Who was B.E. Lewis, N&W MP Historian?

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Sat Apr 14 14:38:01 EDT 2007

One of the things that somehow crept into my collection over the years is a 22-page typescript of a document titled "Norfolk & Western Steam Locomotives 1872-1942," by B.E. Lewis. The document consists of a title page, a two page introduction, a two page table of contents, and 17 pages of of text.

Who was B.E. Lewis?

In his Introduction, Lewis credits the following sources: J. L. Louie Pitzer, Boiler Inspector at Roanoke Shops. The Persinger series of articles appearing in the 1931 N&W Magazine. Records of the Boiler Inspections at Roanoke Shops. Description & Classification of N&W Locomotives published by the Supt. of Motive Power in 1895, 1912 and 1942.

Lewis begins his work with the Class O odd locomotives, then moves through the Class K 4-4-0s, Class C 4-6-0s, Class M 4-4-0, Class H 4-6-0, Class B 0-4-0,, Class I 2-8-0, Class R 0-6-0, Class L 4-6-0, Class F 2-8-0, Class N 4-4-0, Class P 0-6-0, Class G 2-8-0, Class S 0-6-0, Class D 4-6-0, Class U 4-6-0, Class T 2-8-0, Class B 2-8-0, Class W 2-8-0, Class W-6 0-8-0T, Class V 4-6-0, Class A 4-6-0, Class J 4-4-2, Class E 4-6-2, Class M 4-8-0, "Class Shay," Class X-1 0-8-8-0, Class Y-1 2-8-8-2, and Class Z 2-6-6-2.

Lewis makes passing mention, near the end of the paper, of "the modern Class Y6 and Y6a in service today." Since all of the Y6a's were built in 1942, and the Y6b's are not mentioned, I think Lewis compiled his paper in the mid-1940s.

Unfortunately Lewis seems to be working only from the sources stated, and does not even mention where the engines were assigned or other items of local color.

When time permits, I'll scan Lewis' paper and put it into a .PDF document and offer it to anyone on the List who wants a copy. (Alas, it may have to be broken into several PDF documents, given the constraints most Internet Service Providers put on e-mail attachments... So perhaps someone with a website could host the document????)

Has anyone seen Lewis's paper before? Does anyone know who he was?

-- abram burnett

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