Posts Tagged ‘N&W 1218’

Steam Saturday: Sort of on Home Rails

November 6, 2021

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

Steam Saturday: Remembering N&W 1218

September 19, 2020

Norfolk & Western Class J No. 611 may be a better known steam locomotive, but it had a running mate during the halcyon days of the Norfolk Southern steam program.

N&W 2-6-6-4 No. 1218 pulled several excursions and even teamed up with the 611 for some photo opportunities during National Railway Historical Society Conventions.

The excursion career of No. 1218 was relatively short. After moving under its own power in 1985 following restoration and then entering excursion service, the Class A steamer was removed from service at the end of the 1991 season and sent to a shop in Alabama for an overhaul.

The plan was to have the 1218 back on the road for the 1996 excursion season, but NS canceled its steam program at the end of the 1994 season.

No. 1218 was sent to Roanoke, Virginia, where it remains on static display at the Virginia Transportation Museum.

In the photo above, No. 1218 is westbound west of Bellevue on Aug. 15, 1987.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Hot Summer But Plenty of Steam to be Seen

August 5, 2020

Cotton Belt No. 819 at Wolf Lake, Illinois, on June 13, 1990.

The 1990 NRHS convention in St. Louis was steaming with 4 steam locomotives and with 90 plus degrees heat. We all probably lost a few pounds but it was worth it. A sample of some highlights.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Union Pacific No. 844 at Carpenter, Illinois, on June 14, 1990.

The Burlington’s Silver Solarium being pulled by UP 844. The car is now owned by the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

Norfolk & Western No. 1218 on display at St Louis Union Station on June 15, 1990.

Frisco No. 1522 at Cuba, Missouri, on June 16, 1990.

Frisco No. 1501 on display in Rolla, Missouri., No. 1501 and 1522 are two of the six Frisco 4-8-2’s that still exist.

Cotton Belt No. 819 at Fountain, Illinois, on June 17, 1990.

Union Pacific No. 844 and Frisco No. 1522 at Webster, Missouri, on June 18, 1990.

Silver Solarium seen in Chicago from Amtrak’s Southwest Chief on our return home.

Now I Remember

August 2, 2020

It’s amazing how the mind works. In putting stories and photos together I’ve always remembered locomotives and locations that I want to share.

So many I can remember details like they just recently happened even though they’re up to 40 year memories.

Then I come across an event and location that I completely forgot. In the top photograph is the

Norfolk &Western 611 photo from May 7, 1989, at Fremont that I shared on the blog about two  weeks ago.

Then I found a photograph of N&W 1218 photo from a year later on May 27,1990, at Fremont that was completely gone from my memory.

This was from a weekend of Bellevue-Toledo round trips. Now I remember.

Article and Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Didn’t Those Retire 30 Years Ago?

July 27, 2020

Norfolk & Western No. 1218 is westbound in Painesville station on Aug. 18, 1990.

Nickel Plate Road No. 765 is westbound at the former NKP depot in Painesville on Aug. 7, 1989. The station has since been razed.

Norfolk & Western No. 611 westbound in Painesville on June 16, 1989.

In a span of fourteen months between June 1989 to August 1990 three different steamers passed the same location. I’m sure people were saying, “I thought these things were retired 30 years ago.” Also I’m sure many people were happy to see these beauties again.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Got an ‘A’ in Photography in 1988

July 10, 2020

Norfolk & Western Class A No. 1218 was in its second year of operation in excursion service in 1988 after being restored to operating condition.

The 2-6-6-4 locomotive operated in Northeast Ohio and vicinity three times that summer and here is Ed’s A list of favorite images made while chasing the locomotive that year.

In the photograph above, the 1218 along with its train is crossing over the Rocky River in the Cleveland suburb of Rocky River on Aug. 7

In the top photograph of the series below, the 1218 is passing beneath Conrail’s Chicago Line in Vermilion on Aug. 7

In the middle image, the excursion train is crossing the Ashtabula River in Ashtabula on July 23, while the bottom image was made of the 1218 running eastbound at Bort Road outside of North East, Pennsylvania, on July 21.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

What a Time We Had in Roanoke in 1987

June 18, 2020

At Blue Ridge Parkway catching the Roanoke to Lynchburg double header. Jim Wrinn, now the editor of Trains magazine must have been standing very close to me in the photo line. His photo on page 70 of 611 In Steam from 2015 is almost a duplicate of mine. The smoke, rods and pickup truck on parallel road are just about the same position.

The 1987 National Railway Historical Society convention continued on Friday, July 31, 1987, in downtown Roanoke at the equipment display trackside in front of the Hotel Roanoke.

Saturday Aug. 1, 1987, has to rank with me as one of my favorite excursions of all time.

It featured Norfolk & Western No. 611 pulling the passenger train from Roanoke to Radford, Virginia, marching up Christiansburg grade alongside N&W 1218 with a 50-car hopper train.

We were positioned in the Central of Georgia Fort Mitchell combine baggage door and witnessed spectacular sights and sounds.

I remember commenting to Marty Surdky that I was convinced that heaven would be just like this. At Radford the train was double-headed back to Roanoke.

On Sunday, Aug. 2, 1987, there was a doubleheader from Roanoke to Lynchburg, Virginia, We set up on the Blue Ridge Parkway for the premier shot of the week.

N&W 1218 would return the train to Roanoke but at Lynchburg N&W 611 would head south on the former Southern. The long drive home had us recalling all the fun we had that week.

Article and Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

The equipment display included Best Friend of Charleston, a modern NS diesel, N&W 1218, N&W 611 and a Southern FP7.

The photo runby at Salem, Virginia, on Aug. 1, 1987.

Above and below: Side-by-side pacing near Montgomery, Virginia, on Aug. 1, 1987.

The photo runby at Vicker during the return to Roanoke from Radford.

N&W 1218 on the return trip at Forest, Virginia.

1987 Catches That Can’t Be Caught Again

June 10, 2020

I had some good catches in the summer of 1987, all of which will never happen again.

In the top photograph, I’m on the Gettysburg Railroad on July 11,1987, in Biglerville, Pennsylvania.

No. 76 is ex-Frisco, ex-Mississippian and now ex-Gettysburg. It was to the late Jerry Joe Jacobson, then sold to Steam Railroad Institute in Michigan with intended to restore it to operating condition.

Years later SRI sold No. 76 and it is now cosmetically  restored as a Baltimore & Ohio locomotive on display in Oakland, Maryland, never to run again.

Next up is Norfolk & Western 1218 on the return leg of a of Bellevue-Columbus roundtrip in Marion on Aug. 15,1987.

This scene can’t be repeated because the signal bridge is gone and AC Tower has been lowered and moved to the south side of the tracks.

Of course No. 1218 is no longer operational and sits in Roanoke, Virginia, at the Virginia Transportation Museum.

No. 1218 is also shown arriving in Bellevue on Aug. 15,1987, between a pair of Pennsylvania Railroad position light signals on the Sandusky District of Norfolk Southern.

The Sandusky District is still there but the signals are gone.

The last image shows Huntington & Broad Top No. 38 on the Kinzua Bridge in western Pennsylvania on Sept. 13,1987.

On July 21,2003 a tornado blew down 11 of the 20 bridge towers. The southern portion of the bridge has restored as a scenic state park, but trains will never again cross this bridge.

H&BT 38 is now owned by the Everett Railroad where it awaits restoration.

Article and Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

An NS Steam Program Memory

April 3, 2020

It seems all too long ago when Norfolk Southern shut down its steam program, but what memories we have of those days.

At the time that the steam program was cancelled in 1994, Norfolk & Western 2-6-6-4 No. 1218 was being rebuilt in Irondale, Alabama, with a 1996 return to revenue service being planned.

Of course that work was halted by the cancellation of the steam program and No. 1218 was sent to Roanoke, Virginia, where it is on display at the Virginia Transportation Museum.

N&W 1218 is in show above blasting through Marion on Aug. 15, 1987, during happier times.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Virginia Museum Plans To Recreate ’50s Photo

May 20, 2015

When Norfolk & Western J Class No. 611 returns to its home in Roanoke, Va., on May 31, a welcoming committee will be on hand to greet it.

No, not the hundreds, if not thousands, who will witness the 4-8-4 roll into town under its own power.

Waiting will also be two other steam locomotives built by N&W shops forces in the 1940s and 1950.

Those include Class A No. 1218 and Y6 No. 2156. The three survivors of the “Big Three of N&W steam locomotives will be posed side by side in a recreation of a image made six decades ago featuring No. 600, No. 1203 and No. 2123.

The photo opportunity will be part of the Celebrate Steam event being hosted by the Virginia Museum of Transportation on May 31.

The 611 and 1218 are owned by the museum and were mainstays of the Norfolk Southern steam program that ended in 1994. The 2156 is owned by the Museum of Transportation in St. Louis and is on a five-year loan to the Virginia museum.

The event will be held from 10 a.m., to 5 p.m. Admission will be $25 per person ($20 for museum members) with children 12 and under admitted at no charge.

Other activities include cab tours of the 611 and the chance to meet Thomas Garver, who was an assistant to photographer O. Winston Link on many of his photo shoots of steam operations along the N&W in the 1950s. Music will be provided by the Norfolk Southern Lawmen Band.

A bus tour to the Roanoke East End Shops, where the locomotives were built, and the NS Shaffer’s Crossing engine service facilities will be available for an extra charge.

Tour tickets are $10 for everyone over age 3. Younger children are free if they can sit on the laps of their parents.

You must purchase a ticket to the Celebrate Steam event in order to buy a tour ticket. The tour will leave between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and have limited seating.

For more information, go to