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The Virginia Museum of Transportation 6/28/2010



by Chris Guenzler



I got up at the Best Western Lexington Inn and after breakfast I worked on the stories for a little while before checking out. I drove Interstate 81 south to the exit for Roanoke where I made my way into town. I found myself across the tracks from the museum but luck was on my side.





The tower for the Roanoke Yard east end.





NS 6104 was switching the east end of the Roanoke Yard.





NS 7600 pulled a train into Roanoke. I then drove over and parked in front of the Virginia Museum of Transportation.

Virginia Museum of Transportation



The main entrance to the Virginia Museum of Transportation. The signal out in front was a Boy Scout Eagle Project. I checked in before I was sent to the office of Beverly T. Fitzpatrick, Jr., Executive Director, who would be giving me a tour of this fine and unique transportation museum. The museum building is the old Norfolk & Western Railway Freight House in Roanoke.

A Brief History

The Virginia Museum of Transportation began its life in 1963 as the Roanoke Transportation Museum located in Wasena Park in Roanoke, Virginia. The museum at that time was housed in an old Norfolk & Western Railway freight depot on the banks of the Roanoke River. The earliest components of the museum's collection included a United States Army Jupiter rocket and the famous N&W J Class Locomotive #611, donated by Norfolk & Western Railway to the city of Roanoke where many of its engines were constructed. The museum expanded its collection to include other pieces of rail equipment, and a number of horse-drawn vehicles including a hearse, a covered wagon, and a Studebaker wagon. In November 1985, a flood nearly destroyed the museum and much of its collection. It forced the shutdown of the facility and the refurbishment of 611. In April 1986, the museum re-opened in Norfolk & Western's freight stations in downtown Roanoke as the Virginia Museum of Transportation. The museum has earned that title, being recognized by the General Assembly of Virginia as the Commonwealth's official transportation museum.

The Tour of the Museum's Collection

Bev started the tour with a behind the scenes tour of the old offices in the old freight house.





The old Shenandoah Division Office.




The old CTC Dispatching Boards that were once used in this building. They hope to make a public display out of them.





The Meeting Room which is in use today.





This room which is closed houses the air museum section of the Virginia Transportation Museum.





Here is a wooden craving of a Norfolk & Western steam locomotive.





An unused Locomotive cab from Norfolk & Western Class J steam locomotive.





A nose from an NS SD-40-2 1594.





A track cycle.





The Big Lick Station building.





The History of Railroad Display.





Display on the Norfolk & Western Class J Locomotive 611.





The first thing you see when you walk out into the railyard is what is under the Robert B. Claytor & W. Graham Claytor Jr. Pavilion.





This business car once belonged to the President of the Illinois Terminal Railroad Company.





A track shanty.





Washington, DC Transit Company PCC Streetcar 1470.





Norfolk & Western Class J Locomotive 4-8-4 611.





I finally got to see and touch the Norfolk & Western 611.





Norfolk & Western Class A Locomotive 2-6-6-4 1218.





Norfolk & Western 2-8-0 6.





Norfolk & Western Research Car 31.





Norfolk & Western Class A Locomotive 2-6-6-4 1218 extra tender 22501.





Virginian Railroad Electric Motor 135.





Norfolk & Western Dynamometer Car 51470.





Virginian Railroad 0-8-0 4.





Virginian Railroad Caboose 321.





Another view of the Norfolk & Western 2-8-0 6.





Another view of the Norfolk & Western Class A Locomotive 2-6-6-4 1218.





Pennsylvania Railroad GG-1 4919.





A comparison of time in railroading in this picture.





Wheeling & Lake Erie switcher D-3.





Another view of Pennsylvania Railroad GG-1 4919.





Two views of Chesapeake & Western T-6 10.





Virginian Railroad Electric Motor 135.





Norfolk & Western Redbird GP-9 521.





Norfolk & Western Blue C-630 1135.





Norfolk & Western Bi-Centennial SD-45 1776.





Two views of the Red and the Blue locomotives.





Boxley Quarries Whitcomb Switcher.





Southern Railway Lake Pearl.





NW 1776 with an older pickup truck.





Virginia Central 3.





Mead 200 Plymouth built in 1935.





Seaboard System 2289.





Norfolk & Western Bi-Centennial Trailer.





Panama Canal Mule 6T.





Nickel Plate Road GP-9 532.





The FT-B Unit in its EMD Colors.





Southern Railway W. Graham Claytor Jr. Open Air Excursion Car 1070 which was damaged in the Big Dismal Swamp Accident.





Norfolk & Western Baggage Car 1418.





Old trucks.





A White Bus.





The oldest metal hoppers in the United States.





Two views of one of the Lost Engines Norfolk & Western M-2 4-8-0 1151.





Norfolk & Western Safety Car 418.





Southern Railway W. Graham Claytor Jr. Open Air Excursion Car 1070 which was damaged in the Big Dismal Swamp Accident.





Norfolk & Western MW Car 514925.





Southern Railway Lake Pearl.





Norfolk Southern Dining Car 999000.





Norfolk Southern Wrecker.





Another view of Norfolk & Western 1776.





Norfolk & Western Tool Car 9647 used for the Norfolk & Western 611.





Another view of the Norfolk & Western Blue C-630 1135.





Norfolk & Western 300.





Virginian Railway Caboose 321.



Click here for Part 2 of this story