March 15, 2023 Souderton, PA – The Railroad & Industrial Preservation Society, Inc. (RIPS) is honored to announce the awarding of a $10,000 grant from the Berkheimer Foundation for the restoration of the Lehigh & New England Alco S2 locomotive #611. The grant was arranged by the Lehigh Valley Chapter of the National Railroad Historical Society (NRHS), and will be used to fund vital repairs to the locomotive.
The Lehigh & New England locomotive #611 is a historic locomotive that played a key role in the development of Pennsylvania’s slate belt region. Built by the American Locomotive Company in 1948, it served the Lehigh & New England Railroad up until it’s abandonment in 1961. Today, #611 is the last intact diesel-electric locomotive from the legendary coal, slate and cement hauling railroad.
Acquired by RIPS in 2021, the locomotive has been undergoing restoration work at the Allentown & Auburn Railroad in Kutztown, PA. The grant from the Berkheimer Foundation will help with repairs to bring it’s diesel power plant back to operation.
“We are extremely grateful to the Berkheimer Foundation and the Lehigh Valley Chapter of the NRHS for their support of our restoration project,” said David A. Organek, President of RIPS. “This grant will allow us to make significant progress in the restoration of the #611, and will help to preserve an important piece of our region’s history for future generations to enjoy.”
The restoration of the Lehigh & New England #611 is an important project for the Railroad & Industrial Preservation Society, Inc., and for the slate belt region as a whole. The locomotive is a vital piece of American industrial history.