Virginia Room Digital Collection


The Virginia Room Digital Collection includes photographs, oral histories, books, pamphlets and finding aids to items in the Virginia Room. Continue to check back for new additions.

Browse Items (113 total)

Class J-1 Engine No. 605 rolls out of the Norfolk & Western Shops. War rationing meant no streamlined cowling or roller bearings on the rods.

Virginian Railway Engine No. 127 in Roanoke.

Two N&W locomotives prepare to pass one another heading to and from the West Virginia coal fields.

Diesel Engine No. 322 pulls a consist of coal through Virginia. The switch to diesel was difficult for N&W given its commercial investment in coal.

Engine No. 2146 pulls a load of coal. In the 1940s, N&W served the following seven coal districts: Kenova, Thacker, Tug River, Pocahontas, Clinch Valley 1 & 2, and Radford.

Norfolk & Western's passenger service ceased in 1971. Here is the Pocahontas on her last run, traveling eastbound at Blue Ridge, Virginia. An estimated 100,000 spectators lined the route to catch a glimpse of a passing era.

An industrial hoist rests in the yard at Roanoke. Notice the huge pulleys hanging from the arm. Engine No. 131 is in the background.

Engine No. 550 is a later example of the steam locomotive used by N&W. The crew poses for a picture in Roanoke.

The Class J 600 is pulling a Southern Railway streamlined passenger train. The Class Js were built between 1941 and 1950.

This passenger train stops in Ivanhoe, Virginia. Passenger service would serve as a popular form of distance travel until the emergence of the automobile.

A stock train rolls through the Virginia countryside. As a way to encourage agribusiness, N&W operated a working farm at Ivor, Virginia for some years around 1910-1915.

Freight Locomotive No. 1203 rests on the turntable at Shaffer's Crossing in Roanoke.

The old Class M engine was built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1883. N&W owned two of these engines, Nos. 94 and 95, as shown here.

Engine No. 93 was a small shifting engine used at Roanoke Machine Works. It was built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1883.

Engine No. 72 is another example of a Class U locomotive built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1892. This passenger locomotive weighed in excess of 132,000 pounds and was later converted to simple cylinders.

Passenger Engine No. 90 was an example of many engines purchased by N&W in its early years from Baldwin Locomotive Works. Engine No. 90 was a Class A engine.

The "Jawn Henry" was the nickname for this combination steam-electric locomotive. It was N&W's last-ditch effort to give steam one last try. The engine had 12 traction motors, weighed in at 1.1 million pounds, and was 161 feet long. Delivered in…

Engine No. 102 rolls out of assembly at the Roanoke Shops and employees pose for the customary photograph of the engine.

This engine was a Class W-1, 2-8-0 type and was originally built by the Roanoke Shops in October 1900.

Wreck at Powhatan, West Virginia. Notice the double-tracking in the image. Unfortunately, the development of adequate rail safety technology was years from completion, making railroading a dangerous profession.

Engine No. 54 with her crew (from left): Engineer E.H. Jones, Fireman Guy Emery, and Conductor Lloyd Pugh. The train was running between Sardinia and Hillsboro branch, and the main line of the Cincinnati, Portsmouth, and Virginia Railroad.

Shop employees and crew of Engine No. 205 in Roanoke, shortly after the locomotives construction.

Class Q Engine No. 516 pulls into a depot at Nolan, West Virginia. The engine was originally put into service in April 1882. Crew members are servicing both passenger and express cars.

An early example of freight locomotives used by N&W was Engine No. 264.

The crew of Engine No. 19. This engine, like most of the engines used by N&W in its infancy, was built by Baldwin Locomotive Works.

A small coal yard in West Virginia. N&W pioneered and developed the state's coal industry.

Engine No. 382 runs the steepest grade of all - a sustained three percent grade to the summit at White Top Station. This run, affectionately known as the "Virginia Creeper", ran between Abingdon, Virginia and West Jefferson, North Carolina. Here,…

The Powhatan Arrow on one of its runs. The Arrow traveled along a diverse scenic route through Virginia's Dismal Swamp, the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Alleghanies, and into the West Virginia coal fields.

An interior view of the erecting shop at Roanoke showing an engine's assembly in progress.

Employees repair an N&W locomotive at the Roanoke Shops.

Engine No. 17 is surrounded by rail employees in this photograph taken near Elkton, West Virginia. On the ground at the extreme left is G.W. Pile; standing fourth from the left is H.S. Walker; standing second from the right is C.C. Edmondson; and…

This photograph includes three types of modern, coal-burning steam locomotives designed and built by N&W. These represent the best elements of steam engine design: low initial investment, high utilization, low-cost operation and maintenence, and…

This image symbolizes the commercial ventures of N&W - a coal train enters the picture as a passenger train, the Powhatan Arrow, leaves. Engine No. 1213 is westbound out of Williamson, West Virginia, to deliver coal to the Great Lakes region. The…

Diesel Engine No. 1590 passes through Buena Vista, Virginia. Notice the train order raised to be grabbed by the engineer as the train passes.

Freight Engine No. 173 of the Radford Yard is depicted at a Radford pipe shop.

Engine No. 53 and her crew excavate for new track near Bluefield, West Virginia. N&W pioneered and financed early coal production in the mountains of West Virginia and carved the rail beds that allowed the "black gold" to move east.

Engines No. 14 and No. 37 collided at Rural Retreat. Note the collapsed front half of the first baggage coach. While engines could often withstand collisions, the wood-constructed baggage and passenger coaches were extremely vulnerable.

A closer view of the Thaxton wreck shows the debris pile. Engineer Pat Donovan's body was so badly mangled he was only identified by his clothing. The entire woodwork of the train was burned due to exploding gas lights in the coaches. Seven cars…

This head-on collision occurred at Rippon, Virginia. Engine No. 481 is at left.

The Pocahontas traveling along the New River. This route was the most spectacular and difficult. After leaving the New River Valley, The Arrow climbed abruptly to Bluefield and then downhill along the Tug River at Williamson.

Engine No. 475 steams out of Roanoke. In 1946, the year considered to be the beginning of N&W's modern passenger service, an average ridership per train was 118. By 1971, when N&W discontinued passenger trains, the number had dropped to less than…

Virginia and Tennessee Railroad named rather than numbered their locomotives. This locomotive was Roanoke. Chartered in 1849 and completed in 1856, the V&T ran from Lynchburg to Bristol and later merged with the AM&O.

Engine No. 1100, a Class M-2, was one of a number of engines purchased by N&W in 1910. The Class M, as rebuilt, had a 4-8-0 wheel alignment, allowing it to meet the freight demands of the railroad.

Passenger locomotive No. 29 pulls into the Winston-Salem yard in 1890. This train may have been operating on the former Roanoke and Southern track that was absorbed into the operations of N&W in 1892.

The diesel engine was developed in 1890 by Rudolph Diesel. The Central Railroad of New Jersey was the first to use a diesel locomotive in 1925. It was not until 1955 that N&W began to order diesel locomotives, primarily from American Locomotive…

Diesel engines could operate more efficiently than the steam engine and American railroads were quick to make the switch. Between 1941 and 1955, the number of diesel locomotives in use went from 1,200 to 20,000. Pictured is Engine No. 8511.

Diesel Engine No. 1633, photographed shortly after being built. Notice the railroad's last corporate logo, the more streamlined "NW". The white-on-black design was introduced by John Fishwick when he was the railroad's president in 1971.

Electric engines were developed in 1914 so crews could safely navigate the tunnel at Coldale, West Virginia. Slow-moving steam engines choked the badly ventilated tunnel to the detriment of the crew's health. The electrified line ran between…

The Pocahontas moves east through Blue Ridge, Virginia pulled by Diesel No. 1014. The engine, though bearing the N&W name, was a diesel originally belonging to the Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac. By the late 1950s, as the N&W was…

The shop gang of the Portsmouth (Ohio) Shop pose in front of Engine No. 600. In 1901, N&W purchased the Cincinnati, Portsmouth, and Virginia Railroad for $2.5 million. Portsmouth would become a major location in the future operations of N&W.

Safety became a paramount concern of the railroad. Pictured is the Eckman Shop Safety Committee on Engine No. 1343. In 1893, Congress passed the Railroad Safety Appliance Act and in 1916, rail employees won Congressional approval for an 8-hour work…

The Shenandoah Valley Railroad operated a 239-mile line from Hagerstown, Maryland to Roanoke, Virginia, which was completed in 1883. Norfolk & Western purchased the railroad in 1890. The Shenandoah Valley's president, Fredercik Kimball, would…

To join the celebration of the nation's bicentennial, N&W painted this diesel locomotive red, white, and blue. The engine's number was appropriately 1776.

Engine No. 1438 was one of many Class Z-1A engines used by N&W. This particular engine was built in January 1916 in Schenectady, New York. These engines, numbered 1315 through 1438, were built between 1912 and 1917. A number of them were purchased…

Between 1948 and 1952, 30 Class Y-6B engines were produced by N&W. Engine No. 2200, the last of the Y-6Bs, is shown here at Roanoke.

Engine No. 2156

In an effort to heavier freight, N&W developed the Y-6 locomotive. While retaining many of the design elements of the previous Y models, the Y-6 had a new steel frame, roller bearings, and mechanical lubrication at 213 points. A peak horsepower of…

The Class Y-4 engines were developed by N&W in 1927. Only 10 were produced, with Engine No. 2087 among them.

The Class Y-3A engines included No. 2058. These engines, numbering 2050 through 2079, were built in 1923. This photograph was taken in Cincinnati.

Engine No. 2023 was a Class Y-3 locomotive. This was one of 50 built between 1919 and 1923.

Engine No. 800 was an N&W Class W-6. These engines, numbered 800 through 814, were made between 1898 and 1899.

Engine No. 76 was a Class U engine. On the N&W line, these engines were numbered 71 through 85.

Engine No. 37 was a Class N, as were all engines numbered 28 through 37. These engines, purchased by N&W, were made between 1887 and 1888. This photograph was taken at Wakefield, Ohio.

The Class M Engine No. 1112 was built in 1910. Their purchase was almost solely in response to the increased demands for hauling coal.

Engine No. 209.

Steam Engine No. 130, a Class K-2A locomotive.

The sleek, Class K-2, Engine No. 118 was acquired by N&W in 1919. These engines, numbering 116 through 125, were rebuilt later and streamlined by N&W.

Engine No. 114 was a member of the K-1 Class of N&W locomotives. This class of engine, numbering 100 to 115, was built between 1916 and 1917. The Class K engines were built to pull more weight since new steel passenger cars were replacing those…

Front view of Engine No. 1200, a Class A built in 1936.

Engine No. 1200. As part of the Class A engines, No. 1200 was the first to be built by N&W between 1936 and 1950. Maximum horsepower was 6,300 at 45 miles per hour.

Locomotive No. 37 was used in 1871 when the South Side, Norfolk and Petersburg, and Virginia and Tennessee Railroads were consolidated, forming the Atlantic, Mississippi and Ohio Railroad. The AM&O was the forerunner of N&W.

Like many railroads, the lines of the Wabash Railway Company predated the company's formation in 1877. The history of the Wabash is long and complicated, involving certain dubious personalities, mergers, receiverships, and a wavering bottom line. …

This history of the Nickel Plate Railroad is an amassment of histories from other lines, such as Lake Erie and Western, Clover Leaf, and the Wheeling and Lake Erie. The Nickel Plate was officially the New York, Chicago, and St. Louis Railroad…

Engine No. 345 was the first compound engine owned by N&W. This photograph was taken at Crewe, Virginia. Crew members include A.D. Lane, engineer, and Julian Hark, fireman.

Engine No. 1 was the switching locomotive used at the Roanoke Machine Works (later Roanoke Shops) in 1886. Standing in the cab of the engine is H.S. German. Others, from left, are Brakemen W.H. Hall and W.W. Rule, Engineer Paul DeArmond, and…

This electric locomotive, Engine No. 126, was from the Virginian Railway. The Virginian was formed by Henry Rogers for $30 million in 1907. Having made his fortune in oil, Rogers died a month after the Virginian was officially formed and his…

Electric engines acquired by the N&W were from Baldwin-Westinghouse. There were 16 locomotives in all. The system, including overhead catenary wires and a generating plant, was completed in 1916. Engine No. 2506 makes the Bluefield run. In 1950,…

Engine No. 1442 is placed on the new 115-foot turntable and in the new roundhouse of the Shenandoah Division. For this moment, the men of the roundhouse take a break to pose in recognition of achievement.

Locomotive No. 1212 pulls a load in a scene of the past: a steam engine at work. The N&W was the last major American railroad to abandon the steam engine in favor of the diesel engine. The designers and engineers of the N&W developed the steam…

A freight train pulled by Engine No. 1228 moves eastbound near Bonsack.

Engine No. 2165 is northbound near Waynesboro, Virginia, hauling a small but varied freight load.

This photograph was taken at east Radford coal wharf. It depicts Engine No. 138 and crew. Mr. Akers, engineer; Charlie Roby, fireman; Mr. Allen and Mr. Adkins.

This photograph captures a proud moment in the development of the N&W. Rolled out from the shop is the first locomotive built by Roanoke Machine Works. Roanoke Machine Works would later become the N&W Roanoke Shops. The engine is a Class I.

The crew of Engine No. 102, shortly after the engine was taken over by the N&W, included Conductor Lawrence Boyles, Engineer George Agee, Fireman Harley Pugh, and Brakeman Jesse Honaker and R.C. Warden.

Engine No. 500 pulls out of Norfolk with the Pocahontas. The Pocahontas' maiden run occurred on November 21, 1926, when she ran between Norfolk and Columbus, Ohio. That run replaced the former "Norfolk-Chicago Express".

This photograph of the crew of Engine No. 82 was taken when Goodwin, West Virginia was a western terminus. The engine was standing on the Wye track. Crew members are S.D. Clowers, engineer; R.S. Brown, engineer; James Emmons, fireman; George…

An N&W passenger train speeds between Roanoke and Christiansburg, Virginia. The N&W provided extensive passenger service through southwestern and southeastern Virginia, the Shenandoah Valley, West Virginia, and into parts of North Carolina. With…

Locomotive No. 1219 arrives in Roanoke. The Class A was considered to be one of the "Magnificent Three" designs developed by a Norfolk & Western team headed by J.A. Pitcher, G.P. McGavok, and C.H. Faris. The Class A would break all previous…

“Memphis Special” made its debut through the Roanoke Valley on June 20th, 1909, running between Memphis, Tennessee, and New York City. The Memphis Special remained for years a popular passenger train, being the fastest and most direct route to New…

RC46 Transportation Museum.jpg
N&W Class J 611 and N&W #6 on exhibit at the Roanoke Transportation Museum in Wasena Park.

Creasy16 Roanoke Transportation Museum.jpg
Replica of the "Best Friend of Charleston" at the opening of the Virginia Museum of Transportation (then Roanoke Transportation Museum) in Wasena Park.

Creasy15 Roanoke Transportation Museum.jpg
Replica of the "Best Friend of Charleston" at the opening of the Virginia Museum of Transportation (the Roanoke Transportation Museum) in Wasena Park.

PC 122.16 Virginian.jpg
"Virginian - Southern Railway Consolidation 722 and Shenandoah & Atlanta Pacific 750 blast through Montvale, Virginia on the Norfolk & Western Railway with the Roanoke Chapter, NRHS Special Virginian, August, 28 1971."

PC 122.151 Locomotive No. 1218.jpg
"Norfolk & Western's Locomotive 1218. Norfolk & Western's Class 'A' (2-6-6-4), Number 1218 rolls past her birthplace, Norfolk & Western's East End Shops in Roanoke, Virginia, where she was built in June of 1943. After serving the Norfolk & Western,…

PC 122.15 Locomotive No. 1218.jpg
"Norfolk & Western's Locomotive Number 1218. Norfolk & Western Railway's Class 'A' (2-6-6-4), Number 1218, was built by the Roanoke Shops in June of 1943. After many years of Main Line service with the N&W, Number 1218 served as a stationary boiler…

PC 122.14 Virginian Railway No. 135.jpg
"Roanoke Transportation Museum Virginian Railway's Number 135. Former Virginian Electric Number 135 is viewed in front of the old Virginian Depot in Roanoke, Virginia on March 29, 1983 prior to being placed on display in the Roanoke Transportation…

PC 122.13 N&W 611.jpg
"Norfolk & Western 611. In the classic rods down pose, Northern 611 and its excursion train wait in front of the Roanoke, Virginia station, October 1982. The Norfolk & Western and sponsor, Roanoke Chapter, NRHS, ran several excursions throughout…

PC 122.12 N&W Engines.jpg
"No. 600, No. 1203 and No. 2123, respresenting the main types of modern Norfolk & Western steam power."

PC 122.11 Engine No.603 Class J.jpg
"Norfolk & Western No. 603 Class J passenger engine at Roanoke Shops."

PC 122.10 Engine No. 2171.jpg
"Engine No. 2171 just built by the Norfolk & Western Roanoke Shops poses for the camera."

Scyphers23 N&W GP9.jpg
Norfolk & Western GP9 #516 locomotive pulling the Pocahontas near the N&W shops.

MP 27.3 Engine 609.jpg
Engine 609 of the Norfolk & Western Railway.

MP 27.2 Engine 604.jpg
Engine 604 of the Norfolk & Western Railway.

MP 27.1 Engine 601.jpg
Engine 601 of the Norfolk & Western Railway.

MP 27.0 Engine 2151.jpg
Engine 2151 of Norfolk & Western Railway.

Davis2 61.25 Virginian #104.jpg
An unidentified group stands in front of Virginian #104, a class EL-#3A electric locomotive.

Davis 645 Virginian 700.jpg
The Virginian 700 steam locomotive built by Baldwin Locomotive Works.

Davis 61.24 Powhatan Arrow #4.jpg
Norfolk & Western Powhatan Arrow Locomotive #4 east of Vinton.

Davis 61.23 N&W Class N Locomotive.jpg
Norfolk and Western Class N passenger locomotive near Radford.

Davis 61.22 N&W Class Sia #244.jpg
N&W Class S1a #244 locomotive at Roanoke Shops. This was the last locomotive built in Roanoke and the last standard gauge locomotive built in the United States.

Davis 61.2 N&W Class Y6b #2189.jpg
Norfolk & Western Class Y6b #2189 locomotive shown shortly before scrapping at United Scrap Iron and Metal Company.

Davis 56.413 Booster Club.jpg
Unidentified members of the Roanoke Booster Club surround a steam locomotive for a group photo.

Davis 30.1u Shaffers Crossing Roundhouse.jpg
This 115 foot roundhouse was constructed in sections by J.P. Pettyjohn and Company with the first 21 stalls on July 1, 1918. The first stalls and turntable were put into service on September 15, 1919. The turntable was erected by Norfolk and Western…
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