Vol. 13, No. 4 July / August 1997  Issue Select 
Issue Details
Cover Title: Steam Locomotive Lettering
Cover Subtitle: The Evolution of the "N&W Look"
On the Cover: Class W2 No. 929 is an example of the locomotive lettering used by the N&W around 1930. The numbers were 6 inches high and the road name (with ampersand) was placed below. Our cover story on all of the various lettering schemes of steam locomotives begins on page 4.
Articles In This Issue
Observation / Our Biggest Issue Ever - Jarrell Greever
Mailbag - Jarrell Greever
Steam Locomotive Lettering / The Evolution of that "Norfolk and Western Look" - Thomas D. Dressler
  Photo 1919: Prior to 1921, N&W steam power was identified with 8 inch-high gold numbers and letters and the ampersand wa standard. Class W 2-8-0 is shown here at the Baldwin Locomtive Works with a "Russian Iron" boiler jacket. (N&W photo, Charles Schlotthober collection)
  Photo 1921: Brand new Y3a No. 2063 illustrates the April 1921 simplification with the five inch-high locomotive number on the cab side. There was nothing to identify road ownership except a small "N&W" and number on the rear of the tender (N&W photo, Thomas D. Dressler collection)
  Photo 1930: About 1930, a small improvement was made when the cab side number was increased to six inches high and the road name, still with an ampersand, was placed beneath the number. The gold color continued until later in the decade when Dulux Gold was introduced and adopted by the N&W. No. 929 was a class W2 with an added "Poor Man's Feedwater" located just behind the sand dome. (N&W photo, Thomas D. Dressler collection)
  Photo The 1941 Schemes: In May 1941, an all new locomotive identification program was begun with 10 inch-high, modified heavy serif Roman-style capital letters were spread out across the entire tender side. The letters were spaced 10 inches apart and the words 30 inches apart. The letter shafts were relatively heavy and the "R's" had a point on their tails. The color was, of course, Dulux gold. K2a No. 136 was one of three locomotives to receive the experimental lettering (N&W photo, Charles Schhlotthober collection)
  Photo After careful study of the May '41 experimental lettering, changes were made in which the letter shafts were thinner and the "R's" lost their points. Letter spacing was reduced to six inches while the word spacing remained at 30 inches. The boiler jacket of K2 No. 124 has received a coat of Nickelsheen, a commercial product said to protect surfaces subjected to high temperatures. (N&W Photo, Thomas D. Dressler collection)
  Photo The early 1941 lettering experiments finaly led to this: the most beautiful paint scheme ever applied to a steam locomotive, the classic black, red. gold, and chrome of the Norfolk and Western Class J 4-8-4. Nothing fancy, no bright multi-colors, no white wheel trim...just pure and simple beauty for the best passenger steam locomotive ever built. (Thomas D. Dressler collection)
  Photo All of the large, 22,000 gallon tenders both freight and passenger, proudly carried the corporate name centered on the side in the same sizes and the 18,000 gallon tanks but the words were spaced 36 inches apart. Auxiliary water tenders were identified with similar lettering but the words were located 30 inches in from each end making the spacing between words 35 and 1/16 inches. (Don Wood photo)
  Photo Smaller tenders received eight inch-high lettering with five-inch spacing between letters. Word spacing varied from 24 to 30 inches. On tenders there the backup light was centered, the number and tonnage wording was located in the upper right hand corner. Those with the light in the upper right corner had the information placed directly below the lamp. (Thomas D. Dressler collection)
  Sidebar Battleship Gray Boiler Jackets? (Thomas D. Dressler)
The History of the South Side railroad, 1846-1870 / Part 5, The CIvil War Period - James Bisbee
The Tennessean / OK, She wasn't Dead, Only Resting - James Nichols
  Photo If J 607 could express emotion, she'd probably be smiling on Spet. 17, 1958 as the N&W once again had to call on her to pull The Powhatan Arrow, since there weren't yet enough diesels on the roster to cover all runs. Could this be the last photo ever taken of passenger steam on Blue Ridge? (J. W. Swanberg photo)
Pocahontas Spotlight / Runaway! - Robert Harvey
  Photo This pile-up at Ashland, W. VA, was the result of the crew failing to make a proper brake tests before descending a heavy grade. The clean-up of this tragic accident clearly became a community event. (Robert L. Harvey collection)
  Photo The ICC Summary Report
Q&A - Staff Arrow
  Photo Photo of clock, Class A (Ron Rosenberg photo)
N&W Covered Hoppers in HO Scale / 3rd in a Series - Wilson McClung
  Photo Fig. 1: N&W Class HC-8 with "steam-ear" lettering scheme, This class was built by American Car and Foundry (ACF) for the N&W furing 1958-1959 (N&W Archives collection, VPI&SU Libraries)
  Drawing Fig. 2: Railroad Diagrams of the HC-8 (top) and HC-53 (bottom) covered hoppers built by American Car and Foundry (Courtesy Norfolk Southern Corporation)
  Photo Fig. 3: Left: N&W Class HC-8 in the 1960's halfmoon lettering scheme. Right: Corresponding model is the ECW car with the MDC roof and modifications to the upper ends of the sides (VPI&SU Collection and W. S. McClung photo)
  Photo Fig. 4: Left: N&W Class HC-8 in the 1970's lettering scheme. Right: Corresponding model is the ECW car with the previously explained modifications. (Courtesy Howard Ameling, and W. S. McClung photo)
  Photo Fig. 5: Left: Green MofW locomotive sand hopper incorrectly stencilled HC-54. This car is either an HC-8 ro HC-53. It lacks the "MW" and "Co. service car for sand loading only" lettering that most of these cars have. Right: The corresponding model. (W. S. McClung photos)
  Photo Fig. 6: Left: Open-top N&W MofW ballast car converted from a Class HC-8 coverred hopper. Note that the roof has been removed and side discharge chutes have been added. The designation HC-8 still remains even though the hopper is not open-topped. Right: Corresponding model is the modified ECW Morrison Knudsen ballast car. The upper portions of the car ends have been modified as explained above and the ECW kit contains the side discharge chutes. (Courtesy Robert Bowers and W. S. MCClung photo)
  Drawing Fig. 7: Modifications to Eastern Car Works model. Parts shown are not to scale.
  Photo Fig. 8: A close up photo of the finished model shows the placement of the styrene pieces illustrated in Figure 7. The letters of the pieces correspond with those in Figure 7C. (W. S. McClund photo)
View from the Cab / Reunion at the Gallia Street Crossing - Thomas D. Dressler
  Photo Leased ACL E7A No. 531, in charge of The Powhatan Arrow on this day in September 1958, is shown shortly after striking the '54 Pontiac in downtown Portsmouth, OH. Both locomotive and driver received only minor injuries, but the already late Arrow was delayed another hour by the mishap. (Thomas D. Dressler photo)
  Photo The Pontiac sedan was reduced to junk in a matter of seconds after impact. The welder to the right with his hand on his hip has just finished straightening the bent uncoupling lever on the front of the engine. (Thomas D. Dressler photo)
  Photo Now some three hours late, Train No. 26, The Powhatan Arrow, leaves the accident scene after the wrecked Pontiac is moved to the side. The auto was struck at the very front edge of the driver's side front door. (Thomas D. Dressler photo)
"I can't start this train...it'll break in two!' / A Frist-Person Memory Form the Days of Steam - James B. Scott
  Photo Nono: Y6 #2160
Norfolk and Western Y-Class 2-8-8-2s in HO Scale / Model review - Thomas D. Dressler
  Photo Front to Back: Precision Scale's models of the Y4, Y5 and Y6b. The similarity of the boilers of the three models shows clearly. Note the correct straight smoke staks on the Y4 and Y5 and the forward slanted stack of the Y6b. (Gary D. Rolih photo)
  Photo The smooth paint on both the smokebox and boiler show nicely but the too-small smokebox door and the incorrect headlight bracket are quite evident in this 3/4 front view. Fine detailing is excellent (Gary D. Rolih photo)
  Photo Left: The very nice cab interiors and tender front details of the Y6b are impressive. A close look reveals the outside-mounted brake cylinder of the front truck. Right: The massive ex/ACL 24,000 gallon tenders were the largest used behind any N&W steam engine. The front water cistern hatch was blanked out by the N&W when the dog house was added to the rear deck. (Gary D. Rolih photo)
The Virginian Local / Early Standard VGN Water Tanks - Martin E. Swartz
  Photo This tank at Pax, WV differs from the standard in that it is supported by a wooden substructure, but it does have an elegant finial, and the staves are secured by the original flat bands rather than the rods used in later years. Check the snazy headlight cover on VGN class TA #210, (Roger Nutting collection)
  Photo By 1953, this tank at Morgan, VA, has lost its roof and strap-type banding, but retains the apron around the floor sills which is indicated in the drawing (on back cover). The layout of the foundations and steel support columns is quite evident. (Roger Nutting collection)
  Photo This section of a post-1925 photo shws the water level indicator and the rooftop hatch. The numbers on the indicator start at 1 on the top, increasing to 9 then starting over at zero and increasing to four again at the bottom. I am told that the water level indicator was usually on the side of the tank facing the predominant direction of travel (Roger Nutting collection)
  Drawing VGN water tank drawing (Railway Gazette drawing)
Current News - Robert G. Bowers
Honor Roll: Our 1996 List of Sustaining Members - Staff Arrow
Hoppers and Boxcars in N-Scale - Frank Gibson
Vol. 13, No. 4 July / August 1997  Issue Select