Oldest steam locomotive in Virginia

nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Wed Jan 4 14:38:30 EST 2006


There is a good story of the Church Hill Tunnel collapse ( including many prior problems with the tunnel) in Katie Lyle's book Scalded To Death By The Steam. The tunnel had been out of service since 1901 and was being refurbished and returned to service to accommodate growing traffic.

The trainmen and fireman escaped, although the fireman died later that night from injuries. Many of the workers scrambled to safety. Engineer Mason's body was retrieved. Because of more slides further efforts were halted. Workers said that a new construction gang was hired and put to work before their names were recorded, and it was said that more black laborers had entered the tunnel that morning looking for work. Estimates go as high as 25 people who could possibly be buried, along with the engine and 10 flat cars that entered the tunnel that day.

BY THE WAY, Mrs. Lyle's information states that the 4-4-0 No. 231 was a 1903 product of Baldwin, meaning that it is not the oldest steam engine in Virginia.

Jeff Sanders
----- Original Message -----
From: nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
To: nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Sent: Wednesday, January 04, 2006 10:07 AM
Subject: Re: Oldest steam locomotive in Virginia

There's a picture of the 231 in Staufer, Shuster and Huddleston's
book, C&O Power p. 210. There appears to be an error in the caption-
"Classed A-5, it was scrapped in 1925". The data I read about the
collapse was from an article in the RL&HS Bulletin. Seems 10 or
so employees were also killed. Does anyone recall if they're still in the
tunnel ? On Church Hill, you can see craters created when the blue
marl failed to support the bore.
Harry Bundy


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