One of the largest and strongest railroad conglomerates in the United States, from 1838 through the Golden Age of Railroads in the US, was the Norfolk & Western Railroad (NW or N&W).
Through the years, as all large and powerful corporations do, the company bought out smaller and medium-sized rail companies as they all began losing business to the ever-increasing airline business and the automobile industries in the US. Unlike Europe and Asian, where rail companies continued to play an important role in community lives and transportation, the US chose to relegate rail to the carrying of freight. The NW merged with Southern Railway in 1982, to form the Norfolk Southern.
After the demise of steam in the late 1950s, certain rail companies continued to run excursion trips with steam locomotives, which were a large part of the steam and rail preservation consciousness. The Norfolk Southern steam excursion program was one of the most beloved by fans. Its main locomotives included the N&W 611 and the N&W 1218 which are now displayed in museums but not running. The excursion program ran its final steam excursion in 1994 . . . . . . . . until NOW!!
In 2010, the Norfolk Southern announced its plans to run steam excursions to celebrate its 30th Anniversary, working closely with the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum.
In August-September 2011, the Southern Railway (SR) 630 was the first steam locomotive to kick-off the program, called: 21st Century Steam.
The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society announced that is big and popular locomotive, Nickel Plate (NKP) 765 is also slated to run (photo above, and last video). The NKP 765 video is of an earlier trip for you to enjoy, anticipating the upcoming excursion.
On July 2 -3, 2011, the Southern Pacific 4449 pulled trains from Portland, Oregon to Wishram, Washington.
This is a great video of “Chasing” the locomotive on its trip. The Photographer rides to shoot the video, while the famous steam chasing driver “Rich” shows his skills at providing ample and exciting distance and speed in order to capture the beauty and power of steam and the environs.
Video is posted by gregudolph.
The SP 4449 was called “The Most Beautiful Locomotive in the World” at the Height of Steam train popularity in the 1940s and 50s. It is now housed, along with one of my all-time favorite steam locomotives of the US, the SP&S (Spokane, Portland & Seattle) 700.
In 1935, the London and Northeastern Railway of the UK, had Nigel Gresley design streamlined locomotives. They were fast and recognizable. The “Mallard” 4468 still holds the world’s speed record for fastest steam in the world.
Of over 30 built in those days, 6 remain today, three of which are fully operational.
60007 Sir Nigel Gresley
60009 Union of South Africa
The famous 60022 Mallard is on static display in Shildon.
The 60010 Dominion of Canada is on static display in the Canadian Railway Museum in Canada.
The 60008 Dwight D. Eisenhower is on display in Wisconsin, USA.
The Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Greenbrier 4-8-4 Locomotive 614, is slated to return to an east coast US project by 2013, if the plan goes well. This locomotive is incredibly magnificent and elegant, not to mention powerful! And it is also amongst my top favorites (I have 30 top favorites that I will not bother ranking!).
To READ MORE ON THE RETURN of the C&O 614:
Click to the Great Blog site STEAM CENTRAL.
I’ve posted some older, but great video views of the great C&O here.
1) C&O 614 at Port Jervis, New York in 1998 for a close look at it.
2) C&O 614 Great Video by CSX Joe at YouTube (Joe Hacker).
3) AWESOME BEAUTY FROM THE AIR “Return of the Thoroughbred” by Mark I Video