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Chesapeake & Ohio 4-8-2 (Class J)
Its fleet of 4-8-2s were a fine batch of locomotives, particularly the USRA designed Heavy Mountains. They sported Vanderbilt tenders, carried good lines, a long wheel base, and featured C&O's classic air pumps on the smoke box. The C&O acquired five between December, 1918 and June, 1919.Chesapeake & Ohio 4-8-2 #545 (J-2) is seen here in company publicity photo. It was built 1918.
By the 20th century the Chesapeake & Ohio was in need of larger, more powerful steam locomotives to handle its passenger trains. This was especially true with the introduction of all-steel, "heavyweight" cars, which were far heavier than the wooden/composite equipment that had always previously been used.
The C&O's original answer for new power included its Class F-15 4-6-2s, the first of which arrived in 1902. uring the succeeding two decades the railroad continued buying or upgrading its fleet of Pacifics, culminating with the famous and powerful Class F-19's manufactured in 1926 by the American Locomotive Company.
That year in June two arrived from Alco's Richmond Works, #316 and #317, and given Class J-1. ਊs C&O historian Karen Parker notes in her book, "Chesapeake & Ohio: Heavy Pacific Locomotives," they showed incredible promise and were much more powerful than the F-15's and F-16's, swiftly moving long passenger consists over the stiff grades of the Allegheny and Mountain Subdivisions.
The locomotive enjoyed tractive efforts of 58,000 pounds by comparison the F-15's and F-16's exerted only around 32,000 pounds of tractive effort. However, as the C&O quickly discovered the 4-8-2's bore drawbacks.Chesapeake & Ohio 4-8-2 #544 at the road's major terminal in Huntington, West Virginia in a scene that likely dates to the 1950's. This locomotive was part of its J-2 class.
They sported only 62-inch drivers, rather small for a passenger locomotive, and in conjunction with long, heavy side-rods affording a rather jarring ride.
This issue also made the Mountains hard on the track and the C&O never followed up for more. It would eventually rebuild the J-1's resolving many of its problems but in the meantime stuck with the Pacific wheel arrangement, taking delivery of its F-17's and F-18's during 1913 and 1914.
However, it wasn't through with the Mountain type. uring December of 1918 the C&O purchased three more 4-8-2's (#133-135) from Alco's Brooks Works followed by two more in July of 1918 (#136-137). They were listed as Class J-2 and much different from the J-1's.
Based from the USRA's standard heavyweight Mountain design the J-2's carried much more appropriate drivers (69 inches), slightly higher boiler pressure (200 psi as opposed to 185 psi), and comparable tractive effort.
In terms of power the J-1's and J-2's weren't noticeably different although the USRA designs carried none of the inherent problems of their earlier counterparts. uring July of 1923 the C&O went back to Alco for two more (this time through the Richmond Works), proving as its final examples of this wheel arrangement.
They were numbered 138-139 and listed as Class J-2a. Ms. Parker points at the "a" sub-classification denoted their use of Walschaerts valve gear while the J-2's sported Baker valve gear.
As the newer, heavier power ਊrrived (including newer 4-6-2s), older Pacifics and smaller designs were bumped from the main line and placed in secondary, branch line assignments around the system. By the 1920s the Mountains were handling most of the high priority passenger trains in the western mountain territory, aided by the newer Pacifics.
They remained primary power here until displaced by "Super Power" technology following the arrival of the superb 4-8-4 "Greenbriers" in 1935 (more came during the 1940s).
During World War II the J-1's were requisitioned for freight service, almost surely the result of their low drivers. &O historianugene Huddleston notes that after their issues were corrected the J-1's served many years on the mountain divisions as their low drivers provided good tractive effort while their large boilers offered ample quantities of steam.Chesapeake & Ohio 4-8-2 #549 is seen here during the 1950's. This Heavy Mountain was a USRA design, one of only 15 manufactured and the last in C&O's fleet.
The J-1's, returning to passenger assignments after the war for a few years and were finally retired in the late 1940s.uring the 1930s the J-2's also received an overhaul when C&O shop forces rebuilt them with new cabs, Vanderbilt tenders, feedwater heaters, and the classic "flying pumps" on the smokebox.
Both the flying pumps and feedwater heaters became a telltale, common feature on many of the C&O's late-era steam locomotives giving them a very robust, almost intimidating appearance.
The J-2's survived only a bit longer than their older cousins, remaining in service until 1952 when they, too, were retired. The Chesapeake & Ohio of that era carried a long-standing tradition of preserving steam but alas none of the ten Mountains were ever saved.
2-8-8-2 "Chesapeake" Locomotives
The first decade of the 20th century saw the development of extremely powerful steam locomotives. This began in 1904 when the Baltimore & Ohio acquired the first articulated steam locomotive in the United States, 0-6-6-0 #2400 or "Old Maude."
This soon led to the development of the 2-6-6-2 design and railroads came to greatly value the wheel arrangement for its efficiency in hauling extremely heavy tonnage at slow speeds in drag service.
Throughout the rest of the steam era the industry looked to improve upon the articulated design which culminated with models like the 4-6-6-4 Challenger and 4-8-8-4 Big Boy.
No other railroad embraced the 2-8-8-2 like the aforementioned Norfolk & Western. The eastern coal-hauler owned a multitude of these locomotives which it listed as Class Y many were manufactured by the railroad's own shop forces in Roanoke and were some of the finest ever built.
Just like when the 2-6-6-2 was developed railroads never came up with a nickname, or any name, for the locomotive (it's often referred to today as a "Mallet Mogul," Southern Pacific's term for the wheel arrangement).
This was similarly the case with the 2-8-8-2 although the C&O came to call theirs Chesapeakes, a name that stuck for the design (the Southern Pacific's, however, termed theirs as Mallet Consolidations and then later as Articulated Consolidations after being converted to simple expansion).
Interestingly, the concept for this more powerful locomotive became reality when the 2-6-6-2 was still being refined and manufactured. In 1909 the SP took delivery of its Class MC-2/MC-4 2-8-8-2s, the first of its legendary Cab Forwards for use in the the tunnels and snowsheds of its main line through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. T
he railroad came to love the locomotive, which used oil as its primary fuel source, for its pulling power and reliability, ultimately owning more than 90 examples among eight different class designations.
Other Articulated/Mallet Designs: Specifications, Photos, Overview
The idea for the 2-8-8-2 stemmed not only from the earlier 2-6-6-2 but also the 0-8-8-0 Class L1's developed for the Erie Railroad. These big steamers were actually Camelbacks the only such Mallet designed this way, manufactured by the American Locomotive Company's Schenectady plant in 1907.
The locomotives were numbered 2600-2602 and could produce a hefty 88,900 pounds of tractive effort. The L1s came to be known as the Angus type on the railroad thanks to comments by a noted industry write, Angus Sinclair, who stated that the Mallets' requirement for massive amounts of water would see all of America's canals run dry.
The Erie would eventually have the Camelbacks rebuilt as 2-8-8-2s by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1921 with superheaters and mechanical stokers. The company continued to use them in service until 1930 when they were scrapped.
The Mallet Type (pronounced “Ma-lay”) was a unique steam locomotive design that is often mistakenly (from a technical standpoint anyway) referred to as most or all articulated types.
The locomotive gets is name from the person who invented it, Anatole Mallet of Switzerland. The Mallet was a compound design and essentially housed two engines under one frame.
With its six or more sets of axles the locomotive could produce awesome levels of adhesion and horsepower, which railroads found to be very beneficial, particularly in mountainous regions.
For instance, B&O's 0-6-6-0 could produce 50% more tractive effort than a Consolidation making it ideal for heavy freight service where many Mallets were used.
A year after SP began using 2-8-8-2s the Northern Pacific purchased five in 1910 which was the same year that all large main line steamers came standard with superheaters. A superheater works through a series of coils containing freshly created steam that pass through flue gasses to increase the temperature of the steam and make it more powerful.
Once steam has passed through these superheater coils, it adds 25 to 30 percent more power to a locomotive. The name "Chesapeake" to describe the 2-8-8-2 came from the C&O, which did not receive its first batch of the wheel arrangement until 1924.
These behemoths were built by Alco, numbered 1540-1565, and could produce an impressive 108,500 pounds of tractive effort. Listed by the railroad as Class H-7 they generally saw use between Russell, Kentucky and Columbus, Ohio (in all the C&O owned 50 2-8-8-2s with its second batch purchased from Baldwin).
As is generally the case when it comes to steam locomotives, the Norfolk & Western rostered the most powerful 2-8-8-2s. Its first order for the locomotive came from Baldwin in 1910, just five units numbered 995-999 and listed as Class Y-1.
In 1918 and 1919 it came back for more purchasing 109 units (numbers 1700-1730 and 2000-2079) from various builders listed as Classes Y2/a and Y3/a.
The N&W found the 2-8-8-2s incredibly useful for pulling heavy coal trains primarily along its Pocahontas Division between Bluefield, Virginian and Williamson, West Virginia where the bulk of its black diamonds originated.
These early classes could produce between 78,000 and 114,000 pounds of tractive effort. In 1927 the N&W ordered its final batch of 2-8-8-2s from a manufacturer, the Class Y3bs and Y4s built by Alco, totaling ten units numbered 2080-2089.
After this time the railroad simply built its own Chesapeakes (it can be argued that the N&W's own shop forces were the most highly advanced steam designers and builders to be found anywhere in the country, able to obtain every once of efficiency possible from a particular wheel arrangement).
In 1930 the N&W began outshopping its Y4a and Y5 classes that could produce nearly 127,000 pounds of tractive effort. Its final two classes, the Y6 and Y6b built between 1942 and 1948 could produce the same tractive effort and varied slightly from the Y4a/Y5.
In all there were nearly two dozen railroads that rostered 2-8-8-2 Chesapeakes and not all were large or well known systems including lines like the Interstate Railroad, Clinchfield, and Buffalo, Rochester, & Pittsburgh (a later B&O subsidiary).
Norfolk & Western 2-8-8-2 (Class Y)
The Norfolk & Western's fleet of Class Y 2-8-8-2's included a very large roster of compound Mallets it first put into service in 1912. The initial variants, essentially experimentals, were not well received and quickly scrapped. However, later improvements during World War I saw these locomotives blossom into a huge success for the N&W.
The railroad would ultimately roster hundreds upon which it used ahead of heavy freights over the stiff grades west of Roanoke, Virginia although the big articulateds also worked east of the terminal. Over the years they were upgraded and overhauled with many remaining in service until the very end of steam on the N&W, in 1960!
Today, two examples are preserved Class Y-3a #2050 at the Illinois Railway Museum and Class Y-6a #2156 on display at the Virginia Museum of Transportation (currently on loan from the St. Louis Museum of Transportation). Interestingly, when Wick Moorman was president and CEO of Norfolk Southern the railroad paid homage to its heritage by featuring some photo ops of #2156 along the old N&W main line.
The Class Y's were an outgrowth of Norfolk & Western's first successful articulated Mallets, the 2-6-6-2 Class Z's. The 2-8-8-2's first entered service on the railroad in 1912 when it was experimenting with the new concept of compound Mallets.
This design was all the rage after the B&O successfully demonstrated its awesome tractive effort in slow drag service in 1904 by testing 0-6-6-0 #2400, "Old Maude." The first five were numbered 995-999 and given Class Y-1, products of the Baldwin Locomotive Works.
However, unproven and lacking any previous historical study these initial 2-8-8-2's (sometimes referred to as the "Chesapeake" type, which was used by the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway although it was first tested on the Southern Pacific and referred to there as the Mallet Consolidation) were mechanically problematic and not well received by the N&W. They were all scrapped by 1924.
Shortly thereafter the railroad tested Chesapeake & Ohio's successful 2-6-6-2's and was very impressed with their abilities by 1918 it had rostered a large fleet (nearly 200) based from the C&O's design.
Learning a great deal about the compound Mallet design the N&W went back to the 2-8-8-2 wheel arrangement in 1918 some it built itself while others came from Baldwin. These examples were given Class Y-2 and numbered 1700-1730.
They carried low, 56-inch drivers (for increased traction at slow speeds), weighed around 526,000 pounds (engine only), and offered nearly 111,000 pounds of tractive effort. The Y-2's were followed up soon after by the Y-3's of 1919.
These variants proved the largest single class of 2-8-8-2's the N&W ever rostered with eighty (2000-2079) in service by 1923 the first 50 were manufactured to USRA's standard heavy 2-8-8-2 design while 30 others (Class Y-3a) were built in 1923. Most of these locomotives were manufactured by Alco's Richmond or Schenectady works while Baldwin produced five.Norfolk & Western 2-8-8-2 #2132 (Y-6) steams southbound/westbound with empties through rural Bonsack, Virginia on October 12, 1955. Note the canteen. Photographer unknown.
The Y-3's were similar to the Y-2's but were somewhat heavier and offered slightly more tractive effort (around 114,000 pounds) with 57-inch drivers (found on all future variants).
The 2-8-8-2's were N&W's main stable of power in freight service during the late steam era. Thomas Dixon, Jr. notes in his book, "Norfolk & Western Steam: The Last 30 Years," the railroad came to roster a total of 232 2-8-8-2's ranging from Class Y-1 through Y-6b.
They were the workhorse of freight operations and many, even the earlier classes (except the Y-1's), could still be found in service during the postwar years while the newer variants survived until the final days of steam. The railroad liked the wheel arrangement so much it was still building 2-8-8-2's into the early 1950s!
Following the Y-3's were the Y-4's of 1927. These 10 examples, originally designated Y-3b, were numbered 2080-2089, and built by Alco's Richmond facility in 1927.
Next up were the Y-5's, a batch of 30 outshopped between 1930-1931, numbered 2090-2119. Perhaps not surprisingly given the company's stature, these home-built machines were far more powerful than any previous 2-8-8-2 the railroad then had in service they weighed 583,000 pounds and offered 127,00 pounds of tractive effort while boiler pressure reached 300 psi.
The Y-5's were not based from USRA recommendations signaling just how far the N&W had evolved in building high quality steam locomotives.
They were so powerful a single Y-5 could handle 5,000 tons between Bluefield, West Virginia and Roanoke, Virginia, alone 12,000 tons between Eckman and Williamson, West Virginia and 8,000 tons between Roanoke and Crewe, Virginia.
The final class included the Y-6 and its variants. The initial batch rolled out of Roanoke between 1936 and 1940 numbered 2120-2154 they were roughly as powerful as the Y-5's. They differed in their technological advancements including roller bearings on all journals (greatly reducing wear and maintenance) and automatic lubricators on virtually all moving parts.
The Y-6's were followed up by the Y-6a's of 1942 (#2155-2170) and the most powerful and efficient of all, the Y-6b's. These locomotives, #2171-2200 were outshopped between April of 1948 and April of 1952.
The railroad used all of its experience and wisdom over the years in developing its compounds to produce a locomotive that could exert 5,500 horsepower no single-engine diesel was available with such horsepower until the 1990s. The Y-6b's could be found on freight assignments all across the N&W's system.
As Mr. Dixon notes the earlier Y-6's and Y-6a's, as well as many of the Y-5's, were overhauled to match similar specifications to the Y-6b's. Interestingly, only one year after the F7 test N&W began placing orders for diesels from Electro-Motive in 1955.
However, it didn't purchase covered wagons and instead wound up with a fleet of 301 GP9's. It would eventually roster several models from EMD, those of Alco, and a few from General Electric.
Chesapeake & Ohio 2-8-2 (Class K)
The Chesapeake & Ohio's first, larger class of freight locomotives included its fleet of 2-8-2 Mikados. These steamers first entered service before World War I and the railroad continued buying them through the 1920s, until the company switched to purchasing "Super Power" designs (beginning with the 2-10-4's of 1930 followed by even more powerful models through World War II). The C&O listed theirs as Class K and while many were purchased new others came via acquisition of the Hocking Valley Railway (Ohio), Pere Marquette Railway (Michigan), and a short line in West Virginia. The Mikes remained in service until the early 1950s when the remainder were retired. Alas, no examples of this class were ever preserved.
As on most of the large Class I's, C&O's 2-8-2's could be found in all types of freight assignments. They normally handled medium/heavy freights, handling everything from merchandise to coal. In typical Chessie fashion the Mikes featured the trademark "flying air pumps" on the smokebox, giving them a robust and somewhat intimidating appearance.
The application of a trailing truck on a steam locomotive was nothing new during the late 19th century. However, it had never before been applied to a design sporting four driving axles (eight wheels total). The first 2-8-2 rolled out on the Lehigh Valley in 1883 as an experimental design born through a rebuilt 2-10-0 Camelback. The name "Mikado" (referring to a Japanese emperor) was applied to a batch of narrow-gauge 2-8-2s manufactured by the Baldwin Locomotive Works for Japan Railways in 1893. ਊs the 20th century dawned the wheel arrangement slowly took hold and the first railroad to employ the design in standard road service was coal-hauler Virginian Railway during 1909.
The Chesapeake & Ohio followed closely behind its neighbor acquiring its first 2-8-2 in 1911 from the American Locomotive Company (Richmond Works), listed as Class K-1 and numbered 800 (later renumbered 1100). ਊt the time the railroad was in the midst of upgrading its fleet to handle both heavier trains and increase speeds on passenger/expedited movements. Its fleet of 2-8-0s, 4-6-0s, and elderly 4-4-0s could simply no longer handle the modern-day equipment and increasing demand for rail service. ਊs a result new 4-6-2's began appearing in 1902 followed by its first 2-6-6-2 Mallets in 1910 (Class H-1), and a year later the 4-8-2 Mountains entered service in 1911 (this wheel arrangement was born on the C&O). The new Mikados would be tasked with freight assignments on the flatter parts of the railroad for increased speeds via heavier trains.Chesapeake & Ohio 2-8-2 #1214 (Class K-3) switches coal hoppers at Ronceverte, West Virginia on October 22, 1952. The C&O owned hundreds of 2-8-2's, many manufactured by American Locomotive. All were scrapped by the early 1950's.
Following its first 2-8-2 the C&O ultimately wound up with sixty examples of K-1's from Alco's Richmond Works (#1100-1159). ਊt the time they offered ample power for the task at hand providing more than 63,000 pounds of tractive effort, 185 psi boiler pressure, weight of 315,000 pounds, and 57-inch drivers. Noted C&O historianugene Huddleston makes the point that the K-1's were very similar to the railroad's J-1 Mountains without, of course, the additional lead axle and slightly larger drivers (56 inches). The Mikados performed their jobs well although with ever-increasing demand by the 1920s the C&O was interested in more and placed an order for additional 2-8-2s in 1924.
These considerably larger and more powerful examples were listed as Class K-2 and K-3 once again the C&O stuck with Alco's Richmond Works for the order. They continued in sequential numbering for the K-2's (#1160-1209) and K-3's (#1210-1259) while the K-3a's were numbered 2300-2349 the new units, not considerably different from one another, slowly arrived on the C&O's property through 1926. ording to Thomas Dixon, Jr.'s book, "Chesapeake & Ohio Railway: ਊ Concise History And Fact Book," the new Mikados offered increased tractive efforts of 67,000 pounds, weighed considerably more (358,000 pounds), and their larger 63-inch drivers provided higher speeds. The arrival of these 2-8-2s proved to be some of the final non-articulated, non-Super Power designs the C&O purchased as the company opted for ever-larger, more powerful models to handle heavier trains.Chesapeake & Ohio 2-8-2 #1188 (K-2), a 1924 product of Alco's Richmond Works.
The PM was a rather significant road serving its home state of Michigan and owned a substantial number of Mikados totaling fifty units, #1101-1150, acquired between 1913 and 1927. These steamers were built by Baldwin and Alco while the rest of is roster came second-hand from the Wabash, Erie Railroad, New York Central, and Indiana Harbor Belt. None were as powerful as the Class K models with tractive efforts hovering around 55,00 pounds. Under the C&O the units were listed as Class K-5 through K-8. Most of these were retired or scrapped a few years after World War II while most of the C&O's other 2-8-2s continued in service until the early 1950s when diesels began arriving.
Chesapeake And Ohio Passenger Trains
George Washington : (Washington/Newport News - Cincinnati/Louisville)
Pere Marquette: (Detroit-Grand Rapids, Chicago-Grand Rapids/Muskegon, and Detroit-Saginaw)
Resort Special: Originally served Chicago and Petoskey but later connected Washington with White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
Sportsman : (Washington/Newport News - Cincinnati/Detroit)
The Virginia Commonwealth of the early 19th century was a forward-thinking state and a big proponent of railroads, realizing their potential in opening trade and economic opportunities not only within its own borders but also beyond.
Its Piedmont region could support diverse types of agriculture, which persists through today, and the Louisa was utilized by farmers to ship their products to market. In 1850 the company was renamed the Virginia Central as its promoters eyed expansion across the state and even further west.The Chesapeake & Ohio Railway logo. Author's work.
According to Thomas Dixon, Jr.'s, "Chesapeake & Ohio Railway: ਊ Concise History And Fact Book," the road's ultimate goal was to reach the Shenandoah Valley and what is today the state of West Virginia (then Western Virginia).
It also saw the potential in a direct link to Richmond, despite protestations from the RF&P, which now viewed the VC as a rival. The RF&P's efforts were in vain as the VC reached the state capital the same year it acquired its new name.A string of first-generation Geeps with GP7 #5805 closest to the photographer, are serviced at Gladstone, Virginia on an overcast October 26, 1969. Roger Puta photo.
In 1857 the VC had expanded as far westward as Jackson's River Station near present-day Clifton Forge via Gordonsville, Charlottesville, and Staunton offering it a network of around 192 miles.
Even before the Louisa Railroad had been renamed the state stepped in to assist its future westward extension by chartering the Blue Ridge Railroad in 1849 to tackle the Blue Ridge Mountains.
This line's most impressive engineering feature was thelue Ridge Tunnel (also known as the Crozet Tunnel) designed by engineer Claudius Crozet. It was located at Rockfish Gap and spanned 4,237 feet, opening for service in 1858.
The bore became an Historic Civil Engineering Landmark and remained in use until 1942 when the C&O opened a new tunnel to replace the original.
The Blue Ridge Railroad was leased by the VC in 1858 as it looked to finally reach Covington. Unfortunately, the Civil War broke out in 1861 and further construction ceased.
The Virginia Central was a vital asset for the Confederacy during the conflict but was heavily damaged by both sides. ꂯter hostilities ended in May of 1865 crews needed until July 23rd to get the road back in service.
Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Timetable (1940)
Enter Collis Huntington, who is best remembered for his work in building the western leg of the Transcontinental Railroad. In 1869, just after this project was completed, Huntington pumped new life into the C&O by funding its push towards the west.
The railroad followed the Covington & Ohio's routing, reaching Ronceverte along the banks of the Greenbrier River before turning north from Hinton. This town lay within the beautiful New River Gorge and rails snaked their way along the waterway until reaching Gauley Bridge where it became the Kanawha River.
Why The Name, "George Washington's Railroad?"
It all began with the James River Company, envisioned by Washington in 1785 as an efficient transportation artery to connect eastern and western Virginia at the Ohio River.
He planned the canal system himself, using the James River across much of the state's eastern and central regions before picking up others, such as the Kanawha and New Rivers, to reach the Ohio.
It opened its first seven miles between Richmond and Westham, Virginia in 1790. It was built no further during Washington's life but did see a bit of commercial traffic until its acquisition by the state in 1820.
In 1835 it was reincorporated as the James River & Kanawha Canal Company, reaching Buchanan by 1851. This proved the extent of its network due to increasing competition from the railroad.Before the Chesapeake & Ohio and Baltimore & Ohio merged the two interchanged at Kenova, West Virginia near Huntington where the former's main line met the latter's Ohio River Branch. Here, B&O steamers can be seen to the left while C&O GP9's hustle a coal drag in a scene that probably dates to the 1950s. Author's collection.
The company fell into receivership in 1883 and emerged on May 20, 1889 as the Richmond & Alleghany Railway, upon which time it was acquired by the C&O (the company purchased it outright on January 20, 1890).
In addition, the route's canal history and ties to Washington allowed the C&O, albeit somewhat indirectly, to claim a heritage to our nation's first president. Today, the corridor remains heavily used by CSX Transportation.
The route continued its way into Charleston, the future capital of West Virginia, before turning away near St. Albans and terminating at the Ohio River near the mouth of the Big Sandy River. The latter location became the town of Huntington, named for the tycoon, himself.
It would eventually become the location of the railroad's major locomotive maintenance and repair shops. The C&O was officially completed at Hawk's Nest, West Virginia along the New River Gorge on January 29, 1873.
Unfortunately, that year coincided with a severe recession as a result of a financial panic and the C&O struggled to remain solvent. Huntington had intended to use the railroad as a means of piecing together a true transcontinental railroad but the economic downturn was too great and the C&O fell into receivership in 1878.
It was soon reorganized as the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, setting the stage for what became a highly profitable system. uring June of 1879, Huntington formed the Newport News & Mississippi Valley to complete a through route from Ashland to Lexington, Kentucky.
Through service between Ashland and Lexington commenced during December of 1881 while trackage rights over the Louisville & Nashville enabled the C&O to reach Louisville. That same year the C&O pushed rails eastward into Newport News, finally providing it an east coast port.
Huntington had managed to maintain control of the railroad, even after its bankruptcy, until 1888 when, according to Mike Schafer's, "More Classic American Railroads," he lost out to Cornelius Vanderbilt (of New York Central fame) and J.P. Morgan.
A new ownership was for the best while Huntington had funded the C&O's continued expansion he had spent little on upgrading the company to modern standards. ਊ new management team did just that and by the turn of the 20th century it was poised to be a very successful enterprise.Chesapeake & Ohio SW7 #5218 totes a caboose through the east end of Rockwell Yard in Chicago as the engineer of a GP30 looks on during January, 1965. Roger Puta photo.
In the meantime, it spent the rest of the century continuing to grow with a near-limitless cash flow. On December 25, 1888 the C&O opened service to Cincinnati, Ohio following the southern bank of the Ohio River via Ashland, Augusta, and Covington, Kentucky.
It blossomed into a major coal carrier at this time, adding branches across southern West Virginia and eastern Kentucky (here, an important connection was also made with the Clinchfield Railroad at Elkhorn City) to tap new mines, a process that continued through 1920. The road spent heavily to improve bridges, update tunnels, and position itself to handle the increased traffic demands for years to come.
It constructed shop and/or yard complexes in Charlottesville, Gladstone, and Clifton Forge, Virginia Handley, West Virginia and Russell, Kentucky. In 1891 the C&O obtained trackage rights over the Virginia Midland Railroad between Orange and Washington, D.C. which provided a key connection to the nation's capital.
The VMRR would soon become a subsidiary of the new Southern Railway system. Much of the C&O's growth during the 20th century through acquisition and not new construction.Chessie, in addition to Nip and Tuck.
Chessie , The Famous Kitten
The creator of the sleeping kitten image was an artist by the name of Guido Grenewald who had created the cute feline to promote animal kindness.
In 1933, Lionel Probert, who headed the C&O's public relations and marketing department, saw Grenewald's piece and was instantly drawn to its potential. ਊt the time, Probert was looking for a way to showcase the railroad's new air-conditioned sleeping cars while also revitalizing sagging patronage.
He purchased Grenewald's rendering for $5, came up with the name Chessie (named after the railroad), and added the slogan, "Sleep Like A Kitten And Wake Up Fresh As A Daisy In Air-Conditioned Comfort."
The first advertisement appeared in Fortune Magazine's September, 1933 issue and was an instant success. y 1934, Chessie , had appeared in more than 40,000 pieces of media, from newspapers to calendars."Peake," the father cat to "Chessie," the kitten.
The company's passenger traffic soared and the advertising campaign remains one of the most successful of all time even today the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Historical Society continues to sell calendars and other memorabilia featuring Chessie (when the kitten debuted demand was so high that the C&O could not keep merchandise in stock).
The kitten's success resulted in two additional mascots joining it, named Nip and Tuck, as well as a father cat named Peake. The three additional felines continued to appear in advertisements through 1948.
Of course, Chessie’sꃎlebrity status did not end with merchandise and advertising, the kitten became synonymous with the C&O her celebrity was reignited in the early 1970s when the Chessie System, a holding company for the C&O, B&O, and Western Maryland, overlaid the kitten’s silhouette in the Chessie System "C" adorning the railroads new vermilion, yellow, and blue livery.
This road, covering 284.5 miles between Cincinnati and Hammond, Indiana, gave Chessieirect access into the Windy City thanks to friendly trackage rights with other lines.Chesapeake & Ohio's "George Washington" arrives at the station in Alexandria, Virginia on April 12, 1969. Roger Puta photo.
Looking beyond Chicago the company's leadership worked its way further into the Midwest also in 1910 it acquired the Hocking Valley Railway, which stretched from Toledo to Athens, Jackson, Gallipolis, and Pomeroy, Ohio via Columbus.
However, by 1927 it had completed its own connection and now had a through route across the Buckeye State (the railroad formally merged the HV into its network in 1930).Chesapeake & Ohio steam turbine #500 (M-1) during its trials in 1947. The locomotive was meant to power the streamliner "Chessie," ultimately never launched, in an attempt to prove that advancements in steam technology could still compete against the diesel. It was just over 140 feet in length with a top speed of 100 mph. Unfortunately, Baldwin, Westinghouse, and C&O engineers could never work out the numerous troubleshooting issues and gave up on the design.
Following the Great Depression Chessie's success only increased: sustained by strong coal earnings it weathered the 1930s rather easily, a decade which saw the birth of Chessie, a marketing sensation.
The merger was approved by the Interstate Commerce Commission on December 31, 1962. However, rather than merge the B&O out of existence the railroad chose to gradually combine the two, slowly merging departments and other management areas.The original version of Chesapeake & Ohio's, "Chessie," the sleeping kitten.
The new Chessie System would become quite a juggernaut, earning substantial profits throughout the 1970s, one of only a handful to do so during a darkest days of the industry's history.
The Chessie System, however, would last a mere eight years as an independent company in 1980 the Chessie roads and those of the Family Lines/Seaboard Coast Line Industries (which was a holding company for a number of southeastern railroads including the Seaboard Coast Line and Louisville & Nashville) formed CSX Corporation on November 1st.
Diesel Locomotive Roster
American Locomotive Company
|Model Type||Road Number||Date Built||Quantity|
Baldwin Locomotive Works
|Model Type||Road Number||Date Built||Quantity|
Electro-Motive Corporation/Electro-Motive Division
|Model Type||Road Number||Date Built||Quantity|
|NW2||1850-1856, 5200-5213, 5060-5079||1948-1949||41|
|GP35||3045, 3047, 3520-3539, 3560-3575||1964||38|
|GP40-2||4165-4184, 4262-4286, 4372-4421||1972-1980||95|
|SW9||5080-5099, 5245-5265, 5090-5093||1951-1953||45|
|GP7||5700-5719, 5739-5797, 5800-5855, 5860-5900||1950-1953||176|
|TR4||6000A, 6000B (Calf), 6001A, 6001B (Calf)||1950||4|
|TR3||6500A-6501A, 6500C, 6500B (Calf), 6501C, 6501B (Calf)||1949||6|
|SD40||7450-7469, 7475-7481, 7501-7536||1966-1971||63|
|Model Type||Road Number||Date Built||Quantity|
Steam Locomotive Roster
|B-2, B-3||Santa Fe||2-10-2|
|C (Various)||Switcher||0-8-0, 0-6-0, 0-10-0|
|F-15 Through F-20||Pacific||4-6-2|
|H-2 Through H-6||Mallet||2-6-6-2|
|K-1, K-2, K-3, K-5, K-6, K-8||Mikado||2-8-2|
The creation of CSX entered the C&O into its last of many long and storied chapters eventually a new subsidiary known as CSX Transportation was formed to operate the company's railroad assets.
Unfortunately, most of its route to Chicago has been abandoned in favor of the B&O's line and the segment to Lexington is no longer part of its network. In addition, most of ex-Pere Marquette trackage has either been sold or abandoned.
The Chesapeake & Ohio Railway will always be remembered for the excellent railroad it operated throughout much of the 20th century and Chessie the kitten remains beloved by millions, decades since the railroad has disappeared.
Chesapeake & Ohio 2-8-4 "Kanawha" (Class K)
The 2-8-4 wheel arrangement was a popular design after it first debuted in the 1920s on the Boston & Albany with several railroads employing at least one example in regular service over the next two decades.
The Chesapeake & Ohio was late to adopt the style although its versions went on to become one of the most powerful ever built. Since the railroad was located nowhere near the Berkshire Mountains of New England it believed naming its 2-8-4s as such was irrelevant.
As a result it chose a much more appropriate term for its region of operation, "Kanawhas." Since the locomotives were manufactured during the World War II era most saw barely a decade of service before retirement. However, thanks to the C&O's efforts of preservation, a dozen still survive today.
In addition, one is under restoration #2716. During the 1990's this locomotive was operational and is once again undergoing overhaul by the Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation of Ravenna, Kentucky. Their efforts are to a strong start after acquiring a former Louisville & Nashville engine shop located there, donated by CSX Transportation.Chesapeake & Ohio 2-8-4 #2725 (K-4) leads its freight train through Ashland, Kentucky on September 21, 1947. Better known as "Kanawhas" these late-era steamers were manufactured by American Locomotive and Lima during the 1940's. Today, the Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation is restoring #2716.
The design had been around since 1925, ushering in what became known as "Super Power" steam locomotives. Interestingly, despite the inherent advantages the new 2-8-4 offered in terms of power and speed it was many years until the C&O adopted the design, and the last in the Van Sweringen empire.
The brothers owned several railroads during the early 20th century which included the C&O, Pere Marquette, Nickel Plate Road, and Erie. ording to Thomas Dixon, Jr.'s book, "Chesapeake & Ohio K-4 Class 2-8-4 Steam Locomotives," one reason the C&O may have been late to utilize the design was a large order of superbly built 2-8-2 Mikados it had purchased in the mid-1920s (Class K-2 and K-3/a).
The first use of 2-8-4s on a Van Sweringen property was the Erie's Class S in September of 1927 and during the next decade all of their railroads, except the C&O (which came under their control in 1923), operated what were known as "Van Sweringen Berkshires."
The brothers created the Advisory Mechanical Committee, or AMC, in 1929 as a means of standardizing locomotive designs across its properties and spent the next several years refining the 2-8-4. The C&O's first true Super Power design was the 2-10-4s, listed as Class T-1, it received from Lima in 1930.
Via the AMC's 1929 recommendations the locomotives were modeled after Erie's 2-8-4's and, as Mr. Dixon notes in his book, proved incredibly successful in service. The C&O liked them so well they purchased most of their future Super Power locomotives from Lima.Chesapeake & Ohio 4-8-4 "Greenbrier" #600 (J-3, named the "Thomas Jefferson") and 2-8-4 "Kanawha" #2740 (K-4) power the eastbound "Sportsman" out of Clifton Forge, Virginia in 1947. Robert Le Massena photo.
The railroad came up with the term "Kanawha" for this class for a number of reasons first, the Kanawha River was an important tributary in southern West Virginia that its main line followed and was also a subdivision named after this Iroquoian word meaning "water way" or "canoe way."
Thanks to their standardization and being virtually identical the K-4's were never sub-classed by the C&O as all future batches, purchased from both Lima and Alco, were listed simply as "Class K-4." When the last units entered service in 1947 the railroad had amassed an impressive fleet of 90 examples.
However, it was the Kanawhas which could typically be seen in regular service thanks to their 69-inch drivers and starting tractive effort of 69,350 pounds the 2-8-4s powered fast freights along the busy Kanawha Subdivision between Handley, West Virginia and Russell, Kentucky or moved heavy coal drags along one of the many branches in the region.
They also occasionally showed up on other areas of the C&O's network. The K-4's became so popular with train crews (which referred to them as "Big Mikes" in reference to the equally popular Mikados previously discussed) and versatile in service the railroad often featured them in promotional materiel and company timetables.
Aside from freight duties the Kanawhasਊlso found themselves working passenger service, thanks in part to their general good looks, with speeds reaching 70 mph. ਊnd the K-4's were not just leading typical, unnamed consists they could be found ahead of the C&O's top trains such as the Sportsmanਊnd Fast Flying Virginian.
Mr. Dixon's book points out that after October of 1948 their passenger assignments declined with the arrival of new power. uring nearly the entirety of their careers the K-4's rarely ventured west or north of Cincinnati, Ohio. Into the 1950s they continued working a variety of assignments, mostly manifest freights or heavy coal movements.
Similar to neighbor Norfolk & Western the C&O believed fervently in steam power and was reluctant to make the switch to diesels. While the company recognized the efficiency of the new motive power other factors led to the eventual switch to diesels such as difficulty in finding replacement parts and the general decline of the auxiliary market."Chesapeake & Ohio Class K-4 #2765" hustles the New River Train along the ex-C&O main line in southern West Virginia during the fall of 1993. Actually, this is Nickel Plate Road #765 dressed as #2765 for this popular excursion. Dan Robie photo.
Today, 12 of these remain preserved (#2701 sat on display in Buffalo, New York but was severely damaged by vandals and later scrapped) and through the 1990's one still operated, #2716, where it was also once used as part of Southern's steam program in the 1980's.
It is currently owned by the Kentucky Railroad Museum where there has been on-again/off-again hope of its restoration one day. itionally, #2789 is under restoration at the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum although there is no real timetable as to when this project may be completed.
Many of the Kanawha'surrently preserved currently sit on static display outdoors in poor condition. The twelve examples of K-4's still in existence include #2700, #2705, #2707, #2716, #2727, #2732, #2736, #2755, #2756, #2760, #2776, and #2789.
Built for hauling freight through the Allegheny Mountains, the locomotives were given the nickname "Alleghenies". Each H-8 cost around $230,000. They could operate an 11,500-ton coal train at up to 45 mph and up to 60 pulling passenger trains. They also had the heaviest axle load of any steam locomotive, with a maximum axle load of 86,700 lbs.  Gene Huddleston's book, "C&O Power", reports tests of the C&O with a dynamometer car indicating momentary readings of 7,498 hp (5.6 MW) with readings between 6,700 to 6,900 hp (5.0 to 5.1 MW) at about 45 mph (72 km/h). No one has published a higher dynamometer horsepower for any steam locomotive. The locomotive was built to power coal trains on the 0.57% eastward climb from White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia to Alleghany, Virginia. With one at the front and another at the back, 11,500-ton coal trains left Hinton, WV and were at full throttle from White Sulphur Springs to the top of the grade at Alleghany. C&O's 2-6-6-6s also handled coal trains from West Virginia to Columbus, Ohio. Huddleston says that 23 locomotives were equipped with steam piping for heating passenger trains. Upon dieselisation, retirement started in 1952 and by 1956, all of the Alleghenies have been retired.
No. 1642 suffered a crown sheet failure and subsequent boiler explosion at Hinton, WV in June, 1953. The crew did not survive the blast.
War of 1812 (1812–1815)
The war brought new devastation to the region. The Bay was the economic and political hub of the young nation, and Baltimore was a major port. The British conducted coastal raids in 1813. Controlled by an English blockade, the Bay was used by the British Navy to disrupt trade. In 1814, Maryland was hard hit when the British attacked several towns, defeated an American army at Bladensburg, burned public buildings in Washington, D.C., and defeated the Americans again at North Point. The Americans repelled the British at Baltimore. Some fighting continued, but both sides were ready for peace. They signed the Treaty of Ghent on December 24, 1814, ending America's Second War for Independence.
The war's aftermath was a time of great change for the Chesapeake Bay region. Wealthy families in the Coastal Plain concentrated on expanding the plantation system, based on the labor of enslaved Africans. Though the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers retained importance for travel and trade, a new road system connected plantations to rural towns, larger cities and ports, and interior communities. Baltimore and Richmond became urban centers. On the same day, July 4, 1828, construction began on two competing transportation routes: the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. The race was on to link the promising resources and markets of the western territories to the Chesapeake Bay—and the world beyond.
No. 1225 was built in 1941 by Lima Locomotive Works (LLW) for the Pere Marquette Railway (PM). PM ordered this type of locomotive in three batches from Lima: class N in 1937 (PM road numbers 1201–1215), class N-1 in 1941 (numbers 1216–1227) and class N-2 in 1944 (numbers 1228–1239). 1225 cost $200,000 to build in 1941 ($3,519,005 in current dollars). The build was complete on December 6, 1941, and delivered to the Pere Marquette.
The locomotives remained on the roster through the PM's merger into Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (C&O) in 1947 class N locomotives were renumbered to 2685–2699, class N-1 to 2650–2661, and class N-2 to 2670–2681. Part of the merger agreement, however, included the stipulation that locomotives that were acquired and fully paid for by PM would remain painted for PM after the merger. Although all the Berkshires received new numbers, only class N engines were repainted into standard C&O livery and renumbered. The majority of the class N locomotives were scrapped between 1954 and 1957, but class N-1s 1223 and 1225 were both preserved.
For the first part of its service life, 1225 was used to shuttle steel and wartime freight between Detroit, Saginaw, Flint and northern Indiana steel mills.
Retired from service in 1951, 1225 was sent to scrap, in New Buffalo, Michigan. In 1955, Michigan State University Trustee, Forest Akers, the former VP of Dodge Motors, was asked by C&O Chairman Cyrus Eaton if the University would be interested in having a steam locomotive (Eaton did not want to scrap the engines but was having a hard time finding places that would accept them) so that engineering students would have a piece of real equipment to study. Forest Akers thought it was a good idea and proposed the idea to University President John Hannah. John Hannah accepted the gift of the locomotive. When he told the Dean of the College of Engineering about the gift, the Dean said that Engineering was not interested in an obsolete locomotive. John Hannah then called up Dr. Rollin Baker, director of the MSU Museum and told him that he was getting a locomotive.  The C&O then instructed the yardmaster at New Buffalo to send an engine to the Wyoming Shops for a cosmetic restoration and repainting with the name Chesapeake and Ohio on the side. Lighted number boards were added as was the standard for C&O engines, though the Pere Marquette Railway never used them. Eventually, the Michigan State Trust for Railway Preservation, operating at the Steam Railway Institute, decided to remove these. No. 1225 was the last engine in the line, i.e. easiest to get out.  It had nothing to do with the number representing Christmas Day. The Christmas Day myth seems to have arisen after the publication of the book, "Polar Express". Chris Van Allsburg took notice of the number.
Baker received the gift of the locomotive in 1957 when it was brought to campus. The locomotive remained on static display near Spartan Stadium on the Michigan State campus in East Lansing, Michigan for more than a decade. While on display, a child by the name of Chris Van Allsburg used to stop by the locomotive on football weekends, on his way to the game with his father. He later stated that the engine was the inspiration for the story, Polar Express.
During the time that Akers was alive, til 1966, money was allocated to paint and display the engine.  In 1969, a group of MSU students formed the Michigan State University Railroad Club as a railfan group. Steve Reeves, a student and part-time employee of the Museum, whose responsibility was to display the engine on football weekends, sent out a notice in the State News that the Railroad Club would be meeting. Those early meetings did not discuss the restoration of the engine. Instead, they were slide shows of engines various members had seen on trips across the US, most of which were diesels. In 1970, at the suggestion of Randy Paquette, the club investigated the possibility of restoring the locomotive to running condition and started on that goal in 1971, with Baker's permission. Baker later stated that he thought having students be occupied with restoring a locomotive was far more in keeping with his idea of the image the university should be presenting than campus protests. Dr. Breslin, the university vice president, was not so sure. After the club started removing the sheet metal and exposing a rusty boiler, Breslin sent Baker to the engine with two messages. The first was the instruction to paint the engine. (The university needs to look good, even when it is being worked on). The second message was the day the students stop working on the engine is the day the torches come out. The locomotive was safe as long as the students kept working on it. To emphasize, he had the hopper car next to the engine cut up the next week.
The students fired up the boiler in 1975 and blew the 1225's whistle for the first time in two decades. The MSU Railroad Club had looked to engine 1223 at the State Fairgrounds for parts. The Michigan Railroad Club, then custodians of that engine, objected, so needed parts were fabricated. As of 2016, 1223 is preserved in a lakeside park in Grand Haven, Michigan.
In 1976, Chuck Julian talked to Dr. Baker about the locomotive. He asked Baker if he understood what members were asking in 1970, when they said that they wanted to restore the locomotive. Baker said that he fully understood. He thought that he would rather students be known for being involved in restoring a locomotive than known for protesting the war.
In 1977, Dr. Edgar Harden became the University Interim President. Chuck Julian, as President of the MSU Railroad Club, went to his reception and made an appointment to see him. Harden was asked about the engine's future. The Railroad Club had fired the engine and it was nearing operability. Harden said that the University was not interested in running a locomotive and if it was, it would be run by all university employees. He said that if the Railroad Club wanted to run the engine, it should form a 501(c)(3) corporation and then he would give the club the engine.
In that meeting, Dr. Harden told Chuck Julian that the University was closing the Shaw Lane Power Plant and planned to pull up the tracks. The railroad had informed the University that it did not want to maintain a switch on a line not being used. With no switch, there was no need to keep the track. If the Club wanted to be able to get the engine off the display track and onto the mainline, it needed to move it soon. Dr. Harden gave the MSURRC permission to connect the display track to the siding and move the engine over to a part of the track near the police station, with the provision that the club provide a bond, remove the fence, stairs and all of its belongings from the display site, then tear up the track put down along with the display track. The Club also had to repair the sidewalk that it needed to go through after it was done and generally clean up the site.
Colin Williams, of Williams Brothers Asphalt Paving Co. of Ionia, Michigan provided the Club with a surety bond, a dump truck, a front-end loader and a bulldozer plus operators to run the equipment which was used to build the grade. Club members then tore up the track next to the engine and laid it down behind the engine. The engine was then rolled down the tracks. Chuck Julian, Dave Jones, an equipment operator from Williams Brothers, Dick Grieves, and a group of Hmong refugees who volunteered their time, then spent the next three days with the Williams Brothers equipment restoring the site, including casting a new concrete sidewalk. Williams Brothers sent a grader from Ionia to fine grade the site after they were done with the bulk cleanup, including loading debris into the dump truck and rails onto a flatbed and hauling all of it to Ionia.
Dr. Harden said that if the Club could find another place on campus that was suitable, it could move the engine to it. He assigned Ted Simmons and the head of the Landscape Arts Department the task of working with Chuck Julian to find a place. They visited several places. Ted Simmons was not willing to give up a siding at Power Plant 65 for the engine. The Club would need to build one if it wanted one. The Club would not be able to build a cheap structure. If the Club or later the Trust wanted a structure, it would need to be built by contractors after the university approved the design.
This set Club members to looking for a new site. Several were looked at. The Ann Arbor Railroad had gone bankrupt at the time and the State of Michigan became the owner of its assets. Hank Londo spoke to his state Senator and arranged for the new Michigan State Trust for Railway Preservation (MSTRP) to lease the Owosso engine shop. The engine and all of its equipment were then moved there. This was a great place to move because the engine shop had a lot of equipment that would be useful in restoring the engine.
The MSU Railroad Club and supporters of "Project 1225" formed the Michigan State Trust for Railway Preservation in 1978. Chuck Julian, then president of the MSU Railroad Club, became the Trust's first President. Soon after, the MSTRP was given ownership of 1225 by Michigan State University. The MSTRP moved 1225 to the former Ann Arbor Railroad steam backshop in Owosso in 1983.
1225 moved under its own power on November 30, 1985 for the first time since its retirement in 1951. The first excursion service occurred in 1988 on a 17-mile trip between Owosso and St. Charles, Michigan. In August 1991, 1225 along with NKP 765 pulled a 31-car passenger train during the National Railway Historical Society's annual convention in Huntington, West Virginia.
The Trust started using the name, Steam Railroading Institute because it was thought that this name better represented the goals of the organization. The official name is still Michigan State Trust for Railway Preservation. The SRI name is registered as a DBA (Doing Business As), with the State of Michigan.
PM 1225 attended the Train Festival 2009  in Owosso, Michigan from July 23–26 as part of a fundraiser to raise money for 1225's upcoming 2010-2013 FRA overhaul. The national event showcased hundreds of train related items, events, and themes from around the country and some parts of the world. No. 1225 was not able to haul any excursions during the Festival due to 5 of its flues failing, which occurred on July 24. 1225 was on display during the rest of festival for people to visit the engine, chat with the crew, take photos, and explore the cab. On October 7, 2008, it was announced that NKP 765 would once again join 1225 at Train Festival, marking the first time the two Berk's have met each other since 1991. The famous Southern Pacific 4449 Daylight locomotive also attended the festival as one of the many attending engines along with the 1225 and 765. 1225 and 765 met up twice more that year, with a photo freight in August and an excursion in October.
The flue failing was later repeated on December 5 of that year, so in January 2010, 1225 went down for its required 15-year inspection, and it was found that the firebox sheets had deteriorated to the point of needing replacement. That program was largely completed through small and large donations of funds and labor by the organization's supporters. Approximately $900,000 had spent on 1225's FRA overhaul and on October 20, 2013. 1225 will run again for another 15 years until 2028 when its next overhaul work is due.
As of 2014, 1225 operates excursion trains over the Great Lakes Central Railroad (formally Tuscola and Saginaw Bay Railway) several times per year, including operations that leave Owosso and going to locations such as Alma, Clare, Mt. Pleasant, and Cadillac, Michigan. Since 2004, 1225 has hauled winter weekend excursions to Ashley, Michigan between Thanksgiving and the middle of December, due to copyright issues, as the "North Pole Express."
In 2002, Warner Bros. was given copies of the 1225's blueprints, saved from oblivion and donated to the MSURRC by Hank Truer, which were the prototype for the locomotive image, and its sounds were used in the 2004 film The Polar Express. However, the whistle used in the film was provided by steam locomotive Sierra Railroad No. 3. The film was based on the Caldecott Medal winning book of the same name. The children's book was written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg, who grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and as a child attended every home football game at Michigan State, next to which this engine was on static display. He recalls playing on this engine many times as a child saying, "I remember that train on campus. I can't believe it's the same train! I climbed on that train. I actually stood on it."  Appropriately enough, the locomotive's road number is the date of Christmas, 12/25.