[N&W] Re: [steamloco] 4-8-0

nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu May 6 22:09:09 EDT 2004

[Ron Davis wrote:]
 >I'd wager it would cost in excess of $1,000,000 to bring one of these M's
 >back to running condition. If it was easy, there are at least two or three
 >organizations in Roanoke alone that would have taken some action by now.

The scrapyard owner did approach the VMT last year regarding this equipment,
two Class M, the class W, two Chesapeake Western Baldwin, a former auxiliary
tank that was converted to diesel fuel.  The Museum came to the Roanoke
Chapter to see if we would like to be involved in this project, mainly
because they simply do not have the money.

The scrapyard owner (at least 80 years old, deaf as a rock) In his oh so
generous fashion offered to sell the equipment, no piecemeal, everything or
nothing for the price of $70 per ton.  This totaled out to be about $250,000
just to purchase, as is the lot.  Did not include any movement or trackwork
to get them out.  Since the switch to the track they are on was removed about
15 years back, it will require NS cooperation (unlikely) to either install a
switch or crane the stuff out, probably about another $100,000 in cost.  The
equipment did not even roll the last time it was moved in the early 80s after
a water main broke under the track.

I believe the actual price of scrap is going for about $20 per ton.   The
asbestos is mostly not the problem now, as most has fallen off and
disappeared over the years after the jackets rotten and fell off.

There are a number of problems with the equipment, aside from the outrageous
cost.  Many, many parts are missing, including the tenders on the
locomotives, rods etc.etc.  The biggest problem is the owner, he has agreed
to sell them before, then backed out of the deal several times.  The Roanoke
Chapter decided not to participate (as did VMT) at the present time.

I went to the scrapyard about three years back as a representative for
Spencer Shops (since I was local, and we have worked together on a variety of
projects) after the owner agreed to sell one of the driving wheels piled up
near Jefferson Street. Spencer wanted one for a shop display.  The sale price
was only $750! They called me to go inspect and pick out the best for
display.  I questioned the fact that he had agreed to sell and told them of
past problems.  I did go and inspect the drivers (and exactly what they are
from, I am still not sure since many are geared and none had tires) with a
long time employee of the yard.  Determining that most any from the top of
the pile (I would guess 30-40) would be fine, I reported back to Spencer and
said go ahead and arrange the deal, I would be glad to assist.

Several months later, I get a call back from Spencer, saying that I was right
about the old man, he was crazy and had reneged on the deal.  I was not
surprised in the least!

The cost of restoring to service one of these locomotives, to my experince
would easily exceed the original cost of the 611 restoration at (more or
less) 2.5 million since so much is missing.  In addition, people have to
remember, that when these locos were retired, N&W was still all steam, and
anything that had any servicable miles left in it was probably used to the

Ken Miller


There is a website giving full details of these locomotives:-


Best Wishes

Brendan Kerrigan

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