1. RE: Class J Service - Christmas Rush 1958 (NW Mailing List)
NW Mailing List
nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Sat Aug 31 09:39:15 EDT 2019
In reply to this thread, I found Bud's notes on J allocations for
January 1959 interesting. I can personally vouch for the 2 in
Portsmouth, Ohio. My dad took my brother, a couple of friends, and I
down there in January 31st, 1959. The two J's were 601 and 613. I
believe they were both stored, or maybe one was in standby. We had
been there in October of 58, and 613 was in steam. We watched the
RF&P diesels pull #26 by the yard that October. By Jan 1959, there
was only some switching ops with steam, including 3-4 S class
switchers, and a Y3 I believe.
Regarding use of J's after the passenger trains were dieselized, I
know of two instances a J was used after July 1958. One was an
evening run. Living in Batavia we overlooked Batavia Hill and had no
Air Conditioning in those days, so the windows were open. One late
summer night, probably late August, we heard a J blowing for the
crossing in Batavia, less than 1/4 mile from our home. It was around
8 pm, and us two boys were in bed. Dad opened the door and said "Boys
get your robes and slippers". We went west toward Cincinnati, and
wound up chasing the J eastbound a couple hours later. It was pulling
a troop train. I think we chased as far as Sardinia or Peebles that
night, getting home around Mid-night.
The other incident is fondly remember by the Scholl family and I think
I mentioned it here before. It was Thanksgiving 1958 and we were
having our afternoon dinner. Dad had a guy who worked for him and his
wife over for the holiday feast. We had a picture window looking out
over the valley. Around 2 pm we heard a J whistle. Dad said " Boys
get your coats". We 3 got up from the table and took off out the
door. Mom, and the Johnson's never let us forget how we left our
guests at the table that day. But, hey, it would be the last time the
boys saw a J in regular service in the steam era. What followed a few
hours later was another troop train which we followed until about
dark. Memories are sketchy due to my being about 7 at the time.
I also heard a rumor some trainmaster in Portsmouth decided to take
one last steam run, and made a solo trip from Portsmouth to Cincinnati
and back without a train one day in early 1959.
I cannot vouch for that one.
Some scenes of our visits to Portsmouth show up in a couple of our N&W
videos if anyone is ever interested. Freight was gone in June 1956,
so only the passenger steam kept us going until 1958 on the west end
(Batavia). Dad did get to Bluefield to get a few shots of the Oct 24,
1959 run of 611. He found out about the trip too late to get
tickets. No internet back then!!!!
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