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I got a chance this weekend to visit the VA transportation museum and the O. Winston Link museum in Roanoke VA.

http://www.vmt.org/

http://www.linkmuseum.org/

If your travel plans get you up the Rte. 81 corridor through west central Virginia any time soon I highly recommend them both. They are about two blocks apart from each other. The Link museum is in the old N&W passenger station which was redesigned by Raymond Loewy and is a beautiful former train station filled with Winston Link's photos of the end of the N&W steam era in the United States. His dramatic and highly technical night time photos are well known by train fans and show not only the power of the end of the steam age in the 50's but also shows the human side of the people who lived along the tracks and who drove and maintained those machines.

The VA transportation museum has a marvelous collection of steam, diesel and electric engines. It's a thrill for folks like me to not only photograph them but to walk up along side of them, touch them, smell the old grease and iron, and stand and marvel at just how large these behemoths of yesterdays rail transportation really were. You can admire the gloss black streamlined J class 611 parked right next to class A 2-6-6-4, parked behind C&O 614, 4-8-4 and compare them to diesels like an RS-3, a C-630, a GP-9, a SD-45, Pennsy's GG-1, Virginian's GE EL-C and smaller steam locos like a 2-8-0 and switch engines.

If you are passing by Roanoke on business or pleasure, I highly recommend it. The city is very nice and has a vibrant downtown with lots of bistros , shops and other museums like the Taubman Art gallery for your fellow travelers that may not be as excited as we are about trains, trucks and automobiles. Thomas Jefferson fans may want to detour towards Lynchburg to see his Poplar Forest home while in the area. Pretty country 'thereabouts' in those parts.
 

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Well that's great that you guys got to go by my old stomping grounds. The VMT is a really nice place to visit, and have a very nice collection of equipment for all to see. I have been going by there for a number of years, in hopes that I may one day take over the care of one of their locomotives. You see, the VMT has companies that agree to take care of some of the locomotives, and different locomotives are cared for by different companies. Now normally this wouldn't make that much difference to me, but in this case it does. You see, when I was but just 7 years old, my daddy, and grampa worked out a deal with the owner of the C&W to let me Drive old Alco # 10 while I sat on the engineers knee. Now this was no little joy ride. We traveled a good long way that day, and swapped out no less than 20 cars. Then we turned on the Y, and headed back home. For years I searched for that old ALCO T6, until one day somebody told me she was there. In case you don't know the history of the T6, I'd suggest that you take the time an learn it. Considering the few numbers of Alco T6's ever built, there sure are allot of them still running.

Loco Lee
 

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Lee;

Just for your interest, the Roanoke Chapter NRHS has an operating T6 at its siding in the industrial park off Elm St. (the former American Viscose Complex) I can't remember the locomotive number, but it shares duties with a GP30 during the Christmas holiday season. We usually have one or more Saturdays in December when the Chapter runs trains for the local folks to ride. The run is only up and down the Chapter's siding, but it's "the only game in town." (As the expression goes.) The Chapter is also restoring a CW Baldwin diesel and an N&W 4-8-0. I don't know whether the 4-8-0 will ever run under its own steam, but our members think there is a good possibility that the Baldwin may be powered up again.

Yours,
David Meashey
 

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Discussion Starter #5
David,
I saw that they had the drive rods off of the C&O 4-8-4 'Greenbrier' for some type of refurb. Where are they restoring the 4-8-0? I didn't recall seeing that? The have a 2-8-0 and 0-8-0 there next to the newer Locos and in front of Lee's T6 but that is all I recall seeing at the museum.
I read some neat history in wikipedia on #614. It was used as a test bed for the ACE 3000 project:
"American Coal Enterprise was developing a modern steam locomotive to be used as an alternative to rising oil costs by burning coal, known as the ACE 3000. The 614 was modified for better performance, and fitted with testing equipment to measure the performance of the engine. For several weeks in January and February 1985, 614 (now 614T, symbolizing it as testing) hauled coal trains between Huntington and Hinton, West Virginia. The 614's fuel consumption costs were actually lower than most diesel locomotives operating at that time. Unfortunately firebox problems and a booster failure later on severely hampered the test results in the end. After the test runs, it was later returned to Baltimore under steam. The project never moved farther than the testing stage."

Scott
 

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Hello David,

Yes, I'd love to come see her. As it stands now, I have to go all the way to AK to get in the cab of one, and move any freight. I'll be coming that way in May, and would love to stop in, and take a look, if that's OK. If you guys want a HO model of her built, let me know, and I'll see what can be done. I may have my recording equipment with me as well, so if you'd like to have her sounds in a sound decoder, or on a CD, that can be arranged too. If you'd like to see the T6 that I kit bashed for my collection, you can follow this link, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWt1W0Lmabk and the T6 is on the lower level at about 20 seconds into the video. She was allot of work, but well worth it to have a one of a kind, and be the first locomotive I ever operated. As you will see, everything is exact, all the way down to the custom made P5 on the roof. My wife and I spent a day there at the VMT, and took over 200 photos to make sure we got every angle.

Like I said in my other Post, CHW 10 is at the VMT, and 11 was in WVA on a tourist line, and still chugging away the last time I heard. As I remember old 10, and 11, they were like the Hybrids of the day. They looked, and sounded like Diesels, but smoked like a Steamer. When they used to haul grain for my father from Elkton, up into Harrisonburg, you could see the smoke on the horizon for an hour before you could even hear the horn.

Thanks for the response, and the info, and I look forward to hearing back from you.

Loco Lee
 

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Scott;

As mentioned in my post, The Roanoke Chapter NRHS locomotives are at the Chapter's siding in the industrial park NOT at the VMT. That is why you did not see them. I do have the street wrong. It is a side street off Elm Ave. I am at work, so I will have to check the address later.

Lee;

Chapter members usually perform maintenance and restoration work on the third Saturday of every month. I will try to mention your request at the next regular meeting on April 21st. As we are all volunteers, and most of us have regular jobs, I don't know whether anyone can be available at other times. I will see what I can find out. If you know when you will be in Roanoke, please advise me of the dates. I can't make any promises, as I am no longer an officer, but I will inquire for you.

Regards,
David Meashey
 

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Discussion Starter #8
David,
I saw that you said the T6 was at another siding. I wasn't sure if you meant the 4-8-0 was there as well. When I drive by Roanoke again later this year I may try and see where your chapter is located. Can you see/photograph the chapter's engines from the road or are they back out of sight behind fences?
 

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Scott;

There is a fence, but it is chain link. The Chapter also owns several freight cars and a caboose. The bulk of the Chapter's passenger cars are currently leased to the North Carolina Museum of Transportation in Spencer, NC, where they are used in the museum's train. The Chapter hopes to have at least one of its passenger cars restored to Amtrak certification, as we would like to have it available for our fall excursion, if not other excursions. The Chapter is also currently taking bids to have the former Virginian Railroad Roanoke Passenger Station restored. This is an ongoing project that will also take several years.

Yours,
David Meashey
 

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I see. I think I recently read an article about the chapter down here in Jonesborough TN. They restore train cars and lease them out also. I believe the article said something about them being pleased they brought the cars up to modern specs as they generate good income from leasing them I gather.

Thanks for the info.

Scott
 

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Scott and Lee;

Our Roanoke Chapter's siding is on 9th Street at the industrial park. There is a chain link fence, so taking photos would not be too difficult. Some of our retired members are at the siding other than the third Saturday of the month, but it is "catch as catch can." They will usually be working on the M class 4-8-0 or the CHW Baldwin diesel. On Saturday, May 14th, the T6 and the GP30 will be giving rides from the VMT from about 12:00 noon until 4:00 pm. This is part of the Rail Day festivities, and also includes events at the O. Winston Link Museum. (The Big Lick Big Train Operators are also planning to run large scale trains on the tarmac behind the OWL Museum - next to the NS tracks.) We were told at last night's Chapter meeting that NS will grant permission to bring the locomotives and some rolling stock from the 9th Street siding for this event.

Yours,
David Meashey
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the "heads up" about the 14th of May Dave. I'll make a note of it.

Scott
 
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