The Well Dressed Train Crew

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Riding the Pocahontas

Photo of the Month - January 2012

Norfolk and Western's finest posing before this late 1958 departure of train #34 for Portsmouth, Kenova, Bluefield, Winston-Salem, Lynchburg, Durham, Richmond and Norfolk. Photo by Donald A. Kaiser.

        This is a continuation of the July 2007 Photo of the Month which described the 'O' Gauge Club members watching the departure of the N&W's Pocahontas passenger train on Wednesday meeting nights. After the crew had gotten use to seeing us they agreed to pose for a photo. This night they had locomotive No. 133 a 4-8-2. Other nights they would have a 600 series 4-8-4, both good looking engines.

        Passenger train crewmen were plum jobs on the railroad. Compared to freight service the hours were predictable and often shorter. Railroad jobs are bid by seniority so the passenger jobs were filled by senior men who wanted them which accounts for this mature group. The regular conductor had over 50 years service and would retire when the passenger train was discontinued.

        The engine crewmen are dressed the way they are for a reason. Steam engines are filled with pipes, fittings and other obstructions that can easily catch a lose pant leg and cause an accident. It was not uncommon to see an engineman tying or clipping his pant's cuff, like these men have done, so that accident would not happen . When they get under way and the hot cinder sparks start to fly a scarf around the neck becomes essential along with goggles to keep the cinders out of their eyes. Neither engine crewmen are leaving much skin exposed to be battered by hot cinders.

        The N&W was known for the high level of maintenance especially to their locomotives. No. 133 and crew are ready to go.

This photo was taken on a different Wednesday night. The engineer is the same, but the fireman is new as they pose with the 'O' Gauge club members. From left to right Engineer, Alex Campbell, George Silcott, Dick Egen, Karl Walters, Fireman, Conductor. Don Kaiser is taking the photograph.

Click on the photo to enlarge the image and you will see how big the steam locomotive is.