Engine Failure on # 45

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Tue Dec 12 23:40:54 EST 2006

Actually, Lois, that caption was written by an outsider who had no idea what was actually going on. The 611 arrived Bristol on #41, the westbound Pelican. The F3 arrived Bristol on the Southern local passenger train from Knoxville, #4. The hostlers have coupled them together to take them to the roundhouse at the same time.

This was apt to happen several times a day. The roundhouse was more than a mile from the depot, and the hostlers would handle engines back and forth at their convenience. A friend and I rode the cab of the 604 from the station to the roundhouse one night, pulled by a Southern Geep that was finished with a yard trick and was going that way.

An outsider passing through, or who was just viewing photos made at Bristol, might draw some erroneous conclusions if left to his own fertile imagination, as the authors of that book were, more than once. Another photo shows K1 104 leaving Abingdon at the head end of a "healthy time freight" (if I recall it correctly). Actually, the 104 was leaving Abingdon at the head end of #71, the Radford Local Freight.

Ed King
----- Original Message -----
From: NW Mailing List
To: nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Sent: Tuesday, December 12, 2006 9:51 PM
Subject: Re: Engine Failure on # 45

I might note on a picture in the book Norfolk and Western Steam (The Last 25 Years) It is captioned that the 611 is at Bristol, Va. in 1956 to tend to a Southern F3 "that fell down on the job" I for a long time was not sure what that meant, but I think I know now. The picture shows 611 looking proudly as she heads up the diesel.

Lois J. Ponton

611 Historian

From: NW Modeling List <nw-modeling-list at nwhs.org>

Reply-To: NW Modeling List <nw-modeling-list at nwhs.org>

To: NW Modeling List <nw-modeling-list at nwhs.org>

Subject: Re: Engine Failure on # 45

Date: Sun, 10 Dec 2006 18:56:01 -0500

Seems that before the "red birds" began operating in and out of Bristol, The

Tennessean had an engine failure near Wytheville. Radford Division's Chief

Dispatcher opted to appropriate the GP-9 assigned to the Pulaski District

local to assist No. 45 to Bristol. M/U'ing the Geep to Southern's "F" unit turned

out to be quite a problem. Every time the engineer depressed the independent

brake on the GP-9, the Southern unit would sand, but they made it to Bristol

. . . . . so the story goes.

Harry Bundy


My guess is the Southern did not furnish the best of their passenger fleet for the N&W trains. A friend's father was engineer on these trains. He used to praise the diesels from the Southern. He said it was just like sitting in your living room and you could even wear your Sunday suit on these runs. Then one day he came off his run covered from head to toe with oil. That ended his good words for those units.

One day in late fall of 1960 I was driving past the Roanoke Passenger station. Number 45 was in and should have departed about an hour before. There were three or 4 trucks from Shaffers that had brought mechanics to work on the lead unit. Never did hear what was wrong but they gave up on their efforts and called for a N&W diesel for the run.

The strange thing is they sent RS11 352 for the job on the head end. I got several photos of the train leaving. I wish that it was recorded as the sound was almost as good as steam. That was the only time I have seen a RS 11 accelerate that fast and the sanding the rail as he left. As I recall the rear Southern unit was on line with the 352 leaving town.

I suspect there were other failures as well.

Jim Blackstock


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