the New York and Long Branch in 1954, the listener will hear sounds that echoed around Columbus for forty years when the Pennsy K4s pulled passenger and mail trains through town.  The wistful, haunting PRR 3-chime passenger whistle says “Pennsy” more than any other sound in railroading. Made in PRR’s own shops, the round-topped whistle sounded the notes of E-G-B, a minor triad. This whistle was standard equipment on passenger power from about 1875 through the end of steam. It was used on all modern power, including M1, J1, Q2 and T1. As engines were retired, their “K4” whistle was often used to replace the high-pitched “banshee” on older freight power. — Recording from Howard Fogg’s Power of the Past, an LP released in the 1970’s, in the Ryan Hoover Collection.

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PRR K4s #5490 - Photo by Donald Etter, taken in Columbus, Sept. 1952, Jay Williams Collection.