Norfolk & Western Class A #1218
Built: Norfolk & Western Roanoke Shops, 1943
Quantity built: 43
Locomotive and tender combined length: 121 feet 10 inches
Weight: 573,000 pounds (lbs.)
Speed: 70 miles per hour (mph)
Cylinders: 24 inches by 30 inches
Boiler Pressure: 300 pounds per square inch (psi)
Wheel arrangement: 2-6-6-4
Driver diameter: 70 inches
Tractive effort: 114,000 pounds-force (lbf)
Tender capacity: Coal—30 tons; Water—22,000 gallons; Weight: 378,000 lbs.
Grate area: 122 square feet
The Norfolk & Western (N&W) Class A steam locomotives were produced during the 1930s-1950s. They were designed to be powerful but low maintenance.
The Class A locomotives were the most mechanically modern American locomotives for their time, and one of the early Class As was displayed at the New York World's Fair in 1939. The 1218 was built in two weeks during the spring of 1943 with the specific approval of the War Department at the height of World War II, breaking all prior shop records.
The 1218 is the last remaining Class A. When N&W decided to move from steam to diesel locomotives, the Class As were gradually retired from regular service between the years 1958-1959. 1218 was retired in July 1959. The 1218 was one of three locomotives sold in July 1959 to Union Carbide in Charleston, West Virginia, to serve as stationary oil fired boilers.
In 1985, the locomotive was moved to Birmingham, Alabama, for restoration in order to participate in passenger excursion service. The overhaul took two years, and 1218 ran excursions from 1987-1991. It was officially retired from excursion service in 1994. The engine is no longer operational.
Erected by Virginia Museum of Transportation, Inc.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Entertainment • Railroads & Streetcars • War, World II. A significant historical month for this entry is July 1959.
Location. 37° 16.388′ N, 79° 56.761′ W. Marker is in Roanoke, Virginia. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Norfolk Avenue Southwest and 3rd Street Southwest, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. 1952 Squad Wagon (a few steps from this marker); Norfolk & Western Railway Post Office Car Class M-1 #93 (a few steps from this marker); Norfolk & Western Class CF Caboose #518302 (a few steps from this marker); Locomotive Parking Brakes (a few steps from this marker); Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Boxcar #2305 (a few steps from this marker); Graham-White Manufacturing Company (a few steps from this marker); Norfolk & Western Safety Instruction Car #418 (a few steps from this marker); Pennsylvania Railroad GE GG1 Electric #4919 (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Roanoke.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 29, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 29, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 50 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on April 29, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.