N&W 2156 in St. Louis

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Mon Feb 18 19:39:55 EST 2008

OK, I'll admit to keeping sent msg.'s way too long. That said, this issue rises every coupla years and threatens to restart the Civil War. Having once made the mistake of wearing a St. Louis t-shirt on an NS steam trip originating in Roanoke, I learned quickly how sensitive an issue this is. I thought half-seriously a few folks were gonna kick me off the train and refund my $$ on the spot.
That said, here's a view from the Midwest representing none but me that I penned in 2000. As usual, it's my $.02 FWIW and I realize everybody's entitled to an opinion.

Given the discussion over museum engines, thought I'd fwd. a response I
posted back in '00 when the issue of why was there a Y6a in St. Louis arose.
The basic points hold true today IMHO.

At the risk of stepping into WWIII in the New Millennium, I'll offer
my IMHO thoughts as a St. Louisan.
At the time of the steam-2-diesel transition, the National Museum of
Transport in St. Louis had already been in existence for a number of years.
The stated goal of the museum's founder was to build a nationally
representative transportation collection. Since his day job was as a surgeon
for Missouri Pacific (which once had a large hospital in St. Louis of the
same name), he had wonderful access to RR bigwigs of the day. That explains
how an SP Daylight 4-8-4, an ATSF 2-10-4, a Big Boy, a CRI&P Aerotrain, the
much-discussed DL&W camelback and a CNR light Pacific all ended up here --
that's in addition to the Y6. The museum had a place to house all this stuff
as the railroads were busy jettisoning it. I'm unsure when the VMT was
founded, which, I agree, would have been a neat home for the Mallet.
When I discussed the camelback a few years back with the then-museum
director, he mentioned the collection's national scope and how, if they
hadn't been around 40-plus years ago, much of the iron, though not
necessarily the Y6, would likely have gone to scrap. Their attitude is they
now own the stuff and have maintained it (more or less) through the years,
although the director didn't seem absolutely averse to loaning equipment
back to qualified group with adequate backing and experience to accomplish
equipment moves. What I gathered they resented were railfan groups making
demands for return and claims of ownership and not leaving much room for
reasonable negotiation. I'll admit there are some strong personality quirks
and conflicts among our fraternity and larger goals often disappear amidst
I'd doubt the museum would demand a million bucks ranson; a 50-year
volunteer there told me once about the Y6 that the contract NS presented
them would, in their opinion, basically have allowed the RR to never return
the engine. They wouldn't go for that, he said.
I say all this realizing this whole discussion's been a sore point
threatening Midwest-Mid-Atlantic relations for years :), so I hope no one
takes offense. Both sides do raise valid points. And there is that Y3 in
Chicagoland that's also a long way from home. She appears in worse shape
than the Y6a (not necessarily the fault of IRM, which acquired the 2050 from
a steel plant, I believe).
And there is the issue of the pair of Y6's that survived at a Roanoke
scrapyard into the 1970s, I believe. I'd have loved to have seen at least
one of them saved, but I gather the scrapper wouldn't part with them. Even
if NS had to pay an exorbitant price for them, that might have been cheaper
than hauling the Y6 1000 miles east from St. Louis.
Just my $.02.
Ducking as I write this...

Andre Jackson and/or Lisa Burrows
Life is short; update your anti-virus software
----- Original Message -----
From: NW Mailing List
To: NW Mailing List
Sent: Monday, February 18, 2008 10:00 AM
Subject: Re: N&W 2156 in St. Louis



NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org> wrote:
I don't know about it's mechanical condition, but it's in pretty good
shape, cosmetically. It's under cover, though there are no walls around it.

Kenneth Rickman
Salisbury, NC

NW Mailing List wrote:
> Has anybody been to see the 2156 mallet in the National Transportation
> Museum in St. Louis? I'm curious what kind of condition it is in. I'm
> thinking about making a trip out this summer.
> Mike Weeks
> Charlotte NC
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