Steam Saturday: Sort of on Home Rails

Norfolk & Western 2-6-6-4 No. 1218 pulls on excursion train south of Bellevue on Aug.15, 1987. It is the heyday of the Norfolk Southern steam program when the 1218 and running mate N&W 611 were frequent visitors to Ohio.

The 1218 was home built by N&W in June 1943 in Roanoke, Virginia. The track is is running on was once a Pennsylvania Railroad route from Columbus to Sandusky.

The N&W acquired it in 1964 in order to have more direct access to the Nickel Plate Road, which is acquired that year along with the Wabash, and the Akron, Canton & Youngstown.

Although the Sandusky District as N&W named its Columbus-Sandusky line never hosted the 1218 in revenue service in its first career, the 1218 did polish these ex-N&W rails during its excursion career between 1987 and 1994.

Today the 1218 is on static display at the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke.

The excursion shown above was a Toledo-Columbus roundtrip. However, the 1218 only operated on the Belleveue-Columbus segment with the Toledo-Bellevue segment pulled by diesels.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

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