Power Behind the Nation

Power Behind the Nation (HM9YP)

Location: Roanoke, VA 24011
Buy Virginia State flags at Flagstore.com!
Country: United States of America
Buy United States of America flags at Flagstore.com!

N 37° 16.387', W 79° 56.339'

  • 0 check ins
  • 0 favorites

The David R. and Susan S. Goode Railwalk

Workhorse of the Norfolk and Western: Class Y6

While the sleek class J streamlined passenger locomotives and high stepping Class A locomotives garnered publicity for the N&W; the true workhorse of the Norfolk and Western was the Class Y 2-8-8-2s. Designed and built for one purpose, moving tonnage at reasonable speeds at a reasonable cost.

Beginning in 1930, Roanoke Shops turned out the first home-built Class Y5. The design itself, was solid, with improvements leading to the Class Y6. The Y6, with two sub-classes; Y6a and Y6b, the Y6b was considered the zenith of the heavy locomotives.

The Class Y locomotives handled anything tossed its way: fast freight, coal, empty trains, and upon occasion, a passenger train. By the end of World War II, the die was cast in America; steam was being replaced by diesels. Commercial builders ended production in 1949. The N&W felt Roanoke-built power was superior to the diesels, however, and continued to build steam, but that too, was short-lived. In 1952 the last Y6b, No. 2200, rolled out of Roanoke Shops.

Even the best power couldn't stop the tide. The diesels first arrived on the N&W in October 1955. On May 7, 1960, the last Y6b No. 2190 had its fire dropped at Williamson, West Virginia, ending the mainline steam era in America after being in service less than eight years.

Only one Class Y6 locomotive would survive the end of the steam era, No. 2156 is on display at the St. Louis Museum of Transport today.

The Class J fate was sealed, and on October 24, 1959, Class J, No. 611 closed N&W's steam passenger train service with a last excursion to Williamson, West Virginia.

[Table in lower center of marker]
Class Y6b, built 1948-1952, Roanoke Shops
Tractive Effort: Simple 152,206 pounds, Compound 126,838 pounds
Boiler pressure: 300 lbs.
Driving Wheels: Eight pairs, 57 inch diameter
Overall length (engine and tender): 114 foot, 10 ½ inches
Firebox area: 14' 2 1/8" x 8' 10 ?"
Weight on driving wheels: 548,500 lbs.
Total weight of engine and tender: 990,120 lbs.
Coal Capacity of tender: 30 tons
Water Capacity of tender: 22,000 gallons
HM NumberHM9YP
Year Placed2007
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, October 10th, 2014 at 2:19am PDT -07:00
Sorry, but we don't have a picture of this historical marker yet. If you have a picture, please share it with us. It's simple to do. 1) Become a member. 2) Adopt this historical marker listing. 3) Upload the picture.
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 594067 N 4125698
Decimal Degrees37.27311667, -79.93898333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 16.387', W 79° 56.339'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 16' 23.22" N, 79° 56' 20.34" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 5921-5991 Norfolk Ave SE, Roanoke VA 24011, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

Is this marker missing? Are the coordinates wrong? Do you have additional information that you would like to share with us? If so, check in.

Check Ins  check in   |    all

Have you seen this marker? If so, check in and tell us about it.

Comments 0 comments

Maintenance Issues
  1. Is this marker part of a series?
  2. What historical period does the marker represent?
  3. What historical place does the marker represent?
  4. What type of marker is it?
  5. What class is the marker?
  6. What style is the marker?
  7. Does the marker have a number?
  8. Who or what organization placed the marker?
  9. This marker needs at least one picture.
  10. Can this marker be seen from the road?
  11. Is the marker in the median?