Vol. 31, No. 1 January / March 2015  Issue Select 
Issue Details
Cover Title: Beyond the Appalachians
Cover Subtitle: N&W Crossbucks, The Electric Virginian - part 5, Implementing the N&W Vision - part 1
On the Cover: Something you’d not likely see on a Pocahontas Division coal train… N&W U25B 8139 with three trailing N&W high-hood GP30s. They’re leading a westbound train of Ohio coal out the west end of Brewster yard on July 15, 1973. The coal could be headed to any of the many steel mills or power plants served by the N&W in the Great Lake states. The Wabash purchased 15 U25Bs from GE in 1962. One was wrecked on the Wabash prior to the merger and was replaced by GE. It was received by the N&W after the merger in 1965. They were initially numbered in the 3500-series at the time of the 1964 merger, but in July 1970 they were renumbered into the 8100-series in anticipation of a merger between the N&W and C&O that never materialized (C&O’s U25Bs were also renumbered into the 8100-series). The first of N&W’s 15 units was numbered 8138 following the C&O’s last U25B, 8137. The 14 remaining N&W U25Bs followed the 8138 consecutively. N&W’s U-Boats generally stayed further west on the system closer to their primary maintenance location in Decatur, Illinois, so it was always a treat to catch one on the Pittsburgh Division.
Articles In This Issue
N&W-VGN Modeler / Norfolk & Western Crossbucks - Mason Y. Cooper
  Drawing Instruction sheet and diagram for the Master Creations crossbucks. (used by permission of BTS)
  Photo The N&W crossbucks at MP H-45, near Boyce, Virginia, have seen better days in this photo taken in May 1975. The “Slow Down 5MPH VA Law” portion of the sign has been taken down and is stored along with a pile of its brethren in the station at Berryville. Crossbucks such as these helped build the railroad it’s individual character. (Mason Y. Cooper photo)
The Electric Virginian, Part 5 / The N&W Merger and then End of Electrification - Kevin EuDaly
  Photo Demolition Misfires — Hundreds of Giles County, Virginia, residents flocked to the old Virginian Power Plant building at Narrows Thursday to watch these twin 310-foot stacks come tumbling down along with the building. The demolition began as scheduled when some 300 pounds of dynamite exploded — but nothing fell down but the rear end of the structure. Mark Loizeaux, an employee of Controlled Demolition, Inc., of Baltimore, Maryland, said another attempt will be made to bring the 46-year-old structure down sometime today, using a more powerful gelatin-type explosive. The crowd was disappointed when the attempted demolition fizzled, and sounded off with a loud chorus of lusty boos. (June 25, 1970, Bluefield Daily Telegraph)
  Photo Weak, but Standing — The Former Virginian Power Plant at Narrows is gutted but the 310-foot smokestacks still stand after a series of controlled explosions containing about 650 pounds of dynamite ripped through the 36-year-old structure Thursday afternoon. Another shot is planned for sometime this week to bring the sturdy structure to the ground. (June 25, 1970, Bluefield Daily Telegraph)
  Photo Power Plant Blasted — Demolition experts Wednesday made a second attempt to topple twin 310-foot stacks and a building of the old Virginian Power Plant and were successful. The stacks are seen beginning to fall at left and a crowd of onlookers gathered in the picture below after the stacks collapsed. Officials with Controlled Demolition, Inc., of Baltimore, Maryland, attempted to demolish the building June 25 using some 300 pounds of dynamite, but nothing fell except the rear end of the structure. A more powerful gelatin-type explosive was used Wednesday, with the results shown here. The structure had been standing for 46 years. (July 1, 1970, Princeton Times)
  Photo The Walls Come Tumbling Down — A second attempt to bring down the old Virginian Power Plant at Narrows, Virginia, was successful Wednesday as demolition experts used a powerful gelatin-type explosive. The first attempt to topple the twin 310-foot stacks and building was made on June 25 at which time Controlled Demolition, Inc., of Baltimore, Maryland, used some 300 pounds of dynamite. Then only the rear end of the building came down. (July 2, 1970, Bluefield Sunset News Observer)
Implementing the Norfolk & Western Vision, Part 1 - Alex Schust
  Letter The Roanoke Times ran a special feature section on the N&W’s newly completed Ohio Extension on December 26, 1892. Included in the advertisements was this one from the Pocahontas Coal Company. The bottom half of the full page ad included testimonials from multiple companies who used Pocahontas Coal. Note the bottom line of the advertisement which states that as of February 1 [1893] the Pocahontas Coal Company would “…also be in the market to handle the celebrated Pocahontas coke.” At the time Hull Coal & Coke Company was the sole agent for Pocahontas Coke as noted on page 22.
  Letter The permissive Article No. 8 in the Coal Producers Contract resulted in the coal operators seeking another agency to sell their coke production. In May 1889 the 13 coal producers in the Pocahontas Coalfield met in Roanoke to discuss joining the Hull Coke Company pool to which eight of the operators already belonged. Twelve of the 13 coal operators decided to join the Hull Coke Company pool which operated out of Louisville, Kentucky. The Crozer Coal & Coke Company and Houston Coal & Coke Company reserved the right to supply their coke to their own iron and steel furnaces operating in Roanoke, Virginia. Turkey Gap Coal & Coke Company did not join the Hull Coke Company pool. In 1896 Hull Coal & Coke Company advertised itself as the sole agent for Pocahontas Coke. The Hull Coal & Coke advertisement to the left is from the December 26, 1892, edition of The Roanoke Times special edition on the N&W’s Ohio Extension.
  Letter The N&W published a monthly car distribution list for the Pocahontas Coalfield based on coke ovens built and allocated. Company No. 29 – Pocahontas Collieries Company, successor to the Southwest Virginia Improvement Company, always opposed any change in the car distribution scheme because it had the greatest allotment of cars. In 1907 there were 12,242 coke ovens built in the Pocahontas Coalfield. Powhatan Coal & Coke Company showed in its filing with the ICC that only about 6,370 coke ovens were required to produce the amount of coke being produced in the Pocahontas Coalfield. (Eastern Regional Coal Archives)
Norfolk & Western Beyond the Appalachians / The Pittsburgh Division - Ed Painter
  Photo Canton, Ohio, was and still is a city with significant heavy industry. The Timken Company, Ashland Oil, and Republic Steel were and are among the largest. In 1975 the city and its industries were foremost served by Penn Central’s Fort Wayne mainline and secondarily by the N&W and B&O. N&W’s line to Canton came in from Brewster (to Canton’s southwest) and extended north going all the way to Cleveland. Following the lease of the Wheeling & Lake Erie by the Nickel Plate in 1949 there was little through traffic between Canton and Cleveland due to routing former W&LE traffic over the Nickel Plate to and from Cleveland and trackage rights over NYC/PC from Wellington, Ohio, through Berea to Campbell Yard. To handle Canton’s business the N&W ran locals between Canton and Brewster. In this shot during August 1975 a train coming from Brewster is led by GP7 2425 (an ex-NKP unit) with an ex-NKP GP9 and another ex-NKP GP7 trailing. The train is bringing two ex-NKP SW8s to Canton from Brewster to handle switching around Canton for the following week. Another ex-NKP GP7 can also be seen in the yard. The train is entering N&W’s Gambrinus Yard surrounded by facilities of the Timken Company, Ashland Oil, and the large Luntz Scrapyard in the far rear left. (Ed Painter)
  Photo N&W GP38AC 4159 with two trailing Western Maryland GP40s, both painted in the red, black, and white “Circus scheme,” is westbound at the west end of N&W’s Brewster Yard during the winter of 1973. The empty grain train has come from Baltimore after traveling over the Western Maryland from Baltimore to Bowest Yard in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, and from there over N&W’s Pittsburgh Division to Brewster. From Brewster the train will travel west through Bellevue and back to the grain elevators of the Midwest for reloading. (Ed Painter)
  Photo On an early October day in 1973 N&W SD40 1607 with two trailing sisters gets its hopper train up to speed heading back to N&W’s Pine Valley Yard in Dillonvale, Ohio, and the mines of the Southeastern Ohio Coalfields (the Ohio #8 District). The train is passing westbound AJ-3 that has come from N&W’s connection with the Western Maryland at Bowest Junction in Connellsville, Pennsylvania. The N&W operations on the Pittsburgh Division in the 1970s were still dependent on coal for a significant part of the Division’s revenue. Coal mining was a very significant industry in Ohio into the 1980s until the high sulfur content of its coal coupled with the demise of America’s steel industry greatly reduced demand resulting in the closure of many of its associated mining operations. There were 14 active coal load-outs in the Ohio #8 District listed in the N&W’s Coal District and Mine Operations documentation dated July 1972. On a motive power note, N&W coal and iron ore traffic on the Pittsburgh Division during the early 1970s was handled by SD40s 1600–1609 (assigned to Brewster) and the 19 former Nickel Plate SD9s that had been numbered into N&W’s 2300-series. (Ed Painter)
  Photo Having switched the steel mills at Massillon, Ohio, (obvious by all the gondolas in the train) and other local industries the Massillon local with N&W RS-36 409 leading and N&W GP9 2501 (ex-NKP) trailing is heading back to Brewster near Navarre, Ohio, during September 1973. Both Penn Central’s former Pennsylvania Railroad Ft. Wayne main line and the B&O’s CL&W Subdivision served Massillon, so the N&W was the third player. There were only six 400-series Alco RS-36s on N&W’s roster, so photographing one leading a train was a very “nice catch.” I recall that in reaching this location from Massillon I sent my 1972 Plymouth Duster airborne over a dip on the country road prior to getting the shot. After the train passed I was able to determine I had only scraped the underframe a bit and slightly bent a couple of bolts — luckily. (Ed Painter)
  Photo Railfanning in Ohio during the winter provided lots of opportunity for shooting trains in the snow (as well as darn near freezing to death while doing so). Here at Harmon, Ohio, a short westbound train with a mixture of freight ranging from the high and wide component on the flat car at the head end to coal on the rear approaches Brewster. The train is being led by N&W GP35 1328 — the last GP35 in the 1300 series. Trailing the 1328 are an ex-Nickel Plate GP9 and an N&W 600-series Geep. In the going away shot at right N&W caboose 557707 brings up the rear of the train. This is a C8-class caboose built by the Wheeling & Lake Erie in February 1949 at their Ironville (Toledo), Ohio, shops. It became a Nickel Plate caboose following the lease of the W&LE by the NKP on December 1,1949. Subsequently it became a part of N&W’s caboose roster when the W&LE lease was transferred to the N&W in 1964 as a part of N&W’s merger with the Nickel Plate. (Ed Painter)
  Photo While switching was often performed by F-M, Alco, or EMD switchers, road units were often pressed into the switching service in the early 1970s. Here on April 14, 1973, C-424 423 (ex- Wabash) works the east end of Brewster yard. In the distance can also be seen a blue H-12-44 with a former NKP red bay window caboose, also working. When no main line trains were running, switching operations were interesting to observe. (Ed Painter)
  Photo During January 1974 Western Maryland F7A 64 leads an A-B-B-B-A consist of WM F-units on AJ-3 at Justus, Ohio. The train is about to cross the diamonds at what the railroad called Harmon on the B&O’s CL&W Subdivision that in 1973 carried significant coal traffic from mines served by the B&O in southeastern Ohio to the Midwest. After crossing the B&O AJ-3 will enter the east end of N&W’s Brewster Yard, re-crew, and head west to Bellevue. Until 1975 N&W trains on the Pittsburgh Division regularly operated with Western Maryland run-through power as a result of jointly scheduled trains between the two railroads. As a part of Chessie System’s integration of the C&O, B&O, and WM in 1975 (and elimination of redundant trackage) the western end of the WM from Cumberland, Maryland, to Connellsville, Pennsylvania, was abandoned and a new connection between the N&W and B&O was built on the other side of the Youghiogheny River in Connellsville. At this time Chessie System began taking traffic that had formerly gone west over the N&W and routing it west (and east) over the B&O. With this came reduced merchandise freight volume on the Pittsburgh Division and far less WM power on trains. WM power was so common that on trips to Brewster I was able to get roster shots of at least two-thirds of WM’s entire diesel roster. (Ed Painter)
  Photo With a wave from the cab by a crew member, N&W GP7 2443 (ex-Nickel Plate) leads a westbound “Alpha- Jet” across the Tuscarawas River just east of Zoar, Ohio, on February 24, 1973. Trailing N&W 2443 is U25B 8147 (ex-Wabash) and another ex-NKP GP7. (Ed Painter)
  Photo Eastbound N&W C30-7 8022 crosses the Portage River at Oak Harbor, Ohio, in December 1984. Now fixed in position, the bridge once was a swing bridge allowing commercial navigation of the river. For many years going back into the early 1800s the river that enters Lake Erie at Port Clinton was a primary means of shipping lumber and other products from the adjacent area of Northwest Ohio to markets across the Great Lakes. With all three units painted in the black N&W scheme, the 8022 leads SD40-2 1631 and GP40 1346 across the bridge on a typical cloudy, drab, and cold Ohio winter day. (Ed Painter)
  Photo At Harmon, Ohio, on a cold January day in 1977, a hopper train led by N&W SD40-2 6085 gets underway with a cloud of smoke anticipating a clear signal indication at Harmon heading back to the mines of the Southeastern Ohio coalfields. N&W 6085 is meeting a westbound “Alpha-Jet” led by N&W GP35 1302 (ex-Wabash). The unit trailing 1302 is former Nickel Plate GP35 2910. It was the only GP35 owned by the NKP because it was received in 1964 as a replacement for wrecked NKP GP9 567 that was destroyed in a wreck on the NKP prior to the merger in 1963. Trailing N&W 6085 is an N&W 700-series GP9 followed by a blue B&O GP40, and a Chessie System GP40-2. With the Western Maryland having been abandoned for a year at this point in 1977, a significantly lesser volume of traffic was being run through and interchanged at Connellsville, Pennsylvania, between the N&W and Chessie’s former B&O. As such it had become far less common the see WM/B&O/Chessie power on the N&W, yet as this shot shows, it still occurred. In this case the B&O/Chessie power is likely being used to balance horsepower hours and because it’s on a hopper train the consist won’t be running through to the east with this train. (Ed Painter)
  Photo Changing crews at Brewster during August 1974, N&W C-424 422 (ex-Wabash) and its eastbound train are stopped adjacent the former W&LE general office building that the N&W utilized as the Pittsburgh Division’s headquarters as well as the location of the Division’s dispatching center. Trailing 422 in the locomotive consist is an N&W GP9, an N&W GP30, and another N&W GP9. Alcos weren’t the most popular units with train crews but it was always a treat to catch one leading. (Ed Painter)
  Photo On an early August morning during 1978 just west of Minerva, Ohio, N&W GP7 2404 (ex-NKP) leads the weekday local with three boxcars and an ex-W&LENKP caboose. The train is heading from Canton to Carrollton, Ohio, on the Carrollton Branch. At one point the branch had significant business that included coal mining, but by 1978 only low volume local business remained. This section of the railroad was originally built as the narrow gauge Canton-Minerva-Oneida Railroad, a part of the Ohio & Toledo Railroad. (Ed Painter)
  Photo The Ohio River valley from Wheeling to Steubenville was populated with steel mills, coal fired power plants, and other heavy industrial facilities, many of which were served by N&W’s Pittsburgh Division. Here on September 9, 1972, at Yorkville, Ohio, less than 10 miles west of Wheeling along the Ohio River, N&W SD9s 2343 and 2348 (both ex-Nickel Plate) handle a train with a single 86-foot TOFC loaded with two empty flatbed trailers, and a long string of gondolas that were heavily used to support the steel industry’s needs. A scale house and former W&LE-NKP caboose are visible to the right of the train. (Ed Painter)
  Photo N&W GP9 2528 (ex- Nickel Plate) leads a westbound AJ into Brewster yard on a unusually sunny but very cold January day during 1975. Behind the 2528 are five additional four-axle units including an N&W RS-11, GP35 2910 (ex-NKP), and three Geeps. Days like this were so nice to railfan on compared to the usual drab, cloudy weather that was the norm from the fall to early spring in Ohio. It was often so cold you had to keep your 35mm camera under your coat except when shooting or the batteries would freeze, rendering the camera inoperable. (Ed Painter)
  Photo Oak Harbor, Ohio, is located in northwestern Ohio in the flat plains adjacent to Lake Erie where the railroad nears Toledo. As seen in this photograph it is an area of farming and agriculture, but from a photographic perspective it’s pretty bland. This was the Pittsburgh Division in northwestern Ohio. The train is being led by N&W GP30 548, which is trailed by UP “snoot” (extended low-nose) SD40-2 3407, and N&W 508, a former passenger GP9. The train is crossing the flatland at track speed on a cold but clear day in November 1984. (Ed Painter)
  Photo Western Maryland F7A 64 leads an “Alpha- Jet” around the curve at Harmon, Ohio, on September 1, 1973. Trailing is an N&W RS-11, an ex-NKP GP9, and C-420 2578 (a former NKP unit), the NKP’s only C-420. Like the NKP’s only GP35 that had been purchased as a wreck replacement, 2578 was purchased in 1964 to replace a wrecked RS-11. During this era locomotive consists on N&W trains could be combinations of many different models and manufacturers. One never knew what to expect. (Ed Painter)
  Photo A locomotive consist is headed to Brewster’s locomotive service area during September 1972. The consist has cut off from its train and is led by Western Maryland F7A 53, painted in WM’s colorful “Circus” scheme, along with an N&W 200-series GP35 and 500-series GP30. (Ed Painter)
  Photo The Akron Canton & Youngstown was a small railroad but was very healthy throughout its history. It had plenty of business serving the rubber industry around Akron, and rock quarries, agriculture, and other industries along its Northern Ohio right-of-way. The AC&Y had depended on Fairbanks-Morse locomotives to power its operations with the exception of second hand Alco S-2s and a single Alco RS-1. Following the takeover by the N&W in 1964, the FM’s left the property over time, and were primarily replaced by ex-NKP GP7s and GP9s. Eventually, as this photograph taken at AC&Y’s Brittain Yard in Akron during September 1975 shows, original N&W GP9s also ended up on the property. AC&Y cabooses like the one seen here retained their AC&Y markings up until the end of their use, despite being assigned N&W numbers and classes. AC&Y caboose 66 is one of two former Reading Railroad northeastern design cabooses acquired by the AC&Y prior to the 1964 merger. (Ed Painter)
  Photo On April 14, 1973, at the east end of Brewster yard, Alco C-424 423 (ex-Wabash) prepares to put an ex-Nickel Plate bay window caboose on the rear of an eastbound train that has been assembled in the yard. The caboose, 557551, is painted in the Pevler Blue scheme and is the first of 50 N&W class C7 cabooses built for the Nickel Plate in 1962 by International Railway Car. (Ed Painter)
  Photo N&W GP7 2418 (ex-NKP) leads a second ex-NKP GP7, a single Centerflow covered hopper, and a former W&LE-NKP caboose through Massillon, Ohio, in June 1974. The local is on trackage that was the original W&LE mainline. The main line was relocated to the south, bypassing Massillon in 1905. The new cutoff avoided grades and multiple crossings of the Tuscarawas River and shortened the W&LE’s main line by 6.6 miles. It also provided for the creation of Brewster, which became the most significant yard on the W&LE and was also the location of the railroads’ primary locomotive shops and headquarters. Also in the photograph, the trackage to the right of the local is the Fort Wayne main line of Pennsylvania Railroad/Penn Central, and the trackage on the left is the CL&W (Cleveland, Lorain, & Wheeling) Subdivision of the B&O Railroad. (Ed Painter)
  Photo During the early 1970s former NKP Fairbanks-Morse H-12-44s were commonly used for switching duties at Brewster and at other locations on the Pittsburgh Division. They had that distinct F-M sound and a blue colored smoke produced by their opposed piston engines like all F-M models. In this view from October 17, 1972, N&W 2140 switches near the east end of Brewster yard adjacent to the main line scale track, working against former NKP C5P caboose 557509 and a cut of 40- and 50-foot standard box cars. F-Ms 2140 and 2141 had a unique paint scheme for ex-NKP H-12-44s due to the locomotives being black, not blue, and the “Norfolk and Western” on the side of the hood being stacked vertical rather than horizontal. The N&W received 22 FM H-12-44s via merger from the NKP and another three from the Wabash. (Ed Painter)
  Photo On a warm April day in 1973 the daily AC&Y local is tied down for the crews’ lunch break at Copley, Ohio, 10 miles west of Akron. N&W GP9 2469 (ex-NKP) is the local’s power on this particular day. The Northern Ohio Railway, prior to its takeover by the AC&Y, built the classic railroad station in the photograph in 1920. The Ohio Northern stretched 161 miles west from Akron to Delphos, Ohio, and through a connection with the Detroit Toledo & Ironton provided an ideal route for shipping tires built in Akron to Detroit for its auto manufacturing industry. Note the former N&W hoppers in rock service. (Ed Painter)
  Photo N&W F-M H-12-44 2152 switches against a NKP boxcar at the west end of Brewster Yard in November 1973. In the distance the short hood of a 500-series GP30 sits at the head-end of a train awaiting a westbound departure. (Ed Painter)
  Photo Sometimes due to the large number of Western Maryland locomotives running through Brewster it almost looked like a WM facility. At the east end of Brewster yard on a warm, rainy June 3, 1973, two trains with WM units in the lead prepare for eastbound departures. The train on the left is led by WM GP40 3795 with two WM F7Bs, a WM F7A, and an N&W GP9. On the right WM GP40 3799 with two WM F7s trailing also waits to depart. (Ed Painter)
  Photo A final shot at Harmon, Ohio, this one on November 11, 1972. There weren’t many easily accessible locations to shoot trains to the east of Brewster. It was impossible to chase a train east due to the torturous route the highways took that didn’t kept near the railroad for many miles. Justus and Harmon were the best, accessible locations. In this shot N&W GP30 538 with a clean coat of Pevler Blue leads an “Alpha-Jet” east with an A-B-BA set of Western Maryland F7s trailing. (Ed Painter)
  Photo N&W SD45 1755 with a trailing Southern SD35 lead an eastbound hopper train past the Mad River Railroad Museum in downtown Bellevue, Ohio, during October 1984. Bellevue became a central hub with major yard operations for the N&W following the 1964 merger. The Sandusky line that the N&W bought from the Pennsylvania Railroad at the time of the merger connected the original N&W at Columbus, Ohio, to the Nickel Plate here at Bellevue. It entered from the south, and went beyond Bellevue to the port of Sandusky on Lake Erie only a few miles to the north. The Nickel Plate Buffalo main line of the Lake Division also went east-west through town. (Ed Painter)
  Photo Valley Junction, Ohio, is located approximately 15 miles east of Brewster on the Pittsburgh Division main line where once both Pennsy and B&O branch lines crossed and interchanged with the N&W and its predecessors. On a warm, sunny, fall day in 1973 N&W GP40 1367 rolls through Valley Junction at track speed with an “Alpha-Jet” having a nice cut of TOFC immediately behind the locomotives. Trailing 1367 is a former NKP GP9 and a former Wabash U25B. (Ed Painter)
  Photo The N&W owned a total of 17 Alco C-425 locomotives. The first seven, 1000–1006, came from an order placed with Alco by the Wabash prior to the 1964 merger but were received after the merger by the N&W in N&W paint. These units had low short hoods, single cab controls, and were not equipped with dynamic brakes. The last 10 C-425’s on N&W’s roster, 1007–1016, were equipped with standard N&W options with dual cab controls, high short hoods, and dynamic brakes. Here at Justus, Ohio, on a cold January day in 1973, N&W 1003 slams over the diamonds crossing the B&O’s CL&W Subdivision. Trailing 1003 are two N&W GP30s. Behind the locomotives is a long string of TOFC followed by two loads of heavy equipment on flatcars. Alcos leading trains were not an everyday experience. (Ed Painter)
Vol. 31, No. 1 January / March 2015  Issue Select