Norfolk Southern Corporation is in negotiations with the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum (TVRM) with regard to the operation of a limited schedule of steam locomotive event appearances and passenger excursions beginning later this year.
“21st Century Steam” will highlight milestones in rail history and provide an opportunity for audiences to learn about today’s safe, environmentally-friendly, and service-oriented freight railroads. The program will feature three venerable coal-powered steam locomotives:
-- Southern Railway 4501: Built in 1911 by Baldwin Locomotive Works, 4501 served Southern Railway in freight service in Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, and Indiana, before being sold to a short line. No. 4501 was retired from revenue service in 1963 and enjoyed a second career in the excursion program operated by Southern Railway and Norfolk Southern from 1966 until 1994. This Ms (Mikado superheated) Class locomotive has 63-inch driving wheels.
-- Southern Railway 630: Built in 1904 at the Richmond, Va., works of American Locomotive Company, this Consolidation type locomotive has traveled throughout the Southeast, often in the company of 4501 and sister locomotive 722. An extensive six-year rehabilitation to current Federal Railroad Administration standards is being completed at TVRM’s Soule Shops complex in Chattanooga.
-- Tennessee Valley Railroad 610: Built in 1952 by Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton for the U.S. Army, 610 has been the mainstay of TVRM steam operations since 1990. It also appeared on several Norfolk Southern steam excursions from 1990 to 1993. No. 610, also a Consolidation type, was one of the last steam locomotives built in the U.S.
“This is the right time for steam to ride the Norfolk Southern rails,” said CEO Wick Moorman. “We’ve got a fascinating history, and we have a compelling message about how today’s railroads support jobs, competition, and the nation’s economy. It’s a positive, forward-looking message that resonates with people everywhere.”
“21st Century Steam will help introduce historic and modern railroading to a broad new audience of supporters,” said TVRM President Tim Andrews. “We would be pleased to enter into an agreement with Norfolk Southern for the important work of preserving and interpreting the steam age, and of bringing today’s railroad closer to people young and old, in communities large and small.”
The launch of 21st Century Steam coincides with key dates. 2011 will be 4501’s 100th birthday. 2012 will mark Norfolk Southern’s 30th anniversary and TVRM’s 50th birthday. Another anniversary is May 7, 2010, – 50 years from the final day of steam power on Norfolk Southern’s original predecessors.
21st Century Steam’s initial appearances and runs are expected to take place in the Chattanooga area this fall, with locomotives 610 and 630. (No. 4501 is expected to join the program sometime in 2011, after rehabilitation.) Exhibit dates, ticketing, and other details will be announced later.
TVRM will own, maintain, and staff 21st Century Steam trains, under the leadership of Operations Director George Walker. Walker, a veteran of the Southern and Norfolk Southern programs and long time TVRM General Shop Forman, has more than 30 years experience in steam and passenger excursion railroading.
Norfolk Southern is providing operations and mechanical expertise as well as financial and marketing support for 21st Century Steam.
(INSERT QUOTE ABOUT OVERALL VALUE OF STEAM DISPLAYS from Jim Wrinn, author of Steam’s Camelot: Southern and NS Excursions in Color, and editor of Trains Magazine.)
Later this year, Norfolk Southern and TVRM plan to launch a Web site devoted to the program. Correspondence can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum was founded in 1961 in Chattanooga to create an interpretive operating museum of historic equipment and artifacts in an authentic setting. Today it operates an extensive schedule of historic and scenic trains in Southeast Tennessee and Northwest Georgia, supported by its East Chattanooga locomotive and car shop complex. TVRM is the largest operating historical railroad in the Southeast.
Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) is one of the nation’s premier transportation companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway subsidiary operates approximately 21,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serves every major container port in the eastern United States, and provides efficient connections to other rail carriers. Norfolk Southern operates the most extensive intermodal network in the East and is a major transporter of coal and industrial products.
Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum contact
Media | Tim Andrews | 423-894-8028 | email@example.com