2017-4:Surprise! This is neither a J-class, nor a 4-8-4… It’s a Norfolk & Western K-class Mountain locomotive. While the famous streamlined J-class Northerns were constructed by the N&W, the 4-8-2’s were built by Alco and Baldwin and had the shrouding applied at the Roanoke Shops to match their cousins. On February 22, 1952, one of these newly-designated K-2a’s is pulling a short southbound passenger train across the spectacular viaduct at Compton, Va. Photo by C. Able, from the collection of Cliff Scholes, courtesy of David P. Oroszi.
Prior to its 1964 merger with Norfolk & Western, the Nickel Plate Road had an unusual roster of diesels including EMD, Alco, and Fairbanks-Morse. Despite their “basic black” carbodies, NKP operated a rather interesting diesel fleet with lots of character.
The colorful Arkansas & Ozarks Railway picked up where the Missouri & Arkansas Railway left off, beginning operation under Salzberg management in 1950. Just ten years later, the line would be shut down and abandoned due to severe flooding and mounting losses.
Many railfans are drawn to railroad operations that use antiquated equipment and pass through scenic countryside, qualities which the original Ma & Pa had in spades. Being close to major eastern population centers, the Ma & Pa was accessible and became an early favorite among railroad enthusiasts.