Virginian in 1909--Engines

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Wed Apr 1 22:17:56 EDT 2009


I know the blurred microfilm is extremely difficult to transcribe at times, and not always 100% factual. The four class AA's actually weighed in at 295,600 with 279,900 on drivers.

The Clarks Gap grade is 2.07% (I've seen it published at 2.11%), while the Allegheny climb tops out at 0.6% eastbound (1.5% westbound), way below the "over 2%" mentioned in the article.

The SMP was R.P.C. Sanderson.

It's a real challenge to decipher all those newspaper articles. Thanks for all your work. It is very interesting!

Jeff Sanders
----- Original Message -----
From: NW Mailing List
To: 4VGN Ry Yahoo Group ; 3N&W Mailing List
Sent: Monday, March 30, 2009 12:05 PM
Subject: Virginian in 1909--Engines

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
June 23, 1909

Richmond Works Constructing "Pushers" for Grades of the Virginian Railway

Four heavy compound engines of a type new on the Atlantic seaboard are being rushed to completion at the Richmond works of the American Locomotive Company for use on the Virginian Railway in bringing heavy coal trains over the grades of the Alleghenies. The engines will be completed within a few weeks, and will be used as "pushers" on the Clark's Gap grade, north of Princeton, and in the heavy climb over the Alleghenies at White Horn [sic], where the grade reaches as much as ? [Microfilm blurred.] per cent. In working order it is estimated that each of the engines will have a weight of 330,000 [Microfilm blurred. Best interpretation shown.] pounds, of which 312,000 will rest on the driving wheels.
For the greater part of its route the Virginian, the recently completed road, the construction of which marked the climax of the career of Henry H. Rogers, has only the most moderate grades, enormous sums having been expended in the construction across Virginian and West Virginia from Norfolk to Deepwater, in keeping the gradients to the lowest possible average, the high standard of railroad engineering and construction calling forth the admiration of railroad men the world over.
Within the last few months the bridges have been put in place, and the line is now in operation from terminal to terminal. In the location of the road the ruling grade against the eastbound, or coal-laden traffic was placed at 2 per cent, with the exception of the climb over the Alleghenies and for a mountainous section between Princeton and Deepwater, in the heart of the coal fields, where grades in excess of the regulation 2 per cent are encountered, the excess in the approach to the Alleghenies reaching as much as ? [Microfilm blurred.] per cent.
To aid heavy trains over this divide, Superintendent of Motive Power R. F. C. Sanderson [Microfilm blurred. Best interpretation shown.] has designed a special type of engine, and is having four of them built at the Richmond works according to his specifications. The most marked departure from other locomotives of this general type is the use of a leading two-wheel truck. In locomotives built by the American works for the Baltimore and Ohio and the Erie no leading truck was used, while those built by the Baldwin Company for the Great Northern use such a truck at each end of the engine. They will be ready for delivery early in July.
[These engines were obviously VGN Class AA, No. 500--503, 2-6-6-0. It looks as though the Virginian scooped the N&W on using compound articulated locomotives who's Class X1, No. 990--994, 0-8-8-0, were built in 1910.]

Gordon Hamilton


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