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!!!!

Greg Scholl

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