Vol. 29, No. 2 April / June 2013  Issue Select 
Issue Details
Cover Subtitle: A Tribute to the Train Masters. Rails Remembered - Chapter 80
On the Cover: On Sunday, November 4, 1973, N&W’s “Farewell to the Train Masters” special headed east along the littlephotographed ex-Virginian line in Southside Virginia. The author of “A Tribute to the Train Masters” (see page 6) relates: “It was a tough chase, given the dearth of highways paralleling the line. We finished our chase with this shot at Phenix, Virginia, in time for Jeff to return to Roanoke for his flight back. Quite a weekend!”
Articles In This Issue
The Publisher's Desk / Heritage - Kevin EuDaly
  Photo This is our train of empties about to enter Devon Tunnel on January 6, 2013, after leaving the main line in the distance, halfway around Looney’s Curve. I’m sure Louis could fill us in on what this power would have been in 1956. (Kevin EuDaly photo)
  Photo About the only thing better than a heritage unit on a coal train is two of them! Here, PRR-painted 8102, a General Electric ES44AC, leads the N&W 8103, also an ES44AC, on a loaded coal train at the old Virginian station site in Roanoke, Virginia, on October 1, 2012. (Gerard Fitzgerald photo)
A Tribute to the Train Masters - Jeremy Plant
  Photo The farewell to the Train Masters special was wyed at Elmore and was getting readied to head back to Roanoke as the fans prepared for the chase back up the hill to Princeton on Saturday, November 3, 1973. (Jeremy Plant)
  Photo Train Master 158 in the original N&W diesel scheme was working the yard at Elmore on a sunny late fall day in 1971. This was my first visit to the former Virginian and my first encounter with the road’s Train Masters. (Jeremy Plant)
  Photo The 171 was stationed at Oak Hill, West Virginia, to work mine branches connected to the main line at Oak Hill Junction, north of Elmore on the Deepwater main. On a beautiful October afternoon in 1972 the isolated unit was switching a work train at the junction. (Jeremy Plant)
  Photo Friday afternoon before the weekend of the specials saw a parade of westbounds in beautiful low late autumn light pass through the station at Roanoke. A trio of SD40-2s in the new NW scheme lead an RS-11 on an empty hopper train in downtown Roanoke. (Jeremy Plant)
  Photo Dawn was breaking on Saturday as the fans tried to get the first shots of the special. It promised to be a thrilling day, with the 174 and 173 set up in the manner the Virginian operated them, in pairs with the long hoods out. (Jeremy Plant)
  Photo The chase was on as the Train Masters accelerated west out of the station with lead unit 174 spewing the trademark bluish-white smoke typical of Fairbanks-Morse power. (Jeremy Plant)
  Photo The day quickly turned dark and cloudy with occasional drizzle as the special headed west up the New River Valley. It passed a work crew at Ripplemead, Virginia. The former RF&P cars up front brought to mind the run-through blue and gray cars often found on the Cavalier in the days of N&W passenger service. (Jeremy Plant)
  Photo The train stopped at Narrows, Virginia, enabling photographers to set up shots on either side of the tracks. (Jeremy Plant)
  Photo About 3-1.2 miles from the boundary between Virginia and West Virginia the train left former N&W rails and headed up the connection to the former Virginian at Kellysville, West Virginia. (Jeremy Plant)
  Photo After a bit of climb out of the river valley the special passed the depot at Princeton. The dismal weather didn’t dim the excitement of a couple of H-24-66s strutting their stuff on a part of the railroad they didn’t frequent in Virginian days, where they worked mainly north and west of Elmore. (Jeremy Plant)
  Photo At Matoaka, West Virginia, the former Virginian and an N&W line paralleled one another at different elevations. The special made an impressive sight through the fog and drizzle as it rounded the sweeping curve, with the oak trees still showing their russet colors on this early November day. (Jeremy Plant)
  Photo Waiting for the shot at the bridge at Herndon, West Virginia, we heard the rumble of an approaching eastbound freight. It was too close to get across the tracks to shoot the head end power so Jeff and I scrambled down the bank and up the other side in time to get the three-unit set of Alco C-630s pushing on a refrigerator car ahead of the caboose. (Jeremy Plant)
  Photo The special rumbled across the steel bridge at Herndon, one of the series of tall spans that were the trademark look of the Virginian in West Virginia. (Jeremy Plant)
  Photo The special was run around the wye at Elmore and was preparing to head back to Roanoke in this view. This goingaway view shows how different the new black NW scheme made the 173 appear compared to the older scheme on the lead unit. (Jeremy Plant)
  Photo Assigned to switching duty at Elmore Yard that day was ex-Virginian Train Master 3598 in faded blue and gold. (Jeremy Plant)
  Photo Having successfully pushed the eastbound freight seen earlier up to Clarks Gap, the C-630s drifted back past the Tralee tipple and into Elmore. (Jeremy Plant)
  Photo The photographers finally caught a break in the clouds as the special left Elmore on the return trip, the sun highlighting the long flanks of the 174 and 173 as they passed Tralee. (Jeremy Plant)
  Photo The light was receding quickly as the special swung around an S curve at Herndon, a typical coal town in this part of central West Virginia. (Jeremy Plant)
  Photo The special was running on the westbound track as it crossed the high trestle at Covel, West Virginia. (Jeremy Plant)
  Photo Princeton lost much of its importance after the N&W merger, but still showed a good deal of activity in 1973. The special held the main as an eastbound coal drag waited to follow. This was our last photo location for the Saturday trip, as the short daylight hours gave way to darkness. (Jeremy Plant)
My Ride in a Train Master - Mark Lynn
  Photo While the Train Master that Mark Lynn photographed and rode was numbered in the Wabash series, its N&W and Virginian heritage is apparent. In fact, it was the third of four units to carry the number. The first was Wabash 599, 550 before that, and originally the first Train Master demonstrator, TM-1. That unit was renumbered 3598 by the N&W after the acquisition of the Wabash. After its retirement in 1969 it was renumbered 167 in 1970. When the first 3598 was renumbered 167, the latter unit took the number 3598. When that second 3598 was retired in 1970, the third 3598 was reassigned 153, which was in turn retired in 1971. The third 3598 was then returned to service at Mullens in 1973 and subsequently ridden by Mark. The unit was retired for good in May 1974 and converted to slug 9909. Upon that retirement the number was reassigned again to the 3592, formerly Wabash 592, becoming the fourth 3598. Why the renumbering? No doubt tax or equipment trust issues. (Mark Lynn photo)
Rails Remembered - Chapter 81 / A Long Winter, Some Challenges and Tragedies - Louis M. Newton
  Photo A portion of the massive Alpheus Coal Preparation Plant of United States Steel Corp., in Gary, West Virginia, is seen in this view of the fine coal facilities, looking south, on March 1, 1957. On one occasion in December 1955 when a refuse conveyor belt broke, the N&W furnished work trains with dump cars to avoid a disruption of service. (Huger collection, N&WHS Archives collection)
  Sidebar The Roanoke Times account of the tragic explosion of Y-6 2153 near Wytheville, Virginia, on December 12, 1955. The engineer was killed instantly, and two other crew members died later as a result of their injuries. (Louis M. Newton collection)
  Chart N&W’s freight business throughout 1955 showed a marked improvement over the prior year. In December, coal cars loaded on N&W rails increased 17 percent, and cars received from connections were up 30 percent over the previous December. (N&W Magazine, January 1956)
  Photo The eastbound receiving yard at Bluefield was filled to capacity on Christmas Eve 1955, looking downgrade from Grant Street bridge toward the east. Long tracks, from right to left, are: eastward main (with reverse signaling), westward main (occupied by a train), yard tracks 1 through 7, and a long combination track known as “11 & 8.” Four short tracks in foreground were known locally as the “cabbage patch,” which extended to the west opposite the passenger station. (Louis M. Newton photo)
  Chart Profile of a natural gravity yard — two of them, in fact — in Bluefield, West Virginia. The relatively small West Yard, extending west from the summit near Mercer Street on a grade of about 1.2 percent, handled primarily empty coal cars. The movement of loaded coal cars between the eastbound receiving yard, extending east from the summit on a grade in excess of 1.0 percent, and the forwarding (departure) yard, where the grade reached 1.6 percent, was controlled by husky car riders using hand brakes. (N&W track chart)
  Photo Class E-2a 544 was the only passenger locomotive retired by the N&W in 1955. It is shown here in the “dead line” at Bluefield before it went to the scrap yard. With its retirement, the 563 and 578, used on the Clinch Valley, were the only Pacifics left on the roster. (Louis M. Newton photo)
  Photo As eastbound coal business increased during the winter of 1955-1956, some locomotives were reassigned from the Scioto to the Pocahontas Division. One example was Y-3 2040, shown here in Bluefield after its transfer from Clare Yard at Cincinnati. It was typical of the power used to handle coal in Bluefield’s East Yard. (Louis M. Newton photo)
  Drawing Hand-drawn sketches of the N&W main line between Looney’s Curve near MP N-445 and the location of the wreck of No. 3 at Cedar near MP N-450. Speed restriction for passenger trains around Looney’s Curve was 30 mph. West of there were a 45-mph curve, a 40-mph curve at Devon station, and three more 45- mph curves in approach to Cedar, where speed was restricted to 30 mph. (Louis M. Newton drawings)
  Photo For many years, the Bluefield wreck cars were parked on a track near Princeton Avenue just west of the passenger station, ready for immediate use when needed. The “Big Hook,” derrick 514925, pictured here in 1981, was a 250-ton capacity product of Industrial Brownhoist acquired by the N&W in 1950. Among its assignments during its many years of service was the recovery of Class J 611 from the bank of Tug River following the wreck of No. 3 at Cedar, West Virginia, in January 1956. Two similar units were based at Roanoke and Portsmouth. (Bob Bowers photo)
  Photo Of the three 250-ton derricks on N&W’s roster, the 514925 has survived and is pictured here on display at the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke. Its large heavy boom, shown here with its various cables and pulleys overhanging one of its boom cars, was a key factor in its 250-ton rating. One of the few derricks still in service on Norfolk Southern is the 250-ton former Virginian B-37, now NS 540037, based in Roanoke. (Louis M. Newton photo)
  Photo Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway’s two RDCs, DC-190 and DC-191, were involved in an even more tragic accident the same night as the wreck of No. 3 at Cedar. In this view they are operating southbound as Train 80 on Santa Fe’s coast line between Los Angeles and San Diego at San Clemente, California, in June 1953, 2-1/2 years before they were involved in a tragic wreck at Redondo Junction. (Don Richardson photo, Kevin EuDaly collection)
Vol. 29, No. 2 April / June 2013  Issue Select