Vol. 26, No. 4 October / December 2010  Issue Select 
Issue Details
Cover Title: 611 and 1218 at Night
Cover Subtitle: August A. Thieme, Jr. / The McDowell County in HO / Fire in the Hole
On the Cover: The famous N&W Class J 611 and Class A 1218 come back to life in two night photography sessions capturing the two locomotives at the Virginia Museum of Transportation on November 13 and 14, 2009. Lighting, actors, props, and smoke bombs all contribute to make some memorable photographs in a feature article.
Articles In This Issue
The Publisher's Desk... - Kevin EuDaly
  Photo An eastbound coal train with Distributed Power Units (DPUs) on the rear rolls through the 17-degree reverse curve through Natural Tunnel, Virginia, at 15 miles per hour on December 28, 2008. Natural Tunnel is the subject of an article by Gordon Hamilton on detouring N&W trains in 1903; it begins on page 16. For the record, the lead unit is a 4,000-horsepower ES40DC built by General Electric, an unimaginable brute from the perspective of those visiting Natural Tunnel in 1903. (Ron Flanary photo)
  Photo The dramatic south portal of Natural Tunnel opens into a vertical amphitheater of solid Virginia rock. Beneath the photographer is Little Tunnel, which is punched through the ridge the photographer is standing on. This portal is accessible via a State Park. (Stewart Scales photo)
August A. Thieme, Jr. - Bill McClure
  Photo It is very appropriate that the last photo of Thieme would be of him standing beside Strasburg Railroad 475, formerly N&W 475, a locomotive Thieme photographed a number of times when it was in N&W service. It was taken at Strasburg, Pennsylvania, in March 2010. (Claude Abernathy photo)
  Photo Nearly 50 years earlier, in September 1960, Thieme photographed the 475 in Bristol in the backdated dress intended to celebrate the centennial of N&W predecessor Virginia & Tennessee. (August Thieme Photo)
  Photo Crewe, Virginia, was the home of Thieme’s wife’s family. He visited many times and spoke fondly of lying in the guest bedroom at night listening to the chuffs and hoots from the nearby yard. On February 19, 1956, he photographed Extra 1234 East leaving Crewe with a tide coal train while an M2 switched nearby. (August Thieme Photo)
  Photo Thieme caught Y6 2124 resting between runs in beautiful light at Shenandoah, Virginia, on October 14, 1956, late in the steam era on the Shenandoah Division. (August Thieme Photo)
  Photo In a rare and interesting scene, Eastern Gas & Fuel locomotive 1 is seen switching the EG&F ground storage facility at Sewells Point, Virginia, on July 20, 1959. EG&F was the majority owner of the Virginian Railway at the time and was the largest ocean shipper of coal up the East Coast to New England. It was a subsidiary of the Koppers Company, which was owned by the Mellon family of Pittsburgh. (August Thieme Photo)
  Photo In one of his more interesting images, Thieme captured a pile driver at work at Poe, Virginia, the east end of the Petersburg Belt Line, on March 9, 1959. In his early days of photography Thieme tended to capture action in three-quarter views, a style of the day. Later, his approach began to evolve into a more “creative” style and he began to record more of the railroad scene, such as this example. Even with that evolution, he often lamented that he did not record more of the overall scene, as his friend Wally Johnson did. (August Thieme Photo)
  Photo Thieme’s HO scale layout is goodsized, but it was designed to showcase big steam and to feature scenes that had special meaning to him. Thus the curves are broad and the track plan relatively simple. The opening view as one enters the room is of a large roundhouse scene designed to remind one of Crewe, perhaps his favorite N&W locale. (Bill McClure photo)
  Photo Nearby is a scene N&W fans will instantly recognize as patterned after Bluefield. (Bill McClure photo)
  Photo No N&W layout can be considered complete without a coal mine. Thieme scratchbuilt this fine example, which sits in the interior of the layout at the end of branch, and includes a small coking operation to the left. (Bill McClure photo)
  Photo The masterpiece of Thieme’s craftsmanship is this complete lumber mill complex, patterned after the many West Virginia lumber facilities he saw and photographed in the 1950s. A single view cannot adequately convey the detail and quality of construction of both exterior and interior of this scene. Typical lumber company steam power, in the form of Shays and Heislers, brings log cars from a scratchbuilt skidder operation at the end of a short branch. (Bill McClure photo)
The N&W/VGN Modeler - James F. Brewer
The McDowell County: Modeling an S-2 Sleeper in HO Scale - Rick Stone
  Photo This undated photo shows the appearance of the Pullman McDowell County late in its career on the N&W. This is the paint scheme modeled in this article. (Harry Stegmaier photo, Jim Brewer collection)
  Photo The Walthers undecorated Pullman car unpacked from the box. (Rick Stone photo)
  Photo A sister car to the McDowell County is the Buchanan County, shown in this undated photograph. (Jim Brewer collection)
  Photo This view shows the Walthers car with the side roof, sides and ends detached from the endoskeleton. (Rick Stone photo)
  Drawing This is a diagram of the S-2 sleeper. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo The sides have been painted, decaled, and gloss coated. (Rick Stone photo)
  Photo Major car pieces as they appear just before final assembly showing the interior paint treatment and window shades and other details. (Rick Stone photo)
  Photo This detail shot of an S-2 truck shows the different spring arrangement without a shock absorber. (Jim Brewer photo)
  Photo This is the completed S-2 Pullman sleeper model, McDowell County, which was entered in the 2010 N&WHS convention model contest (Roger Link / Tim Link photo)
N&W HO Scale Passenger Car Models - James Nichols
  Table Table of HO scale passenger car models (Jim Nichols)
Fire in the Hole - Gordon Hamilton
  Photo These pages: Ninety-four years after the N&W detoured through Natural Tunnel as a result of a tunnel fire on its own line, a westbound CSX empty coal train heads geographic north into the mouth of the tunnel on March 25, 2007. Natural Tunnel is located about 13 miles north of Gate City, Virginia, and the ex-Southern Railway line is currently operated by NS — CSX has trackage rights. (Ron Flanary photo)
  Map This map of the Clinch Valley Line from a 1953 booklet titled N&W Coal and Coke Operations includes the Clinchfield Railway and several N&W coalfield lines that were constructed after this article’s time frame. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Drawing This was drawn from a July 1910 Clinch Valley line condensed profile (courtesy of the N&WHS Archives collection). Mile posts represent miles from Norfolk. (Gordon Hamilton drawing)
  Photo The west end of Craigen Tunnel appeared on a picture postal card postmarked September 1, 1909. Note the “tourist” on top of the portal. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo The N&W line left the Clinch River at St. Paul to go westward overland toward Norton, so Craigen Tunnel and numerous curves were required to keep the westbound grade in this area to a manageable limit. (U. S. Department of the Interior, Geological Survey, St. Paul Quadrangle, 7.5 Minute Series, 1958, Gordon Hamilton collection)
  Timetable There were four daily passenger trains on the Clinch Valley Division in 1903. This timetable from the November 1902 Official Guide shows Trains 15 and 13 westbound and Trains 16 and 14 eastbound. Trains 13 and 14 only ran as far as Richlands, so they wouldn’t have been involved in the detour. Trains 15 and 16 also ran on the Tom’s Creek Branch. (Kevin EuDaly collection)
  Map The detour route for traffic originating west of the disabled Craigen Tunnel was N&W to Norton, L&N to Big Stone Gap, V&SW to Bristol, and N&W east out of Bristol, as drawn on this 1903 map from an N&W annual report. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo Class W2 888 built by Richmond Locomotive Works with a tractive effort of 40,163 pounds represented N&W’s finest freight locomotive in 1903. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Map This map of Natural Tunnel shows the tunnel (light tan), the creek (blue), and the railroad. It is based on a Virginia Speleological Survey map appearing in Natural Tunnel — Nature’s Marvel in Stone. (Gordon Hamilton drawing)
  Map This map from the November 1902 Official Guide shows the connections in the Big Stone Gap in a little more detail. The N&W connected with the L&N at Norton and the Interstate Railroad diverged to the north at Appalachia (not named on this map). The L&N connected with the V&SW at Bristol Junction between Big Stone Gap and Inman. The VS&W then carried the detouring N&W trains to Bristol, where they returned to N&W rails. (Kevin EuDaly collection)
  Photo The Southern Railway took over the V&SW in 1906, but the V&SW retained its name until 1916, after which it became the Appalachia Division of the Southern. New F3 4172, also known as “Big Sid,” was part of a special ballasted A-B-B-A set that spelled the end for Southern’s Ls and Ls-1 2-8-8-2s on the Appalachia Division. By 1952 the line was fully dieselized. During the mergers of the latter half of the Twentieth Century the Southern and N&W merged in 1982 to form Norfolk Southern. This view is looking north from inside Little Tunnel across the Amphitheater to the South Portal of Natural Tunnel. (Ron Flanary collection)
  Photo The impressively large North Portal of Natural Tunnel as would be seen from an approaching locomotive. N&W crews must have been impressed by the size of the portal compared with the unusually tight tunnels on N&W’s Clinch Valley line — but they hadn’t seen anything yet! Stock Creek is in the channel on the right. (Natural Tunnel — Nature’s Marvel in Stone)
  Photo Two-thirds of the way through Natural Tunnel this immense passageway with its 70- to 80-foot-high ceiling and 200-foot width would likely have swallowed up the dim light from the oil headlights of N&W engines, creating a spooky uncertainty on any engine crew’s first trip through this alien environment. This view is looking to the north. (Tony Scales photo)
  Photo The grand finale to a trip through Natural Tunnel on a locomotive is this view! The gigantic south portal opens out into a magnificent amphitheater with sheer walls that rise 400 feet and measure almost one-quarter mile around the periphery at the top. This could not fail to inspire awe in a locomotive crew upon first sighting. The railroad right-of-way is on the embankment to the left. (Natural Tunnel — Nature’s Marvel in Stone)
The 611 and 1218 Come Back to Life - Jeff Hawkins
  Photo Front end shot of 1218 with 611 in background in staged shot at VMT (Jeff Hawkins photo)
  Photo Workman cleaning dual beamed headlight on 611 in staged shot at VMT (Jeff Hawkins photo)
  Photo Staged shot of 1218 with fireman and engineer at VMT (Jeff Hawkins photo)
  Photo Staged shot of 1218 with man lighting cigar at VMT (Jeff Hawkins photo)
Vol. 26, No. 4 October / December 2010  Issue Select