Arrow Cover - Front, Back & in between

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Mon Apr 6 07:58:00 EDT 2020


I’ll address the first question with my speculation on the headlight trim and classification lamps. 

I examined the cover scan closely, and they are still there, and appeared to not be painted black. The 611, yes, the headlight trim was painted black, I believe in August of 1959, when the 611 was being spruced up to power the Appalachian Power special to Norfolk. She had been stored since early January, she was dusty and dirty, someone at Shaffers Crossing decided to repaint the nose and simply did not bother to mask off the trim ring. While all those parts were originally chromed, I suspect based on seeing several original builder’s plates, class plates and classification lamps in recent years, the chrome did not age well through the washing solution that the locomotives ran through multiple times over the years. 

Other parts were chromed on the Js, such as throttle, gauge rings, etc. One item I have in my collection is top of crown plate:

These were also chromed on streamline steam. Since these were inside the cab, they were protected more from the rigors of washing, and the chrome on mine is very intact, however the plating is so thick, and the numbers were faintly stamped, it is difficult to discern exactly which J it came from, but it is either 602 or 608. 

On the classification lamps, they too were a maintenance issue, looking at the drawing in our archives:

It states that they are cast aluminum polished finish. The first Js were chromed, but later ones were not, as this design was done for the J1 in 1943. By the end, polishing was no longer an effort made.

The builders plates were moved to a location under the running board, apparently on all the Js, as originally built, the first two orders carried the plates on side of the jacket, at some point, and I’d like to find a drawing or memo stating when the decision was made to relocate them under the board, but as of yet, nothing seems to have surfaced.

After the decision to equip the Js for freight service, maintenance dropped, and I don’t believe any J was repainted (short of partial repaint on the 611) after that point.

On the classification plate missing, I suspect you can thank a souvenir hunter (possibly even an employee) for that.

On the buffers on express reefers/milk cars, I cannot address that, a search of builder’s cyclopedias may result in some answer.

On the VGN 103:

Ken Miller

> On Apr 5, 2020, at 3:27 PM, NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at> wrote:
> I was looking at the latest Arrow and a few things came to mind.
> On the front cover, I have noticed that late in the life of the J's, the bright Headlight bezel, Number board trim and Class lights appear to be black. Is there a reason for that?
> In the case of #612 on the cover, the builder's and class plates appear to be missing. I think that this has been discussed before, but, I forgot when or where.
> Regarding Buffers, I have noticed that there were express reefers/milk reefers that also were equipped with buffers similar to those shown on the CG caboose.
> On the back cover, can someone explain what looks like a centering device/buffer on the draft gear of #103?
> Jimmy Lisle
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