Norfolk and Western Railway 475
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|Strasburg Rail Road (ex N&W) 475|
Strasburg Rail Road #475 former Norfolk & Western Railway
Strasburg Rail Road #475 is a former Norfolk & Western Railway M class 4-8-0 steam locomotive. It was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1906 as part of the N&W's first order of class M numbered 375-499. It is the only known 4-8-0 operating in North America. It is also the Strasburg Railroad's oldest steam locomotive.
Engine 475 was the 101st of 125 locomotives built for the Norfolk & Western from 1906 - 1907 with #475 rolling out of Baldwin Locomotive Works in June 1906 (serial number 28343). It worked on the N&W hauling freight and coal trains. It was later given smaller duties when bigger locomotives such as the Y series 2-8-8-2s, K series 4-8-2s, and J 4-8-4s starting arriving on the N&W. It was later retired in 1956, completing 50 years of service. From 1957 to 1958, it was dolled up as a 19th century locomotive with a fake diamond smokestack and oil headlamp and hauled the "Salem Shifter" local passenger train. By September 1960, #475 was placed on display in Roanoke, Virginia. In the early 1960s, #475 was sold to the Virginia Scrap Iron & Metal Company scrapyard and stayed there until it was purchased by W. Armagost of Holsopple, PA in 1963. In 1980, the locomotive was sold to H.S. Kuyper, and then conveyed to the Pella Historical Society, being stored at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Illinois. In 1982 it was purchased by C. Rosenberg and others, being donated to the Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad in 1985 and moved to Boone for display in 1986. It was purchased by The Strasburg Railroad in 1991 and it was restored to operation in 1993.
Like the W class 2-8-0 Consolidation, there was no cab deck behind the backhead, the fireman shoveled coal from the tender deck and, along with the engineer, sat beside the firebox because the firebox came right to the back of the cab. The throttle lever hung down over the shoulder of the firebox, the reverser lever was in front of the engineer against the side of the firebox, with the water glass just above. The injector controls (A water valve, the overflow valve, and the operating lever.) were in front of him against the outer wall of the cab. Although slightly cramped, visibility to the front was superb. On the fireman's side, there was a water glass, injector controls, and a drop seat arranged like the engineer's.
The Strasburg Rail Road has made several changes to the 475.
- Its current tender is an USRA 10,000 gallon tender modified by the Norfolk & Western for hand firing, which was originally fitted with an automatic stoker designed for a K-2 class 4-8-2 passenger locomotive.
- The left side water leg was trimmed back to give the fireman room to swing his shovel.
- The injectors were relocated from outboard of the No. 4 drivers to aft of them, so they can be operated from controls near the step up to the cab, to the rear of the seats.
- The independent and automatic brake levers have been moved back to be more convenient for backing up operation (Half of its mileage is made backing up.).
- In October 2004, 475 was backdated to its original as-built N&W appearance. Its headlight was relocated to above the center of the smokebox, the tender re-lettered "Norfolk & Western", and cab letters modified.
- In very late July 2008, 475's tender was re-lettered to "Strasburg" in the same N&W font.
- On February 12, 2010, 475 was brought out of the shed to plow the nearly 10 ft of snow left from two blizzards. That night, "475" was back in N&W appearance, and it was then renumbered to "382", and changed its smokestack and cowcatcher for a Lerro Productions photo charter which took place on Opening Day, February 13, 2010. The next day it was back as "475" though the N&W appearance remains.
- In 2012, 475 continuous blowdown mounted in front of the cab.
- In 2013, 475 was re-lettered back to "Strasburg" in the N&W font.
- In 2014, the locomotive's N&W Hooter was replaced by a three-chime whistle off of Long Island Rail Road #39 (currently at Strasburg pending restoration).
- In 2015, the locomotive's N&W Hooter was returned to the locomotive.
- On July 13, 2017, The 475's tender was re-lettered back to "Norfolk & Western" for a photo freight shoot.
- On November 6, 2017, Lerro Productions once again charted #475 and renumbered her to 382 and added the pilot cover and spark arrestor for a day of photo run-bys.
- In 2018, 475 is finishing out her flu time and is expected to be down for the early part of the 2019 season while undergoing her 1472-day inspection and rebuild process. She is expected to return to service again in the fall of 2019.
Appearances in Media
An interview with Strasburg Railroad Chief Mechanical Officer, Linn Moedinger, revealed that the film's producer, Phil Fehrle, called him looking for an American locomotive to use. When Moediger inquired as to what exactly he was looking for, Fehrle told him that the film's director, Britt Allcroft, really liked the locomotives pictured in a book by O. Winston Link, in particular the M-Class locomotives (of which 475 is a member).
During Filming, 475 and three of Strasburg's coaches (of which only two were used) were lettered for the fictional Indian Valley Railroad. 475 even ventured off Strasburg Rails to the Harrisburg Transportation Center. The ferry move to Harrisburg from Leaman Place by Amtrak as well as the filming was unannounced so as not to attract a crowd.