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Earle Baldwin

"Norfolk and Western In Color, Volume 1: 1945-1964" (Book)

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Submitted for your consideration is the book “Norfolk and Western In Color, Volume 1: 1945-1964.” It is 128 pages in length and is an all color review of the Norfolk & Western Railway during the last years of steam operation and the early diesel era. It is authored by Jim Nichols and was initially released in 1997. The list price is $49.95.

 

The Norfolk & Western Railway gained great notoriety within the hobbyist community for its enduring dedication to steam power. Long after other railroads had committed to the transition to diesel units, N&W continued to refine the concept of the steam locomotive. Having spent years developing and building its own motive power in its vast Roanoke shop complex, Norfolk & Western’s steam power had evolved to a point at which the diesel offered fewer advantages to N&W than it did to most other roads. As a result, the road continued to build Class J 4-8-4’s and Class 2-6-6-4’s until 1950, Class Y 2-8-8-2’s until 1952 and Class S 0-8-0’s until 1953. Still, Norfolk & Western Management recognized the potential long range benefits of converting to diesel and the last operating steam locomotives were dispatched from Williamson, WV in 1960. Several examples of Roanoke’s best were preserved for posterity. The 611 and 1218 are in the collection of the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke and actually operated until 1994in Norfolk Southern excursion service. Class M 4-8-0 475 is in regular service in Lancaster County, PA on the Strasburg Rail Road. The reviewer had the pleasure of riding behind each of these magnificent locomotives. Several other members of N&W’s once great steam empire remain extant as well.

 

The book is a fitting tribute to N&W steam and the people who were responsible for its operation and upkeep. It includes many images of Class A and Y articulated monsters storming the Appalachian grades. Class K and J locomotives are seen with premier passenger trains. Other types are extended satisfactory coverage as well. Early diesels are nicely represented with photographs of units included in the initial deliveries of ALCo and EMD four axle road switchers. Leased power in the form of DM&IR six motor ALCO’s as well as ACL and RP&P E8’s are shown. Perhaps the most unique locomotive on the roster was the “Jawn Henry,” a huge steam turbine-electric locomotive. It is given its own two page spread in the book. Color photographs of this locomotive are VERY rare.

 

The book meets Morning Sun’s typically high standards of photo reproduction and layout. It provides a concise look at America’s last great steam railroad. Any hobbyist with an interest in the development of the ultimate in American steam power would be fascinated by it.

 

Regards,

 

Earle

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