No love for the W class?

NW Modeling List nw-modeling-list at
Mon Jan 6 10:00:44 EST 2014

Hi, Kenneth.

I agree that the W-2 class was a neat looking engine. Like some other neat N&W steamers they are in the deep shadows behind the "Big 3" and get little notice.

Unfortunately the N&W was growing and traffic increasing at a very high rate about the time they arrived to go to work. They were soon eclipsed by the much more powerful and useful M classes. The N&W found them to be a better engine for all-around use and ordered them in large quantities. Even they were soon found to be undersized and the roads development of the 2-8-8-2 was in progress. The Y's could do more work and go most everywhere on the railroad plus the advantages of standardization led to them becoming the chief workhorse. Several W-2s stayed around as switchers for quite some time and a few were rebuilt to 0-8-0Ts for switching dead engines around engine terminals.

The G class gets more press due to the last 2 engines being around for a long, long time and being use on a branch with light trestles and traffic. The traffic was important enough to keep the branch open but not enough to rebuild for heavier engines. I think the W-2s were much nicer looking engines, personally.

There is an HO scale model produced in brass by NWSL (North West Short Line). It's the only model available that I know of being commercially made.  Due to it's age it's a little dated as far as detail but they seem to all run fairly well and are generally well constructed. To improve them and update their performance a new can motor and possibly gearbox does wonders.

Enjoy the book!

Roger Huber
Deer Creek Locomotive Works

On Monday, January 6, 2014 5:57 AM, NW Modeling List <nw-modeling-list at> wrote:

My darling wife gave me a book on N&W steam locomotives for Christmas,
complete with plans and photos of most of the later classes.  In
addition to the engines I'm already familiar with, I learned about one
I'd never seen before.  W class 2-8-0.  They reminded me (forgive me, I
have a Southern Ry. background) of Southern's J or K class
Consolidations, similar in size and with virtually identical frame and
driver dimensions.

So I have to wonder, why aren't the W class engines more popular? Have
any accurate models been produced?  Were they common engines around the
railroad?  Why don't they get any more love?  Even the G class seems
more popular.

Kenneth Rickman
Salisbury, NC

One thing about trains: It doesn't matter where they're going.  What matters is deciding to get on.

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