THE N&W #1218

Let me introduce you to
the N&W #1218!

This thang is ONE BIG SUCKAH!!

Trainman and I rode behind her on two excursions back in the late '80s---both departed from Alexandria, Virginia---the first time to Charlottesville, Virginia, the second time to Lynchburg, Virginia. What a thrill! She has a personality of her own. This engine has the most unique and strangest-sounding whistle I ever heard out of a steam locomotive---a sort of high piercing blast that went right through ya!

Norfolk & Western Class A # 1218 is a 2-6-6-4 articulated* locomotive. The huge coal fired locomotive was built during June 1942 for the war effort and spent much of her long life between the coal fields of West Virginia and the docks at Portsmouth, OH. The N & W stuck with steam power much longer than most major U S railroads. Her twelve 70 inch drivers and 300 psi boiler pressure produced a tremendous 112,500 lbs of tractive effort.

The N&W #1218 now proudly resides in the Virginia Transportation Museum in Roanoke, Virginia, beside two other very famous smaller steam locomotives. If you ever have a chance to visit her and her neighbors in that Museum, you will have a thrill of a lifetime.

This is a photo taken when we visited the good ole 1218 at the Museum in February, 2006. Yep, that's me---just show you how huge that engine is! There just ain't nuttin' like a great big steam locomotive!!

* For all you folks who aren't railfans and don't know what all that stuff means:

"Class A" means----the type of locomotive
2 = the set of two smaller wheels at the front of the locomotive
6 = the set of six huge drivers at the middle front of the locomotive
6 = the set of six huge drivers at the middle rear of the locomotive
4 = the set of four smaller wheels at the rear of the locomotive
"Articulated" means--- A steam locomotive with two sets of driving wheels under a single long boiler and cab. They were articulated, or hinged, flexing between the two engines on curves. Articulated locomotives have wheels arrangements such as 2-8-8-4 or 4-6-6-4. Articulated rolling stock, such as certain types of passenger cars and double-stack cars, share trucks.

- Maximum Horsepower 6,300 at 45 mph
- Driving Wheels: 70 inches (almost 6 ft.)
- Coal Combustion Rate: 7 tons per hour
- Tender Coal Capacity: 30 tons
- Tender Water Capacity: 22,000 gallons
- Weight on Drivers: 434,350 pounds
- Engine Weight: 573,000 pounds or 286-1/2 tons
- Tender Weight with fuel and water: 378,000 pounds or 189 tons
- Engine ande Loaded Tender Weight: 951,000 pounds
- Total Length of Engine and Tender: 121 feet 9-1/4 inches
- Height: 16 feet

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