Vol. 14, No. 1 January / February 1998  Issue Select 
Issue Details
Cover Title: Norfolk & Western's Oil-Burners
Cover Subtitle: Steam vs. Diesel In 1952: Did N&W Cheat?
On the Cover: N&W Class K1 #107 pauses for her official portrait at the Shaffers Crossing roundhouse in Roanoke shortly after her conversion to an oil-burner. Nothing shows to indicate the change, except the lack of an ashpan. However, the coal bunker area on the Class 18-B tender clearly shows the top of the new oil tank and the low-level handrail. The engine has a larger square sand dome, but still has the older style square cab and unsheathed firebox. Of special interest is the visored headlight, normally not an N&W practice.
Articles In This Issue
Time Warp in Bluefield / NRHS AMTRAK Roanoke-Bluefield excursion - Ron Davis
  Photo NRHS AMTRAK Superliner excursion in Bluefield WV (Ron Davis Photo)
Cover Story: N&W's Oil-Burning Steam Locomotives / When the miner walked out, technology stepped in - Thomas D. Dressler
  Photo The Fireman of this oil-burning locomotive rests his right hand on the oil-firing valve in the closed position. The N&W installation was just the opposite from most other roads in that the valve was closed to the left and opened to the right. The bootleg damper control is just below the firing valve. The large valve centered in the lower window pane is the blower valve which introduced an artificial draft through the boiler when the engine was not working steam. (N&W Photo / Thomas D. Dressler Collection)
  Photo The 2-1/2 Booth oil burner, purchased from the Santa Fe, was installed at the front of the firebox facing rearward towards the flashwall. The bottom, front and rear and both sides of the firebox were built up with firebrick to protect metal parts from the increased temperature of the oil fire. (N&W Photo / Thomas D. Dressler Collection)
  Sidebar The Good and The Bad About Oil Burners: The Good: 13 items The Bad: 6 Items
  Photo The many changes to the engine backhead and the area beneath the cab floor of No. 107 are plainly marked in this detailed photo taken following conversion to an oil burner. The square covering at the bottom center is the engine frame buffer plate which rides against the front of the tender frame buffer. The new fier door cover includes the peep hole and sand hole. (N&W Photo / Thomas D. Dressler Collection)
  Photo In this view of the area above the trailing truck, we see that air tubes were added to either side of the firebox draft pan which introduced air into the furnace for complete combustion. In coal-burners, combustion air entered through the bottom grates and filtered up through the bed of the fire. (N&W Photo / Thomas D. Dressler Collection)
  Photo The top of the coal bunker was sealed tight and a low handrail was added for safety. The top of the tank was painted black and then while still wet, sand was spread evenly to create a non-skid surface. Not the emergency oil shut-off cable leading from the cab roof overhang to the shutoff valve; it would be about ten years before another form of N&W motive power would have emergency fuel cut-off safety devices. (N&W Photo / Thomas D. Dressler Collection)
  Photo The front of the tender showing the changes necessary for conversion to an oil-burner. The coal bunker area was tightly sealed and a large sand box added to the front wall. The unmarked pipe to the left of the sand box was the valve at the top is the emergency air brake valve as required by the ICC. (N&W Photo / Thomas D. Dressler Collection)
  Drawing The general arrangement drawing of an ATSF oil-burner provides the named and locations of the various components on the engine and tender. Careful study illustrates the differences in the firing apparatus from that of a coal-burning locomotive. (Sante Fe Oil Burning Equipment Booklet / Thomas D Dressler Collection)
  Drawing An oil-burning firebox differed quite a bit from that of a coal-burner in that the floor, front and side shelves and burner where parallel to the railhead and the flashwall covered the entire lower third of the backhead. (Sante Fe Oil Burning Equipment Booklet / Thomas D Dressler Collection)
  Photo The Conversion in Progress: Workmen install a filter grate in the oil filler hole. The vent or pressure relief pipe is towards the camera and the offset handrail is the left. Not the sand-impregnated tank top surface. (N&W Photo / Thomas D. Dressler Collection)
  Sidebar A Big Boy on Oil?? Union Pacific Big Boy #4005 oil burner tests, but never converted from coal to oil.
The Elkhorn Tunnel / A Pocahontas Spotlight Special Report - Robert Harvey
  Photo Elkhorn Tunnel (N&W Photo / VPI&SU Collection)
  Photo The most spectacular feature of the old Elkhorn grade was this spindly-looking curved trestle at Maybeury, WV. This picture is dated 1890, and if the date is correct, the trestle had only seven more years to go; it was replaced in December of 1897 by the Phoenix Bridge Company with a steel trestle. Engine #241 was built by the Roanoke Machine Works in 1890 and it served the N&W until 1920. Serveral mining operations were servered by a creek-level track, where the engine is shown, of around five miles total length; the connection to the main line was a switch near Switchback. (VPI&SU Digital Photo)
  Chart Approx. Profile of the Line Between Bluefield and Vivan
  Map Track layout between Vivian and Bluefield (Robert L. Harvey drawing traced from an 1895 U.S. Geological Survey topo map)
Steam vs. Diesel in 1952: Did N&W CHEAT? / A mechanical engineer examines a 46 year controversy - David R. Stephenson
  Photo Class A1, or just the Class A #1238 we know and love? #1238 was the star of the show in O. Winston Link's recordings, "Mainline to Panther". Its recorded performance that day contributed to what the author feels was a mistaken assumption that the engine had been altered into a new subclass. (N&W Photo / N&WHS Collecition)
  Photo Class Y6b #2197 was chosen to prove its worth against the diesels in July, 1952. Since it exceeded it's rated tractive effort during those tests, an alteration was assumed to have occurred. The author explains that, in fact, she was just doing what she was built (originally) to do. (N&W Photo / N&WHS Collecition)
  Photo The Challenger: EMD sent a ABBA set of F7's for the famous test run. Carrying EMD lettering, the units are shown in Bluefield. (N&WHS Archive Photo)
From Tuscan Red To Olive Drab / N&W's unsurpassed effort in two World Wars - Rolfe L. Hillman, III
The Tennessean / Update on passenger station colors, and more about Bristol - James Nichols
  Photo Spotless Class J #601 rolls the brand-new silvery "Tennessean" near Salem, VA in the early 40s. This standard "3/4 shot" prevents us from knowing if the elusive "Unicorn" was bringing up the rear. (N&W Photo / VPI&SU Collection)
View from the Cab / My Favorite Florida Vacation - Thomas D. Dressler
  Photo Society Director Emeritus Tom Dressler at the throttle of Bob O'Neil's Green and Gold 1-1/2 inch scale Southern Railway Ps4 4-6-2. (Douglas A. Dressler Photo)
Q&A / The Arrow Staff finds the answers - Unknown Unknown
Current News / What's Happening in today's railroading - Robert G. Bowers
The Virginian Local / Evolution of Virginian Tunnels - Martin E. Swartz
  Photo This 1921 view of the east portal of tunnel 10 shows one of the moveable steel-framed shield segments that were used to protect trains during the widening project in 1921.
  Photo This is the two-level platform car used in the 1913 lining project. Concrete was shoveled by hand into the lining forms. A very similar platform was used in 1921.
Video Review / Vintage Rails - Volume 7 Norfolk & Western Ry. - Mason Y. Cooper
Vol. 14, No. 1 January / February 1998  Issue Select