Whistle Stop – In The News

Reproduced from the  newsletter published by the Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society and Museum, Knoxville, TN.

611 TO STEAM AGAIN? By now everyone should be aware that there is a study

underway to determine the feasibility of returning N&W 611 to excursion service. In

case you missed the story, go to http://www.fireup611.org/main/index.php. A sweet 5-

minute video has been produced and is available on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDKru1iE80s.

[WARNING: If you’re not into Rock & Roll you might not care for the background music featuring Bon Jovi, but that’s why your device has a mute option.]



NORFOLK SOUTHERN announced on February 25th that it will cease regional railcar classification operations at its Roanoke Terminal Hump Yard. This will mean the elimination of about 140 positions. The Terminal will continue to provide service to local customers, and to be a hub for through train operations.

The Roanoke Hump operation has seen steady decline in the volume of general merchandise cars handled by about 30 percent since 2006. At the same time, system-wide improvements in the railroad’s operations have freed up network capacity such that classifications operations now performed at Roanoke are no longer necessary. “The employees who work at Roanoke are dedicated and efficient,” said Terry Evans, Vice President, Transportation. “But the geographical location and layout of the hump yard make it not only expensive but redundant within our network.

Most of the affected positions are Carmen, who inspect and repair railcars, and train crews, who conduct switching operations in the yard. Some track maintenance positions are affected. System wide, NORFOLK SOUTHERN anticipates hiring between 850 and 1,150 employees in 2013 to keep up with attrition. These positions will first be offered to employees affected by the Roanoke change and employees furloughed at other locations. 


[Original source: trains.com] GULF & OHIO RAILWAYS has successfully acquired and

moved STONE MOUNTAIN SCENIC RAILROAD 4-4-0 No. 60 from Stone Mountain, GA to Knoxville. The railroad will evaluate the locomotive for possible restoration and operation on the railroad’s “Three Rivers Rambler” tourist train, which operates out of Knoxville. The railroad had previously restored ex-SOUTHERN RAILWAY 2-8-0 No. 154, built in 1890, for passenger service.

Baldwin built No. 60 in 1922 for Texas’ SAN ANTONIO & ARANSAS PASS RAILWAY. In the 1930s, it became TEXAS & NEW ORLEANS RAILROAD No. 220, and was renumbered 260 in Baldwin built No. 60 in 1922 for Texas’ SAN ANTONIO & ARANSAS PASS RAILWAY. In the 1930s, it became TEXAS & NEW ORLEANS RAILROAD No. 220, and was renumbered 260 in 1950. In 1954 Paulsen Spence acquired it for his LOUISIANA EASTERN RAILROAD, which was to be powered by steam locomotives he had collected over the years. Upon his death most of his collection was scrapped, but No. 60 escaped. It was purchased in 1962 by the STONE MOUNTAIN SCENIC RAILROAD, which named it Texas II for tourist service at Georgia’s Stone Mountain State Park. The engine last operated in 1983, although it continued to occasionally “pull” Trains, while pushed by a diesel, until 2002.

G&O acquired the engine from STONE MOUNTAIN SCENIC, which still operates using a pair of ex-SOUTHERN RAILWAY FP7s and an ex-CHESAPEAKE & OHIO GP7.