N&W Y-6a 2156 started the journey from the St. Louis Transportation Museum back to the place of her birth on Saturday, May 9th. Travelling over UP and then to NS (former Wabash), the locomotive passed through Decatur, IL before arriving at the big Bellevue, OH yard (former NKP). It was called for late Sunday evening to head down the former PRR to Columbus. I had put in for a vacation day on Monday, and it looked like 2156 could make it east onto the Pocahontas Div. some time that day. I headed over to Williamson, and then railfanned west to Kenova photographing whatever trains came along.
1. At the site of the joint N&W-C&O Kenova Union Station I found several railfans waiting. At noon the word was that NS train 956 hauling 2156 was at Portsmouth, OH yard and expected to leave at any time. Later word spread that 956 was waiting for traffic to clear and would leave around 2:00 PM. NS freight No. 188 and multi-level No. 272 rumbled east across the long Ohio River bridge. At 3:50 PM the South Point defect detector and signal announced that transportation history was coming our way.
2. Moving slowly east at Neal anticipating a meet with westbound intermodal No. 233.
3. Moving slowly east at Neal. View 2.
4. Moving slowly east at Neal. View 3.
5. NS business car Florida, a heavyweight tool car, and business car Ohio bring up the rear.
6. After meeting No. 233 at Neal, No. 956 accelerates to Cyrus.
7. N&W 2-8-8-2 is one of 16 Y-6a Mallets built at Roanoke in 1942. Note that the main rod has been temporarily removed.
8. Passing the Pritchard scales.
9. Casey Thomason, the NS photographer, arranged for 956 to pause at the old Pritchard coal dock for a photo op. The new intermodal terminal is under construction on the left. A severe thunderstorm was in progress to the south.
10. Note the markers and headlight are on.
11. Note the markers and headlight are on. View 2.
12. NS GP40-2 3068 came from Conrail.
13. The storm put a large limb across the track just west of Fort Gay, so there was a delay until a MofW employee could cut it off. A tree was across the track at Glenhayes. Around 6:00 PM it brightened up, and 2156 resumed her journey through a locale that was once familiar to her breed. The local bar emptied out to watch her passage.
14. 2156 resumed her journey. View 2.
15. 2156 resumed her journey. View 3.
Sure beats looking at her under a shed in a cramped museum. I crossed to Louisa and headed up US 23 to home.