[N&W] Re: Y6A 2156

nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu May 6 21:59:53 EDT 2004

I don't seriously doubt what i heard about Norfolk Southern's proposed
contract (if there was one) which would have never returned the 2156 to
St. Louis. Almost the exact same thing has happened to sole surviving
A-class 2-6-6-4 1218, which is one of my favorite locomotives still in
existence, at least for now. The 1218 along with 1202 and 1230 were sold
for scrap to Union Carbide in Charleston, WV, in either 1959 or 1960,
there they served as stationary emergency boilers for about 4 years.
Carbide was going to scrap the tenders. Had it not been for F. Nelson
Blount who was the founder of steamtown and was interested in preserving
the A's, the tenders probably would have been. From sources I have read,
the engine in best condition was selected (1218) and parts missing from
it were cannibalized from the other two. It was displayed at Steamtown
USA (now Steamtown NPS) until 1967 when the N&W decided to lease it for
display at the VMT in Roanoke. On its way to VA, Blount was killed in an
airplane accident and she remained in Birminghamton, NY for a couple of
years. IN 1970 it arrived and remained there until 1985. Robert B.
Claytor, CEO of NS was interested in seeing 1218 returned to service
alongside the 611. Basically, NS let Steamtown "know" that it would never
let 1218 back to Scranton over their rails. Unfortunately in my opinion,
Steamtown did not fight this and accepted the extremely low and
unreasonable swap of title of the 1218 for a NKP GP-9 and a Wabash
switcher. The rest concerning the steam program is history. 1218 operated
until 1991 when it was to have its 5 year inspection, unfortunately this
was never completed and it remained dissassembled in Birmingham for about
a year. It was moved to Roanoke in January 1996 and has remained locked
up in the East End Shops in reportedly sad condition. Anyway, even though
NS imposed a 40 mph speed restriction after 611's accident in Dismal
Swamp in '86, i don't really see the 2156 being a reasonable candidate
for excursion service because of its small drivers and limited speed
capabilites. However, its shorter boiler would have let it visit many
places not possible for 611 or 1218. As it stands now, there is NO hope
at all for mainline steam or anything bigger than a 2-8-2 operating in
the Southeastern United States, due to large consolidations like Conrail
to CSX and NS respectively. It would be nice to know what might have
been, but we'll just have to leave our imaginations to that.

On Sat, 01 Jan 2000 23:05:58 -0500 N&W Mailing List
<mailing-list at nwhs.org> writes:
 > [Andre Jackson replies:]
 > Hi Ben: At the risk of stepping into WWIII in the New Millennium,
 > I'll offer
 > my IMHO thoughts as a St. Louisan.
 > At the time of the steam-2-diesel transition, the National Museum of
 > Transport in St. Louis had already been in existence for a number of
 > years.
 > The stated goal of the museum's founder was to build a nationally
 > representative transportation collection. Since his day job was as a
 > surgeon
 > for Missouri Pacific (which once had a large hospital in St. Louis
 > of the
 > same name), he had wonderful access to RR bigwigs of the day. That
 > explains
 > how an SP Daylight 4-8-4, an ATSF 2-10-4, a Big Boy, a CRI&P
 > Aerotrain, the
 > much-discussed DL&W camelback and a CNR light Pacific all ended up
 > here --
 > that's in addition to the Y6. The museum had a place to house all
 > this stuff
 > as the railroads were busy jettisoning it. I'm unsure when the VMT
 > was
 > founded, which, I agree, would have been a neat home for the Mallet.
 > When I discussed the camelback a few years back with the then-museum
 > director, he mentioned the collection's national scope and how, if
 > they
 > hadn't been around 40-plus years ago, much of the iron, though not
 > necessarily the Y6, would likely have gone to scrap. Their attitude
 > is they
 > now own the stuff and have maintained it (more or less) through the
 > years,
 > although the director didn't seem absolutely averse to loaning
 > equipment
 > back to qualified group with adequate backing and experience to
 > accomplish
 > equipment moves. What I gathered they resented were railfan groups
 > making
 > demands for return and claims of ownership and not leaving much room
 > for
 > reasonable negotiation. I'll admit there are some strong personality
 > quirks
 > and conflicts among our fraternity and larger goals often disappear
 > amidst
 > squabbling.
 > I'd doubt the museum would demand a million bucks ranson; a 50-year
 > volunteer there told me once about the Y6 that the contract NS
 > presented
 > them would, in their opinion, basically have allowed the RR to never
 > return
 > the engine. They wouldn't go for that, he said.
 >  I say all this realizing this whole discussion's been a sore point
 > threatening Midwest-Mid-Atlantic relations for years :), so I hope
 > no one
 > takes offense. Both sides do raise valid points. And there is that
 > Y3 in
 > Chicagoland that's also a long way from home. She appears in worse
 > shape
 > than the Y6a (not necessarily the fault of IRM, which acquired the
 > 2050 from
 > a steel plant, I believe).
 > And there is the issue of the pair of Y6's that survived at a
 > Roanoke
 > scrapyard into the 1970s, I believe. I'd have loved to have seen at
 > least
 > one of them saved, but I gather the scrapper wouldn't part with
 > them. Even
 > if NS had to pay an exorbitant price for them, that might have been
 > cheaper
 > than hauling the Y6 1000 miles east from St. Louis.
 > Just my $.02.
 > Ducking as I write this...
 > Andre Jackson

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