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Thu May 7, 2020, 10:08 AM

60 Years ago today, May 7, 1960, was the last day of steam for the Norfolk & Western Railway

Last edited Thu May 7, 2020, 12:06 PM - Edit history (2)

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Steam & Excursion > 60 Years ago today, May 7, 1960...
Date: 05/07/20 06:26
60 Years ago today, May 7, 1960...
Author: Panamerican99

...was the last day of steam for Norfolk & Western. Y6b 2190, only 9 1/2 years old, was assigned to one of the mine runs out of Williamson, WV, the last place where steam was rostered on N&W. When she returned that day, diesels were waiting to replace her. Also, S1a class 0-8-0 291 worked one of the yard jobs that day. When her shift was over, the hostler dropped her fire and set her over on the scrap track behind the 2190.

I wasn't there that day but I had been to Williamson three weeks earlier. Only 18 years old, it was the first trip I made on my own. To get there, I rode L&N's Pan American to Cincinnati and caught the N&W Pocahontas to Williamson. I had no car so I walked to the N&W roundhouse, introduced myself myself to the foreman and was treated very nicely. For three days, I hung around the roundhouse and surrounding area. A Hostler took a liking to me and let me join him as he moved engines, filled them with water or coal and other tasks he had to perform. He let me pull the throttle on a Y6 (I think it was 2154) as the engine had to move to the coal dock for re-filling. I rode around the yard on one fo the S1a's.
Needless to say but it was an experience I've always remembered and could not repeat today (or anytime after that trip).

I didn't know that 2190 would become the last one to run when I shot the pictures below but I'm glad I did. 2190 had had a flash of fame when it pulled one of the 1957 NRHS Convention trains that interchanged with the Virginian. Back then, it was shined up for it's role but actually only moved the train a short distance on the interchange from N&W to Virginian. At Williamson in April, 1960, there were a few sister Y's still running- 2118-2136-2154 and a few others, all used on mine runs and only when there weren't enough diesels on hand. But all were kept hot in case they were needed.

I shot several S1a's but somehow missed the 291. But I did get the 290 working in downtown Williamson so I'm enclosing it below, too.


{snip the pictures, which are thumbnails}

Date: 05/07/20 07:30
Re: 60 Years ago today, May 7, 1960...
Author: LTCerny

Thanks for sharing your N&W trip experience and photos. I guess the next landmark date for the end of steam will be July 5, when the last DM&IR ore train behind a 2-8-8-4 ran in 1960. This can be thought of as the end of steam in big-time class 1 revenue freight service in the U.S.

Norfolk & Western Articulated Steam Locomotives in the 1940's-1950's
12,183 views•Nov 11, 2019

Love All Trains
1.26K subscribers

Vintage railroad film of the Norfolk & Western articulated steam locomotives from the 1940's and 1950's.
See Class "A" locomotives with 2-6-6-4 wheel arrangements, and Class "Y" 2-8-8-2 working hard in and around Virginia. Norfolk & Western 1218 is one surviving Class A locomotives. The Norfolk & Western Railway built these locomotives around 1943 at their Roanoke Shops in Roanoke, Virginia. The locomotives were part of the Norfolk & Western's class A of fast freight locomotives.

Norfolk and Western Railway Modern Coal Burning Steam Locomotive
109,931 views•Feb 22, 2015

Backshop Rail Productions
8K subscribers

The Norfolk and Western Railway produced a company film in 1944 to describe the operation of the 4-8-4, J-Class locomotives. If you enjoyed this video please hit that LIKE and SUBSCRIBE button. I really appreciate & value all of the LIKES and SUBSCRIBERS to my Videos & Channel!! #norfolkandwestern611

Pocahontas Glory Vol. 8 Preview
65,045 views•Jul 1, 2016

Herron Rail Video

Preview of Pocahontas Glory Vol. 8, a new 71 minute DVD of Norfolk & Western steam railroading in the 1950's. Order item 011.7 from herronrail.com

6 replies, 689 views

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Reply 60 Years ago today, May 7, 1960, was the last day of steam for the Norfolk & Western Railway (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves May 2020 OP
abqtommy May 2020 #1
mahatmakanejeeves May 2020 #2
abqtommy May 2020 #4
elleng May 2020 #3
mahatmakanejeeves May 2020 #5
mahatmakanejeeves Jul 7 #6

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Thu May 7, 2020, 10:14 AM

1. Is there a link to pics? I have an interest in steam too, trains and otherwise. I've studied the

development of steam technology and find it fascinating... Somewhere in my saved pics there's
pictures of steam locomotives with rotary plows clearing snow from the tracks in Montana...oh yeah!

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Response to abqtommy (Reply #1)

Thu May 7, 2020, 10:35 AM

2. You have to be a member to see them bigger than thumbnails. I am not. NT

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Reply #2)

Thu May 7, 2020, 11:42 AM

4. Oh, ok. I use a photo-editing program that will up-size thumbnails...hint hint

Thanks for the reply...

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Thu May 7, 2020, 10:45 AM

3. WOW!


Shared with one of my rail regulator buddies, who had something(s) to do with N&W matters.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri May 8, 2020, 12:38 PM

5. Pillars of Smoke In The Sky 1957

This is a well-known video. By the spring of 1957, the clock was running down on these guys. The bulk of the footage was shot around Blue Ridge, Virginia. The Norfolk & Western Railway crosses the Blue Ridge Mountains there. The locale is ten miles or so east of Roanoke, Virginia. Roanoke is down in a valley, on the Roanoke River. Loaded coal trains, headed east from Roanoke, needed helpers getting up and over the Blue Ridge. Westbound trains, consisting mostly of empty cars, made the grade unassisted.

Don't be too alarmed by the scene at 6:43, where the locomotive passes a stop signal. The signal has a number plate; it is not an absolute signal. The rules take this into account.

You can see some fans catching the action at 31:55. I've heard that the right of way was littered with empty film boxes.

Pillars of Smoke In The Sky 1957 Original Unedited
92,466 views•Dec 14, 2014

Edwin Carrington Eddy 16mm Films
746 subscribers

These films by E.C. Eddy are copyrighted and protected and may not be downloaded or copied without the express permission of Thomas G. Elmore 2018

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Jul 7, 2020, 01:13 PM

6. On July 5, 1960, the Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railroad ran its last steam-powered train.

Steam & Excursion > DM&IR 2-8-8-4 222

Date: 07/05/20 06:55
DM&IR 2-8-8-4 222
Author: LTCerny

It was 60 years ago today that DM&IR 2-8-8-4 222 pulled that railroad's last steam powered ore train, ending the era of big-time class 1 revenue steam freight in the USA.

Class 1 revenue standard-gauge steam freights continued in lesser roles on the Colorado and Southern (Burlington Lines) on the Leadville branch in Colorado until October 11, 1962 and on the Lake Superior and Ishpeming (which was a class 1 by the then-existing ICC rules) until some date in September 1962.

Of the 12 2-8-0's on the Lake Superior and Ishpeming (LS&I) roster at that date, 10 still survive, with 5 of those having been restored to service for tourist service. Is there any good information and/or photos on the last days of LS&I revenue steam opeation?

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