The most perfect locomotive -- N&W's J -- and Its TOP Speed of 128 mph!!!

nw-mailing-list at nw-mailing-list at
Wed Sep 13 10:01:01 EDT 2006

N&W applied for an exemption to the ICC- imposed maximum speed of
79 MPH between Poe and Norfolk. It was denied. Consequently, the
speeds attained by the Class J were, of course, kept a close secret.
In a grade crossing collision in January, 1956, the Norfolk Virginian Pilot
reported the speed of 2/26 as ABOUT 79 mph. Does "about" mean
give or take 20 MPH ?

Once, I asked Charlie Cooke, the Norfolk Division Road Foreman of
Engines, what speeds the J's were making. He responded that the Virginia
highway patrol tried their new fangled radar on No. 26 along U.S. 460 east of
Waverly. "They clocked him making 80 MPH !!!" Right, Mr. Cooke.

Harry Bundy
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