Legends of the Blue Ridge

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The Norfolk and Western Railway had faith in the steam locomotive. And why shouldn’t they! They designed and built the most modern and efficient steam power right in their own Roanoke shops!

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The Norfolk and Western Railway had faith in the steam locomotive. And why shouldn’t they! They designed and built the most modern and efficient steam power right in their own Roanoke shops!

Born as an outlet to the tidewater, the N&W grew quickly when coal was discovered in the Pocahontas region of Virginia and West Virginia. (Norfolk Southern continues to pull a lot of coal out of this region.) The heavy N&W coal trains required ever larger steam locomotives to conquer the Blue Ridge grade to the sea. Their fleet evolved through several configurations, such as 4-8-0 “Mastodons”, 4-8-2’s, 2-6-6-2’s 2-8-8-2’s, 2-6-6-4’s and 4-8-4’s. This video takes us back to a time when most Class I’s had completely banished the steamer, But the N&W still used the class “K” and class “J” on passenger trains and the “Y” class articulateds and the fabulous class “A” 2-6-6-4’s on freight and coal trains, usually with one or more on each end of the train.

Visit the Petersburg area in eastern Virginia and the steep grades over the Blue Ridge, between Crewe and Christiansburg, especially at the summit. A few of the “oddballs” also show up at Shaffer’s Crossing, including a brief appearance by “Jawn Henry”.

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2 reviews for Legends of the Blue Ridge

  1. collinvarney24

    The N&W took pride in the steam locomotive to keep the trains moving despite being the last railroad to experiment with diesel locomotives. I love watching the J-class locomotives race by with the Powhattan arrow, The Y class and the A class on heavy freight and listening to the sounds of the N&W hard at work. Great Video to be in your collection.

  2. trainpainter

    I have many DVDs on the N&W and I’d have to rate this as on top of the others. The old Blackhawk film is presented here and is definitely a great video. The N&W produced film on a boxcar moving along the line is very informative. Just a great amount of N&W steam here including Jawn Henry! Great passenger and freight action and most classes of engines are seen. A K-1 4-8-2 mistaken as a K-3 and a lack of the E-2 Pacifics doesn’t detract from the coverage.A MUST HAVE N&W video!

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