Chesapeake and Ohio 1601 and 1604 on display, remainder scrapped
The Chesapeake and Ohio H-8 was a class of 60 2-6-6-6 steam locomotives built by the Lima Locomotive Works in Lima, Ohio between 1941 and 1948 and operated until the mid 1950s. The locomotives were among the most powerful steam locomotives ever built and hauled fast and heavy freight trains for the railroad and two have been preserved, Nos. 1601 and 1604.
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 mph 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. 1604 was initially sent to C&O's scrap lines behind their diesel shops at Russell, Kentucky upon retirement. It was then donated to the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke in 1969 where it was displayed next to N&W 1218. On November 4th, 1985, it was partially damaged by a flood, which washed away the ground under it and nearly turned the locomotive over. In 1987, parent company Norfolk Southern did a cosmetic overhaul on it at their Roanoke Shops before it was sent to Baltimore to be displayed as the centerpiece of the then Mount Clare Junction shopping center which was adjacent to the B&O Railroad Museum. In 1989, the shopping center donated it to the museum, where it presently resides.