National Train Day 2015 and Norfolk and Western 2156’s move to Roanoke


 

This year’s National Train Day had a pleasant occurrence.  I spent most of the day at the Kirkwood Missouri Pacific train station in Kirkwood, MO, which now serves Amtrak’s Missouri River Runner.  There were several displays set up inside the station, but most everyone was on the train platform to catch some action on Union Pacific’s Jefferson City Subdivision, in the form of a CSX autorack, a UP train, and Amtrak.  The main attraction to the station today, though, was a local freight towing a steam legend: Norfolk and Western 2156.  Two UP diesels were on the point, with a Norfolk Southern unit tucked in behind.  The train included a few NS coaches, a baggage car, and, of course, N&W 2156.  This was just the beginning of her journey, which started at the National Museum of Transportation, and will end at the Virginia Transportation Museum in Roanoke.  This is a homecoming for the mammoth 2-8-8-2 Y6a, because she was build in the Roanoke Shops of the Norfolk & Western for use on the railroad’s coal routes.  At Roanoke, she will be reunited with her cousin, N&W 2-6-6-4 1218, as well as N&W Class J 611, which has recently been returned to steam.  Together, they make up the remnant of the glory days of the Norfolk and Western, which kept steam much long after the rest of the major railroads had converted to diesels.  She will stay at the VTM for the next five years, and will receive a cosmetic restoration while there.  So here’s to you, 2156, to your stay in Roanoke with your family, and your return in 2020 to St. Louis.

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