3 "A"s in Stationary Boiler service in Charleston WVA.

nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Wed Sep 6 23:20:18 EDT 2006

the story is as follows...

How 1218 was Saved

In 1959,when the N&W was retiring its steam fleet,Union Carbide was looking for something to provide emergency and peak load steam for its plant in South Charleston,WV. Assistant Plant Mgr. Dale Calhoun signed the order for 3 "scrap" steam locomotives,and N&W Class A's 1202, 1218 and 1230 were delivered.Offically the purchase was for scrap because Carbide could turn "scrap" into a stationary boiler-its operators were licensed for stationary boilers and not mobile steam boilers.
Carbide had no use for the tenders, and with space at a premium they were about to have them scrapped.Employee Phil Titus learned of this and prevailed upon a friend who was an assistant manager at FMC's South Charleston plant to store themon some spare trackage at the FMC Facility.
Union Carbide quickly moved the engines to Blaine Island in the middle of the Kanawha River and set them up adjacent to their powerhouse.The 3 Locomotives were lined up with their cabs close together so that one man could tend all 3 boilers; two were placed cab to cab with the 3rd on a parallel track with its cab next to the other two. A wooden platform was built so that the operator could walk between the cabs. Gas lines were run thru holes cut into the sides of the fireboxes, and steam pipes were connected thru the smokeboxes.
As stationary power plants, The A's were used whenever one of the powerhouse boilers had to be shut down or in the middle of winter when the weather was severely cold. In this capacity, they served Carbide very well for nearly 5 yrs. In 1964, however conditions changed and Carbide no longer needed the extra steam capacity. In June 1964 they were decomissioned and removed from the plant.Along with their tenders, they were again slated for scrap. At This point I became involved ( The Author ) and began to work with Phil Titus to try to find someone who could save at least one of the A's. I contacted F. Nelson Blount of Steamtown, and he made arrangements to buy an engine along with enough parts from the others to make one locomotive complete. He authorized Phil and me to select the locomotive and tender that were in the best condition and get them ready for transportation north.
The choice came down to which one needed the least number of parts from the others. The scrapper (Raleigh Junk Co.), who was in the process of cutting the other two into haulable scrap, generously lent the assistance of one of their cranes to move parts to the survivor; the 1218. Things like an airpump, front steam yokes, rods and gauges were cannibalized from the dying engines to make the 1218 as complete as possible. At that time, no one imagined that the 1218 would ever run again. By September 1964 the 1202 and 1230 were just a memory and the 1218 was ready for a trip to Bellows Falls.

I referenced a magazine in my library for this portion of the article....

The rest of the story can be found on pg. 45 of the Sept. 1987 issue of Railfan & Railroad Magazine and was written by George Greenacre.

The rest of the article tells how the 1218 traveled from Vermont to Virginia to be displayed at the newly built Roanoke Transportation Musuem in 1967, and it also tells how while the 1218 was in route that Mr. Blount was killed in an airplane crash.....If any one would like to read the rest of this article and doesnt have this issue I would be more than pleased to pass it along here...just let me know.

until later,

nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org wrote: I wonder what two A's these were and what their ultimate fate was...

Bob Welsh

----- Original Message -----
From: nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
To: NW Mailing List
Sent: Tuesday, September 05, 2006 6:59 PM
Subject: 3 "A"s in Stationary Boiler service in Charleston WVA.

I don't need to tell you about the 1218.


Andy Jennings


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