Vol. 27, No. 3 July / September 2011  Issue Select 
Issue Details
Cover Title: The Electric N&W, part 6
Cover Subtitle: Miracle at Coldwater
On the Cover: On August 14, 1950, Class K-1 locomotive 108 flies out of the west portal of the new Elkhorn Tunnel west of Maybeury, West Virginia, with a troop extra. The tunnel has only been open for traffic since June 26, and in the seven weeks it’s been officially open the N&W has completed the second main track through the tunnel, seen in the foreground of this photograph. Coverage of the rebuilding of the Elkhorn Grade, the completion of the new Elkhorn Tunnel, and the elimination of the N&W’s electrification are covered in The Electric N&W, Part 6, in this issue.
Articles In This Issue
Tales of the Iron Road Part 5 / Miracle at Coldwater - Skip Salmon
  Photo Glen Steinbrunner (left) and Earl Atkins in 2010. (Stephanie Steinbrunner photo)
  Photo Glen Steinbrunner, Alexandra, Earl, Brandon, and Wanda. (Stephanie Steinbrunner photo)
Rails Remembered - Chapter 74 / Some Visits to Tidewater and also the "West End" - Louis M. Newton
  Photo Although perhaps less impressive than locomotives, hopper cars were obviously essential to the operation of coal-hauling railroads. N&W’s rugged Class H-3 70-ton hoppers, rebuilt from HU and HUa hoppers beginning in 1941, were the backbone of the company’s fleet for many years. The HU and HUa hoppers were built in 1922 and 1924. The 4892 was photographed in Roanoke, Virginia. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo In 1941 the N&W began construction of the H-2, nearly identical to the H-3, but entirely new. The follow-on H-2a program began in 1948. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo In the twilight of steam in the Northeast, the author had the privilege of riding behind Pennsylvania Railroad K4s Pacific 1361 on the New York & Long Branch Railroad. It became only one of two K4s’s to be preserved. This photograph shows it in operation on the NY&LB at Bay Head, New Jersey, on February 22, 1954. (John Dziobko photo)
  Photo Another steam twilight operation in the Northeast was the Central of New Jersey, which continued to handle commuter trains with a fleet of conventional Pacifics and Camelback Ten-Wheelers into the early 1950s. Pictured here on October 11, 1953, is one of the latter, the 752, on its weekend layover at Cranford, New Jersey. (Louis M. Newton photo)
  Photo Although the Hagerstown & Frederick Railway was an interurban line that had originally connected its namesake cities in Maryland, by 1953 it was nearing the end of its days. Combine car 172 is pictured here in Frederick on October 17, 1953. (Louis M. Newton photo)
  Map Map of a portion of the railroads of the “Hill City” of Lynchburg, Virginia, in 1953, with lines of the N&W, Southern, and C&O running through the city on many different levels. The detour route used by N&W train No. 4 on October 24, 1953, is shown highlighted in yellow. The train was backed from Union Station west to Durham Junction, then up a steep grade past 12th Street Station to Durmid Wye before heading south on the Durham District to a connection with the Virginian Railway at Vabrook. (Collection of Louis Newton, N&WHS Archives)
  Map This map of N&W’s Norfolk Division shows the detour route of No. 4 (highlighted in yellow) from Lynchburg south on the Durham District to Vabrook, then east on the Virginian to Abilene and a connection with N&W’s Burkeville–Pamplin Belt Line (normally freight-only) for further movement to Burkeville and Crewe. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Map This railroad map of the Cincinnati area was drawn identifying N&W’s proposed route to Cincinnati Union Terminal. N&W freight trains originated and terminated at Clare Yard. Transfer crews operated from Clare via a switchback arrangement at Idlewild to Berry Yard and connections with B&O and New York Central in the Ivorydale area. The “new connection” shown on the map at Idlewild would have eliminated switchback operation but it was never built. N&W had operating rights over PRR from Idlewild to the joint freight station at Court Street, and the N&W passenger trains used trackage rights on PRR and B&O to reach Cincinnati Union Terminal. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo N&W Y-3 2003 equipped with footboards and overfire air jets for yard service is pictured at Clare on September 19, 1949. The hopper cars in the background are on a sidehill trestle which served as a coal wharf, with coal being delivered through chutes to the tenders of locomotives below. (Bob Hundman collection, N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo This photo shows the unique “separate exhaust” smoke abatement experiment on S-1a 232 at Clare on November 10, 1953. Exhaust steam from the cylinders was directed to the pipe ahead of the smokestack. Smokebox netting around the pipe served as a “silencer.” The fire was drafted only by the blower as needed. (Louis M. Newton photo)
  Photo In November 1953, veteran M-2c 1150, a Roanoke Shops product of 1911, rests beside the enginehouse at Clare. The apparatus visible above the boiler was used to place heavy steel “bonnets” into the smokestacks of locomotives laying over between runs to prevent the escape of heavy particulate matter (cinders) into the atmosphere. (Louis M. Newton photo)
  Photo Class J 610 eases No. 45, the westbound Tennesseean, into Track No. 2 at the Roanoke passenger station, in about 1953. Tracks to left lead to the Shenandoah Division, Randolph Street Tower is visible directly above locomotive, the west end of Roanoke Shops is in background, and the coach yard is at right. (Lewis M. Newton photo)
  Photo Class J 607 takes No. 45 out of Roanoke, November 8, 1953. An all-coach lightweight stainless steel streamliner over much of its route when inaugurated in 1941, by this time the Tennesseean was a mixture of heavy and lightweight equipment. The first car in the train is one of the original streamlined Railway Post Office cars of Southern Railway ownership. The N&W General Office Buildings are in background. (Louis M. Newton photo)
N&W and VGN Modeler: Inspiration / Shenandoah Coaling Station - James F. Brewer
  Photo For many years this coal wharf at Shenandoah, Virginia, was deemed sufficient for operations there. This view from 1918 shows three hoppers on the wharf that have brought coal for engine service. The modern coaling tower depicted in this article replaced the coal wharf in the early 1940s. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo Eight photos of the model, uncaptioned, showing various angles and detail of the assembly. (Photos by Larry Elliott, James Brewer collection)
Model Review / Virginian AE in O Scale - Bill McClure
  Photo Uncaptioned, beautiful photo of the model all painted and lettered heading a train of hoppers. (Bill McClure)
  Photo This erection card with a photograph of 802 gives the specifications on Virginian’s AE Class 2-10-10-2 locomotives. (Bill McClure collection)
  Photo Uncaptioned. A side view of the mighty AE showing off her immaculate detail and paint. (Bill McClure)
  Photo The Virginian had 10 of the AE Class 2-10-10-2 locomotives, 800-809. In this view the 807 is resting between runs. (Bill McClure collection)
The Electric N&W - Part 6 / The End of Electrification and the Return of Steam - Kevin EuDaly
  Photo Class LC-2 2513 is working east of Maybeury, West Virginia, late in the electric era on August 11, 1948. By the late 1940s the N&W had decided that the restrictions of the single-track Elkhorn Tunnel were too much of a bottleneck on operations, primarily due to the time needed for smoke to clear the tunnel during steam operations. During a time when most railroads were abandoning steam power in favor of diesels, the N&W decided to rebuild the Elkhorn Grade, ditch the electrics, and embrace modern steam. (August A. Thieme, Jr, photo, N&WHS Archives collection)
Big Improvement Project / N&W Magazine, March 1947 - Kevin EuDaly
  Photo An electric LC-1 locomotive rounds a curve in a heavy wet snow with coal loads in tow. The location is unknown, but it is at one of the many locations where the N&W installed a middle track between the two main lines. This was done at strategic locations in the double track territory between Norfolk and Columbus. Snow in Appalachia is a thing of beauty as far as photography is concerned, though it can wreak havoc on transportation in the region. (courtesy Louis Newton, N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo This view shows the west portal of the original Elkhorn Tunnel as it appeared in 1947, shortly before work began on the new Elkhorn Grade project that would eliminate this portion of the Pocahontas Subdivision. (N&W Magazine photo, N&WHS Archives collection)
Pocahontas Division Improvements Are Underway / N&W Magazine, January 1948 - Kevin EuDaly
  Photo This view of the “Jumbo” gives a clear idea of its size. It is about 36 feet wide and 35 feet high. The “Jumbo” is equipped with 15 power drills and 35 men can work on it at one time. It is used not only for drilling but also for lining the tunnel with steel and concrete. As each drilling operation is completed, the “Jumbo” moves back on its own track and the face of rock is shot down. Next, shovels and trucks move in under the “Jumbo” (the inside platforms fold up out of the way) and bring out the muck. “Jumbo” then goes back to the placing of steel liners and the drilling operation. (N&W Magazine photo, N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo This picture was taken on the mountain above the west end of the new tunnel looking west. In the foreground is the track over which the “Jumbo” moves back and forth between blasting and drilling. Shown on the left is material for building the tunnel, including steel liners. The road and temporary track curving around the mountain at right was built to haul all materials needed for construction of the tunnel. (N&W Magazine photo, N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo This picture shows the work of rebuilding Bridge 854 just west of Cooper Tunnel. The previous bridge on the original alignment is shown at right. The new bridge being built was 690 feet long when completed. (N&W Magazine, N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo This view is east of the tunnel, showing the excavation along Mill Creek. The new line will follow approximately the grade on which the power shovel stands. A new channel was dug for the creek along the bank at the right. (N&W Magazine, N&WHS Archives collection)
New Elkhorn Tunnel Opened for Traffic / N&W Magazine, July 1950 - Kevin EuDaly
  Photo On June 26, 1950, the new Elkhorn Tunnel was officially opened for service by the eastbound Powhatan Arrow behind Class J 603. This view, from the cover of the July 1950 issue of the N&W Magazine, shows the mighty J breaking through the official ribbon at the east portal. (N&W Magazine photo, N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo Engineers study plans during the drilling of the new Elkhorn Tunnel. In the background, a cameraman is capturing the event on motion picture film. (N&W Magazine photo, N&WHS collection)
  Sidebar N&W Officially Opens Elkhorn Tunnel. Roanoke World News, June 27, 1950. Also a photo captioned: WHOOO! WHOOO! ARROW COMING THROUGH — The Powhatan Arrow slices through a ribbon across the face of Elkhorn Tunnel and the $12 million project of the N&W is officially opened. The tunnel is near Bluefield, West Virginia. (Kinsley McWhorter, Jr)
  Drawing This clearance diagram of the original Elkhorn Tunnel is dated August 2, 1912, just prior to the electrification project. This was undoubtedly drawn to provide clearance information to Westinghouse and the N&W engineering staff responsible for the electrification project on the Pocahontas Division. The profile in this drawing, however, is that of a steam locomotive, with the clearly labeled “smoke stack” as evidence. There wasn’t much clearance in this tunnel, as locomotives kept growing but the tunnel could not. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Drawing This clearance diagram of the original Elkhorn Tunnel is dated August 2, 1912, the same as the one above. This one shows the outlines and critical clearance points of a number of locomotives, including the Y1 and the M2, as well as other rolling stock. (N&WHS Archives collection)
Large N&W Bore Gives Lift to Operations / Railway Age, November 18, 1950 - Kevin EuDaly
  Photo Workers and engineers are looking over the progress at the east end of the new Elkhorn Tunnel during construction, in a view that gives some idea of the immense size of the tunnel. This was taken before the concrete was poured at this end of the tunnel. The automobiles to the right are covered with mud — drilling tunnels and building new right-of-way are not the cleanest of duties. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Drawing This drawing shows a cross section of the new Elkhorn Tunnel, including the various drainage features of the bore. The tunnel was large enough that standard earth-moving machinery could be used during its construction instead of the smaller units usually employed in tunnel projects. (Railway Age, courtesy Simmons-Boardman Publishing)
  Drawing This drawing shows a map and a grade profile of both the old and new Elkhorn grades. The scale at the bottom is in hundreds of feet, thus the “50” represents 5,000 feet. The new alignment was entirely to the south of the original alignment, essentially from Switchback (just west of Maybeury) to Cooper Tunnel. The only significant new bridges were the one at Switchback and the one just west of Cooper Tunnel, both of which were built over highways and creeks. (Railway Age, courtesy Simmons-Boardman Publishing)
  Photo The new Elkhorn Tunnel is complete and track-laying has reached the east portal. The publicity photography all used the more traditional east portal as opposed to the west portal with its large metal entrance that housed the air-handling machinery. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo This view was taken standing on one of the flat cars in a rail train involved in laying rail in the new Elkhorn Tunnel. This is the west portal, with the air handling equipment that was designed to move air through the tunnel to keep it clear. When operating, smoke from inside the tunnel is forced out and exhausted by this equipment. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo The south main line is in place but the north track is simply a row of ties placed on the roadbed in this view of the west portal. Workers are still working on the ventilating equipment with a makeshift scaffold hung from the portal. This is likely just shortly before the tunnel was opened for service — the track doesn’t appear to be completely ballasted beyond the front edge of this photograph. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo All done! The new Elkhorn Tunnel is complete, track is in, and it’s ready for service. (Railway Age photo, courtesy Simmons-Boardman Publishing)
  Photo In between the top photograph and the one above, taken on March 28, 2010, countless millions of tons of merchandise and commodities have passed through the new Elkhorn Tunnel. The railroad only proceeds with a major line revision after the accountants have determined that it will pay dividends in the long run. This line revision clearly has paid those dividends. (Kevin EuDaly photo)
  Photo The east portal of the New Elkhorn Tunnel still proudly displays its 1950 build date in this photograph from March 28, 2010. (Kevin EuDaly photo)
Nuggets from the Archives / The Virginian Rebuilds a Bridge - a color photo essay - Gordon Hamilton
  Map The sinuous route of the Virginian main line along Loup Creek (the map has “Loop Creek”) can be traced by the thin black line. The thicker red line is West Virginia Route 61. In one two-mile stretch on this map, the Virginian crossed Loup Creek ten times, had curves ranging up to 16 degrees and grades of 1.96 percent and 2.34 percent as it followed the pitch of the stream. Certainly the Virginian’s reputation as a “super railroad” of easy grades and curves did not derive from this stretch. (U. S. Geological Survey map, author’s collection)
  Photo This is a view upstream on Loup Creek as rail is being removed from the old bridge. Robson would be to the left (east) in this view, and Deepwater would be to the right (west). (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo Again looking upstream, coal-fired 160-ton wreck crane B-14 on the east end of the bridge and diesel locomotive crane B-35 on the west end of the bridge are removing the old bridge beams. Note the insulated bars above the tips of both cranes’ booms for protection when working under the catenary in the electrified zone. Also, do you see the spectator in the lower left corner? (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo Still looking upstream, crane B-35 is removing the last of the old bridge beams. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo This is looking west toward Deepwater and the 15-degree curve at the west end of the bridge. Note the cables used to bind the two top courses of stone on the center pier. Also, the pier is rounded on the upstream (left) end, but squared off on the downstream end. By the way, you just can’t get stones like these at your local building supply store these days! (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo Looking east toward Robson, Crane B-14 and Fairbanks-Morse Trainmaster 51 are moving the new bridge assembly toward its site. Note the new bridge crossties laid upside down on the left revealing the notches to fit the beams of the new bridge. The insulated bar on the tip of the crane boom is evident here. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo Crane B-14 is positioning the new bridge, which will be continuous across the center pier and extend the full distance between abutments, unlike the old bridge which was in two lengths that spanned just from each abutment to the center pier. Note that the hitch on the bridge assembly is back of its longitudinal center requiring that the east end of the bridge assembly be tucked under the crane boom to keep it reasonably level. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo The new bridge is carefully lowered into place. Crane B-35 is out of sight to the right, but its cable block is visible over the right-hand end of the bridge, revealing its role in assisting Crane B-14 in positioning the bridge. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo Looking west toward the 15 degree curve that extends approximately to the east (near) end of the bridge. The notching of the bottoms of the crossties apparently varied from crosstie to crosstie in such a way as to give a run-up of the superelevation in the outer rail of the spiral on the bridge leading into the full body of the curve beyond. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo Looking west again, the notched crossties are being brought forward by Crane B-35 and placed on the bridge beams. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo Still looking west, it may be possible to detect the effect of the variable depth of notching from tie to tie in providing the run up in superelevation of the outer rail leading toward the 3-inch superelevation in the body of the curve in the distance. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo Looking east, the change in superelevation from the 3-inch maximum at the extreme left to none near the east end of the bridge should be obvious. The curve in the distance which Crane B-14 occupies is a 16-degree curve with 3½-inch superelevation. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo In a view looking east from West Virginia Route 61, the Fairbanks-Morse diesel sends out a puff of white smoke as it gingerly eases the work train west across the bridge — probably the first of many trains to use the new bridge. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo Incredibly, a picture post card with a view of the old Bridge 433.3, also made from West Virginia Route 61, has turned up. The inscription at the top reads, “Scene On Page Mountain Showing Virginian Railroad between Montgomery and Oak Hill, West Virginia.” (Jeff Sanders collection)
Tied To The Past / Elkhorn Tunnel in 2010 - Kevin EuDaly
  Photo Though the light splashed along the inside of the bore is from modern NS power, with a little imagination one can visualize a J-class zipping out of the bore with a classy Arrow in tow. Or maybe better yet, a monstrous Y easing down the grade with empties headed for the mines on the Pocahontas Division. (Kevin EuDaly)
Vol. 27, No. 3 July / September 2011  Issue Select