“This is the finest steam engine ever built, any where, any time,” said Robert Claytor, the retired chairman of the Norfolk Southern.
Norfolk & Western’s #1218 is the sole survivor of the 43 built for Norfolk & Western back in late 1930’s until 1944. At one time, it was one of the strongest-pulling operational articulated locomotives in the world!
With a 2-6-6-4 wheel arrangement, Norfolk & Western’s Class A #1218 rivaled Union Pacific’s Challenger class 4-6-6-4 locomotives in speed and pulling power.
Built in the Norfolk & Western’s Roanoke Shops in 1943, #1218 was primarily considered a fast freight locomotive, but also saw service pulling heavy coal trains and passenger trains on the flatter districts of the Norfolk & Western’s districts.
In 2001, Norfolk Southern (as a result of the merger of Norfolk & Western and Norfolk Southern in 1982) donated #1218 to the City of Roanoke for display today at the Virginia Museum of Transportation.
Let us know if you ever had a chance to see or even ride on one of her excursions! We would love to hear from you!