N&W Blue

NW Modeling List nw-modeling-list at nwhs.org
Wed Mar 16 11:55:12 EDT 2011

Bill: I have to disagree with you on this one. The day Mr. Fishwick returned to Roanoke as President of the N&W he told Dick Dunlap to " Get rid of that damn Wabash Blue".  
The N&W-C&O merger plan had nothing to do with the N&W blue period. When I first worked for the N&W in the summer of 1965 N&W was receiving SD35s in Blue. I rode two brand new SD35s from Roanoke to Norfolk on #84 along with an EMD rep. The engineer was concerned that we had too much tonnage to be able to hold the train to the correct speed while decending the grade east of Huddleston on the VGN. We had no problem and the SD 35s performed very well.   Harold 
--- On Tue, 3/15/11, NW Modeling List <nw-modeling-list at nwhs.org> wrote:

From: NW Modeling List <nw-modeling-list at nwhs.org>
Subject: N&W Blue
To: nw-modeling-list at nwhs.org, nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Date: Tuesday, March 15, 2011, 6:58 PM

While we have come to identify the transition to the blue paint scheme with the period of Herman Pevler's leadership, and hence have called it "Pevler Blue", with the implicit assumption that it came from the Wabash. I believe we give him too much credit.

When the C&O-B&O sought control of the Western Maryland in 1964, the N&W opposed the move and the lead N&W person was John Fishwick, then in N&W's law department. In "discussions" with C&O over the WM proposal, Mr. Fishwick proposed an alternative, that N&W and C&O-B&O combine (N&W would have been the surviving entity). The N&W-C&O merger discussions began in early 1965 and the parties were so certain of approval that they adopted a common blue paint scheme (and numbering system), blue being the Chessie color, which first appeared on new N&W diesels later in 1965. Alas, the Penn-Central disaster scuttled any further discussion of two strong coal roads combining and merger discussions ended. The blue scheme remained until Mr. Fishwick changed it back to black in 1971 after he became CEO.

So perhaps in truth we have a "Fishwick Blue" and a "Fishwick Black". ;)

As a postscript, the Pevler years left N&W in very difficult financial straights, which Mr. Fishwick set about correcting when he became CEO.

Bill McClure

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