The Tennessee Valley Rail Road is not a typical museum with an entrance fee, buildings and yards full of static displays. It is the largest operating historic railroad in the south, and relies on income from its various excursions, including the Chickamauga Turn from Chattanooga, TN, to Chickamauga, GA, all-day excursions from Chattanooga, TN, to Summerville, GA, and trips over the former Louisville & Nashville "Hook and Eye" line between Etowah and Copperhill, TN.
Passenger trains also run every day from April to
October on a route through the eastern part of the city of Chattanooga. The Missionary Ridge Local begins at the Grand Junction Station and takes passengers along one of the original railroad lines in Chattanooga, crossing
four bridges and passing through pre-Civil War
Missionary Ridge Tunnel, completed in 1858. The train stops at East Chattanooga, where the locomotive is turned on a turntable and passengers can take a tour of the railroad's restoration shop before re-boarding for the return trip.
You can see photos of a Missionary Ridge Local excursion hauled by a steam train on the Southern #630 page of this website.
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The TVRRM's collection is spread over two locations. Above, most of the static, non-operational equipment is at Grand Junction. The operational equipment is mainly held at the yard in East Chattanooga, shown later on this page.
Below, at Grand Junction, there is a depot with a ticket office, restaurant, gift shop, theatre and offices. It was built in 1983, based on the depot on 5th Street in Tuscumbia, AL. The original was built by the Memphis & Charleston Railroad in 1888 and functioned as a district headquarters between Memphis and Chattanooga, TN.
Grand Junction sits right beside a Norfolk Southern main line so there is plenty of action to take in.
Above, NS EMD SD60 #6714, GE C40-9W #9591 and GE C40-9W #9907 haul an eastbound intermodal freight. Right, UP GE C45ACCTE #7716 and NS EMD SD60 #6577 with a westbound mixed freight. The C45ACCTE is one of GE's Evolution Series designed to meet the EPA's Tier 2 emissions standards. The series was named one of the "10 Locomotives That Changed Railroading" by Trains Magazine in 2012.
This American type (4-4-0) locomotive was built by Burnham, Williams & Co., an early incarnation of the Baldwin Locomotive Works, as #557. It is one of five delivered to the Savannah & Western Railroad in 1891 (#555-#559). In 1895, when the S&W was consolidated into the Central of Georgia, it was renumbered #1587, then #1581 in 1912 and, finally, #349 in 1926.
In 1950, #349 was leased to the Talbotton Railroad Co., a seven mile shortline connecting Talbotton with the Southwestern Railroad at Bostick, GA (now Junction City).
The Talbotton lease ended in 1954, but it was not until 1963 that #349 was sold to Stone Mountain Scenic Railroad in Stone Mountain, GA. At some later date, it was sold to the TVRRM.
The engine weighs 101,530 lbs, 63,050 lbs on its
63" drivers. With Stephenson valve gear,
18" x 24" cylinders, a 17 sq ft grate, 152.7 sq ft firebox and total heating surface of 1,574 sq ft, it operated at a boiler pressure of 160 psi delivering 16,786 lbs tractive effort. The tender weighs 76,700 lbs and has a capacity of 3,500 gallons of water and 7 tons of coal.
#5288 is one of fifteen Pacific type (4-6-2) locomotives built by the Montreal Locomotive Works for the Canadian Government Railway in 1918 as #508-#522 (#5288 was originally #516). Intended for lease to the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada, they were modified prior to delivery from an all-weather enclosed cab to an open cab, and renumbering #1508-#1522, so that #516 became #1516. This was so that they did not conflict with the existing 500 series Grand Trunk 2-8-2s.
Ownership of the engines passed to the Canadian National when it was formed in 1919.
Between 1920 and 1921, the locomotives were renumbered #5280-#5294, although still leased to the Grand Trunk, which was finally absorbed by Canadian National in 1923.
At one time, #5288 apparently hauled international trains into White River Junction, VT, but, by 1956,
it was hauling commuter trains in Montreal, operating out of the Turcot, Quebec, engine
house. In September 1961, F. Nelson Blount
bought the locomotive and moved it to Edaville, MA, and then to Steamtown at Bellows Falls, VT, in 1965.
In 1985, #5288 moved to Steamtown in Scranton, PA, and was donated to the TVRRM in 1999.
The locomotive design is apparently very similar
to the WWI USRA "standard" 4-6-2. Weighing 268,000 lbs, 174,000 lbs on its 69" drivers, #5288 has 24" x 28" cylinders. With a 56.5 sq ft grate,
242 sq ft firebox and total heating surface of
4,093 sq ft, including 757 sq ft superheating, it operated at a boiler pressure of 200 psi, delivering 39,736 lbs tractive effort. The tender weighs 147,000 lbs light with a 6,500 gallon water and 10 ton coal capacity.
Hartford & Slocomb #913 is an Alco RS-1 switcher. It was originally bought by the Atlanta & St. Andrews Bay in 1950, the last of thirteen rostered by the railroad that operated between Dothan, AL, and Panama City, FL, on the Gulf Coast. The H&S also operated twenty-two miles of track from Dothan to Hartford, AL, from 1953 to 1992.
Four hundred and sixty-nine RS-1s were built by Alco-GE between 1941 and 1953, and then by Alco from 1953 to 1960, the longest production run of any diesel locomotive for the North American market, and the carbody design pioneered the road switcher type, which has been used by most switchers built since.
Weighing 240,000 lbs and 54' 11" long, #913 has an Alco 539T prime mover powering a GE GT553 generator to drive four GE 731 traction motors, one on each axle. It produced continuous tractive effort of 35,000 lbs at 8 mph with a top speed of 60 mph.
The first thirteen production RS-1 units were requisitioned by the US Army and re-manufactured into 6 axle RSD-1s. You can see the first unit converted, TXIX RSD-1 #8000, on the Museum of the American Railroad page of this website. There are more RS-1s on the Lake Superior Railroad Museum page, the Gold Coast Railway Museum page and the Illinois Railway Museum Train Shed page.
Bought by Southern in 1962, this EMD GP30 was donated to the Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth, GA, by Norfolk Southern in 1993. It is currently on loan to the TVRRM.
Conceived to head off competition from GE's 2,500 hp U25B, the
56' 2" long, 253,000 lbs GP30 updated the 2,000 hp GP20 but got 250 hp more from the 567D3 prime mover. It delivered 50,000 lbs tractive effort at 9.3 mph and had a top speed of 65 mph.
Nine hundred and eight GP30s were built from 1961 to 1963, all for US railroads. Forty cabless B units were also built for the Union Pacific.
Bought by the Tennessee, Alabama & Georgia Railroad as #80 in 1968, this was the only EMD GP38 owned by the shortline, which operated from Chattanooga, TN, through northwest Georgia to Gadsden, AL.
It was named the "John A Chambliss" after the TA&G's VP and Legal Counsel. It was renumbered #2879 in 1971 when the Southern took over the TA&G and became NS #2879 when the Norfolk Southern formed in 1982.
#2879 spent much of its life in DeButts Yard at Chattanooga and at Dalton, GA, as a switcher
EMD built seven hundred and six of these units for US railroads from 1966 to 1971 and six for Mexican. Weighing 245,000 lbs, they had an EMD 645 16 cylinder prime mover powering a GM D32 generator to drive four GM D77 traction motors developing 50,000 lbs tractive effort at 10.8 mph with a top speed of 65 mph. The GP38AC is basically a GP38 with an AR10 alternator instead of the GP38's normal generator.
This is one of twelve RDC1 units the B&O bought in 1956 from the Budd Company of Philadelphia, PA (#1900-#1911).
Originally #1910, it was renumbered #9922 in 1970 and #22 when MARC took over B&O's regional commuter service in 1983.
From 1949 to 1962, three hundred and ninety-eight RDCs (Rail Diesel Cars) were built by Budd. They were early examples of units that could run singly or be coupled together in sets controlled from the cab of the front unit.
The RDC1 was adapted from a standard 85' coach powered by two 6-cylinder Detroit Diesel (then a division of General Motors) Series 110 275 hp diesel engines, each driving an axle through a hydraulic torque converter, a technology adapted from military tanks of World War II. It had seating for ninety passengers.
East Chattanooga is the location of the museum's main restoration shops, storage, maintenance of way and repair facilities. These were built during a period of major expansion during the 1980s. The shops were named after museum co-founder Robert M. Soule, Jr. Most of the railroad's active motive power is stored here when not in use.
Below, the depot at East Chattanooga was built in 1980. Just as the Southern Railway depot in Athens, TN, was being demolished, the museum was able to salvage the arch braces to use on the platform canopy.
Consolidation (2-8-0) type locomotive #610 was in storage awaiting overhaul when I visited. It was built for the US Army Transportation Corps in 1952 by Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton, a company formed by the 1951 merger of Baldwin with Lima-Hamilton, itself formed from the merger of Lima and the General Machinery Corporation of Hamilton, OH, in 1947.
#610 was the last steam locomotive built at Baldwin's Eddystone plant for a domestic customer, and BLH then concentrated on producing diesel-electrics. Although Lima and Baldwin had built high quality steam locomotives, however, their diesel-electrics could not compete with EMD, Alco and GE, and BLH abandoned locomotive production in 1956.
Technically an A class, #610 is based on the 1942 USA S160 class, two thousand, one hundred and twenty of which were built for heavy freight work in WWII Europe, although a number stayed stateside. #610 was one of eight working the thirty-one mile Fort Eustis Military Railroad in Virginia. It was used to train soldiers in railroad operation and to transport material around the fort and to an interchange with the mainline system at Lee Hall, VA. You can see USA S160 #606 in N&W livery on the Crewe Railroad Museum page of this website.
#610 was restored at the museum and returned to operation in 1991. It was a mainstay of the steam programme until 2010, when it went into storage prior to overhaul.
#610 weighs 163,000 lbs, 142,000 on its 56" drivers. With a 41 sq ft grate, 128 sq ft firebox and 2,236 sq ft of heating surface, including 471 sq ft superheating, it operated at a boiler pressure of 225 psi delivering 34,100 lbs tractive effort.
#610's tender weighs 115,000 lbs with a 9 ton coal and 6,500 gallon water capacity.
The Fort Eustis locomotives were retired in the 1960s and #610 was donated to the Wiregrass NHRS Chapter in Dothan, AL, in 1971. They donated it to the TVRRM in 1978.
Parked behind #610, this Mikado (2-8-2) type locomotive was built by Baldwin in 1920 for the Kentucky & Tennessee Railway, a shortline formed in 1902 to haul the timber and coal of the Stearns
Coal & Lumber Company. The twenty-five mile line
ran from Bell Farm to Stearns, KY, where it interchanged with the Southern.
The K&T operated three Mikados (#10-#12) and, during the late 1950s,
began operating occasional fan trips as steam became increasingly rare on mainlines. The railroad finally dieselised in 1963, when it bought three Alco
S-2s from the D&RGW. #10 was sold to the museum in 1965.
Renumbered as SOU #6910, the locomotive ran a single excursion out of Chattanooga in 1965 before retiring. It is awaiting restoration to resemble NC&StL 2-8-2 #620 and may return to service eventually.
The engine weighs 264,000 lbs, 204,000 lbs on its 55" drivers.
#10 has 24" x 30" cylinders. The piston valves are 12" diameter.
With a 56.4 sq ft grate, 204 sq ft firebox and
total heating surface of 4,298 sq ft, including 858 sq ft superheating, it operated at a boiler pressure of 190 psi delivering 50,740 lbs tractive effort.
Assigned #12 on the K&T, the locomotive hauled coal trains from the Stearns Coal and Lumber Company mines in Oz to the Southern Railway interchange at Stearns, TN.
The three K&T Mikados
(#10-#12) began hauling occasional fan trips during the late 1950s as steam became increasingly rare on
This locomotive was the first Mikado (2-8-2) type ordered by the Southern, one of a batch of thirty-three built by Baldwin in 1911 (#4501-#4533). Between 1911 and 1914, the railroad ordered one hundred and thirty-five of these Ms class locomotives (#4501-#4635), twenty-two from Alco and the remainder from Baldwin. Alco built another six for Southern subsidiary, the Alabama Great Southern in 1913 (#6600-#6605) and Lima in 1917 (#6606-#6611).
#4501 served the Southern until 1948, when it was sold to the Kentucky & Tennessee Railway.
When I visited, #4501 was being restored to work on the joint TVRRM/ Norfolk Southern "21st Century Steam" program.
Below, the cab being patched and sanded. Since then, much work was completed and, in November 2014, #4501 returned to steam for the first time in sixteen years.
The K&T dieselised in 1963 with three ex D&RGW Alco S-2s. #12 was sold to TVRRM's first President, Paul Merriman, in 1964. It hauled excursions on lease to Southern's Steam Program from 1966 to 1987, but ended service in 1999 due to rising maintenance costs.
#4501 has 27" x 30" cylinders and weighs 272,940 lbs, 215,700 lbs on its 63" drivers. With a 54 sq ft grate, 212 sq ft firebox and total heating surface of 3,930, including 699 sq ft superheating, it operated at a boiler pressure of 175 psi delivering 51,638 lbs tractive effort. It.
This EMD E8 was also in the shop and was being restored by museum volunteers.
The first E8s were delivered to the Southern in 1951. You can see the first, #6900, on the North Carolina Museum of Transportation page of this website.
#6914 was one of ten more to arrive in 1953. It was delivered to the Alabama Great Southern as #6914, became SOU #6914 in 1969 and later worked for New Jersey Transit as #4330.
Until Amtrak took over in 1979, the E8s hauled Southern's crack passenger trains, including the Royal Palm, the Southern Crescent, Southerner and Tennesseean.
Four hundred and forty-six E8 A units were built for US railroads and three for Canadian from 1949 to 1953. Forty-six cabless E8 B unit were also produced between 1949 and 1954, all for US railroads.
Two 1,125 hp 567B prime movers each drove a generator to power four GM D-37 traction motors delivering 31,000 lbs continuous tractive effort at 11 mph and a top speed of 85 mph.
This EMD F7 unit is owned by a private owner but stored at the TVRRM. It is one of twenty-three bought between 1949 and 1951 by the NC&Stl (#809-#831).
Two thousand, three hundred and sixty-six F7 A units and one thousand, four hundred and eighty-three cabless B units were built between 1949 and 1953 by EMD and its Canadian subsidiary, GMD.
The Haysi Railroad was a terminal/switching railroad that owned and operated seven miles of track serving coal mines in and around Haysi, VA. It was controlled by the Seaboard Coast Line and Louisville & Nashville Railroads. In 1983, the Seaboard Coast Line merged the Haysi Railroad, ending its existence as an independent entity, but the Haysi's track continues to be operated today by CSX Transportation.
The Haysi Railroad is probably best remembered for its unorthodox motive power, of which #1 is an excellent example!
The unit was built in 1949 as an F3B for the Clinchfield Railroad as #852. It was rebuilt by EMD in 1952 to an F7B and then acquired by the Haysi in 1970. It was then equipped with radio controls and a makeshift cab in 1972. The window on the right in the view above was for the engineer.
The F3 was the third and second most produced in EMD's F series, with one thousand, one hundred and eleven A units and six hundred and ninety-six cabless B units built between 1945 and 1949. You can see CNJ F3 #56-#57 on the Steamtown Yard page of this website.
Originally bought by the NC&StL as #918 in 1950, this EMD F7B subsequently became LN #1918, CRR #869, SBD #117, CSXT #117, CSXT #417 and, finally, WM #66B. It is now TVRRM #919.
At 50' 8" long and 228,000 lbs, it has a 567B prime mover powering a GM D12B generator to drive four GM D27C traction motors. Delivering 40,000 lbs tractive effort at 9.3 mph, it had a top speed of 65 mph.
The fourth in EMD's line of F-units, the F7 was the best-selling cab unit of all time.
This is one of the two former Central of Georgia Alco RS-3s (#108 & #109) that the
Southern traded with the East Tennessee & Western North Carolina Railroad in exchange for ex-Southern 2-8-0s #630 and #722.
#109 was built in 1950. It was one of the first three RS-3s rostered by the Central (#108-#110)
The Central eventually rostered thirty-nine RS-3s bought from 1950 to 1953.
One thousand, two hundred and sixty-five RS-3s were built for US railroads, ten for Mexico, forty-eight for Brazil, six for Cuba and five for Algeria. Ninety-eight were built for Canadian railroads by Alco subsidiary the Montreal Locomotive Works.
Weighing 229,000 lbs and 55' 11" long, their 4-cycle Model 244 V12 prime mover powers a GE 581 generator to drive four GE 752 traction motors delivering 52,500 lbs continuous tractive effort at 10 mph with a top speed of 65 mph.
A number of RS-3s have survived. You can see NW #300 on the Virginia Museum of Transportation page of this website, NN #109 on the Northern Nevada Railroad Museum page WM #195 on the B&O Railroad Museum Yard and Car Shop page, RDG #467 on the Steamtown Yard page and LI #1555 on the Gold Coast Railroad Museum page.
Built as USN #4 in 1942, this was one of only five EMD NW2s delivered to the military (#1-#4 and #44 delivered in 1943). It served at the Naval Weapons Station in Fallbrook, CA. Renumbered by the Navy as #65-00117, it was sold to Chevron as #117 and then to the Central Soya plant in Chattanooga, TN. You can still just make out the Central Soya logo on the side of the cab.
One thousand, one hundred and twenty-one NW2s were built for US railroads and twenty-four for Canadian from 1939 to 1949. Weighing 248,000 lbs and 44' 5" long, the NW2 has a 12 cylinder EMD
12-567 prime mover powering a GM D15C generator to drive four GM D37 traction motors, one on each axle. It developed 62,500 lbs starting tractive effort at 30% and 31,000 lbs continuous tractive effort at 11 mph with a top speed of 65 mph. Distinguishing features of the NW2 are the half-height radiator grille at the front and the two stacks in the middle of the hood.
Baldwin built five hundred and forty-eight VO-1000s from 1939 to 1946, all for US railroads. The largest buyer was
the AT&SF, which bought fifty-nine. Twenty-six were built for the US Army and forty for the US Navy.
#7467 was built in 1943.
It worked at various
times at the US Navy Holabird Depot in Baltimore, MD, Fort Mason in San Francisco, CA, the Oakland Army Base and the Arnold Research Facility in Tullahoma, TN.
It was bought by the TVRRM in 1982 and is liveried as NC&StL #36, although this was never an actual NC engine.
The VO-1000 is 48' 10" long and weighs 244,500 lbs.
The unit is equipped with a 1,000 hp four cylinder De Lavergne VO 6c prime mover, which powers a Westinghouse WE480 generator to drive four Westinghouse WE362 traction motors, one on each axle.
With a top speed of 60 mph, the VO-1000
delivered 60,000 lbs starting tractive effort at 25% and 34,000 lbs continuous tractive effort at 10.8 mph.
Several railroads repowered and remodelled their VO-1000s, not always entirely successfully. However, a number of units have survived. You can see Western Railroad Company #1107 on the Museum of the American Railroad page of this website, CTN #32 on the B&O Museum Yard & Car Shop page and USN #8 on the Orange Empire Railway Museum page.
The first thirteen RSD-1s were rebuilt from four axle Alco RS-1s in 1942. You can see the first of these, TXIX RSD-1 #8000, on the Museum of the American Railroad page of this website.
The first twenty-one production RSD-1s were
then built later that year (#8013-8033) and a
further twenty-three in early 1943. These were
all classed E1645. The remaining one hundred units, built between 1943 and 1946 (#8600-#8699) were classed E1646. The six Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México units built in 1946 were classed E1641.
In October 1942, after Russia entered WWII as an allied power, the US War Department decided American personnel should take over the Trans-Iranian Railway supplying the USSR.
The USA Mikado 2-8-2s (#1000-#1199) were struggling with 1,000 ton "Aid-to-Russia" trains against high temperatures in the southern plains, and good water was scarce along the whole route.
Heavy grades made double-heading the norm and the many tunnels meant locomotive crews suffered in smoke and oil fumes.
It was therefore decided to send diesel-electric locomotives to work the worst sections of the line and, to suit the 67-75lb rails, six-wheeled trucks were to be used. These would also increase tractive effort at lower speeds. The choice was the RSD-1.
#8669 was built in 1945 and was never shipped outside the US. Like most of the RSD-1s, it went into storage after the war and then served at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. It was bought by the TVRRM in the late 1970s.
The RSD-1 is 55' 5¾" long and weighs 204,000 lbs. With an Alco built 1,000 hp V12 4-cycle Model 539T-6L prime mover powering a GE GT553C generator to drive four GE 731 traction motors, the units delivered 51,000 lbs starting tractive effort at 25%, 34,000 lbs continuous tractive effort at 8 mph and had a top speed of 60 mph.
The US Army bought twenty GP7 units from EMD in 1951 (#1821-#1840). #1824 switched freight cars at the Holston Army Ammunition Plant in Kingsport, TN, and was later transferred to the Tennessee Valley Authority. In the early 1990s, the TVA donated #1824, #1829 and #1832 to the TVRRM.
EMD built two thousand, seven hundred and twenty-nine GP7s between 1949 and 1954: two thousand, six hundred and fifteen for US railroads, one hundred and twelve for Canadian and two for Mexican railroads.
They were the first EMD road locomotives to use a hood unit design instead of a car-body design.
#1824 is 55' 11" long and weighs 246,000 lbs.
With an EMD 567B 16 cylinder prime mover generating 1,500 hp to power a GM D12 generator driving four GM-D27B traction motors, the GP7 delivered 40,000 lbs tractive effort at 9.3 mph with a top speed of 65 mph. They were offered both with and without control cabs. Units without control cabs were called GP7Bs, but only five were produced for the AT&SF over a relatively short production run in March and April 1953.
The GP7 proved very popular, and EMD was barely able to meet demand, even after opening a second assembly plant in Cleveland, OH. In fact, the GP7 is often credited with completing main line dieselisation in the US. Extremely versatile, they hauled freight and passenger services, as well as operating as switchers.
#1829 is another ex US Army GP7, like #1824 shown previously on this page. It also switched freight cars at the Holston Army Ammunition Plant in Kingsport, TN, and was later transferred to the Tennessee Valley Authority. In the early 1990s, the TVA donated #1824, #1829 and #1832 to the TVRRM.
The GP7 soon had a nickname that became synonymous with the GP series: from the initials "GP", they were known as Geeps (pronounced "Jeeps"). All three TVRRM GP7s can be hired to engineer for an hour.
Lookout Mountain Incline was run as a private corporation by various different owners until 28th January 1973.
It then became part of the Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority, the area's public transit agency.
Lookout Mountain Incline Railway is a one mile inclined railway on Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, TN, running from St. Elmo's Station at the base to Point Park at the mountain summit with a maximum grade of 72.7%. It is single track except for a short two-track stretch at midway to allow ascending and descending cars to pass each other.
The Incline Railway opened on 16th November 1895, the second of two inclines on Lookout Mountain. The first was the Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain Railway, which operated from 1886 to 1898.
The Incline cars were periodically replaced. The original cars were replaced in 1911 by Kuhlman built cars from Cleveland, OH. In December 1949, these were replaced with streamlined cars, although they never exceeded 8 mph on the incline, built by the Southern Coach Manufacturing Co., in Evergreen, AL, including #2. The new cars used the Kuhlman car under-bodies.
Southern Coach Manufacturing Co., operated as bus builder from 1941 to 1961, building trolley buses as well as regular buses.
I haven't been able to find out much about this derrick, except it is rated at 150 tons.
It appears to be the same design as SOU #903006, a 1921 Bucyrus built derrick on the North Carolina Transportation Museum page of this website.
As an operational railroad, in addition to SOU #903008, the TVRRM rosters a variety of other maintenance of way equipment. Above from left to right, a ballast spreader, ballast tamper and small rail lifting crane.
Below, a switch tamper. While I was at East Chattanooga, SOU #630 arrived hauling the Missionary Ridge Local. This train runs three
miles from Grand Junction and back. I rode the train the next day, including a stint in the cab, and you can see photos on the SOU #630 page of this website.
The Missionary Ridge Local runs every day
from April to October. It begins at the Grand Junction Station and takes passengers along one of the original railroad lines in Chattanooga, crossing four bridges and passing through pre-Civil War Missionary Ridge Tunnel, completed in 1858.
The train stops at East Chattanooga, where the locomotive is turned on a turntable and passengers can take a tour of the railroad's restoration shop before re-boarding for the return trip. The round trip takes a little less than an hour.
The 80' diameter turntable was built in 1916 by the American Bridge and Iron Co., of Ambridge, PA, for the Central of Georgia Roundhouse in Macon, GA. As steam locomotives grew in size, however, it became too small for the railroad's needs, and it was moved to Cedartown, GA.
With the arrival of diesel power, there was no longer any need for a turntable and it was donated to the TVRRM. The museum transported it the ninety miles from Cedartown to East Chattanooga and spent $105,000 repairing it for use. It was placed into service on 4th July 1982.
The turntable is electrically driven and is operated by the conductor standing in the shed at the end of the bridge.
After being turned, #630 rolls forward on a siding and will then run through a set of points and reverse to reconnect to the train.
#630 is a Consolidation (2-8-0) type locomotive built for the Southern Railway in 1904 by Alco's Richmond, VA, works. It is one of one hundred and thirty K class locomotives built by Alco at its Pittsburgh works (twenty-four) as well as at Richmond (sixty-two), and by Baldwin (forty-four).
The engine weighs 199,875 lbs, 176,750 lbs on its 56" drivers. It has 22" x 30" cylinders, a 53.57 sq ft grate but quite a small, 143 sq ft firebox. With a total
heating surface of 3,517 sq ft, it operates at a boiler pressure of 200 psi delivering 44,079 lbs tractive effort.
Like many Ks, #630 received a refit in which the Universal valve chest with piston valve was simply bolted onto the square slide-valve casting, and its Stephenson valve gear was replaced by Southern valve gear (left). This valve gear was devised by designers on the Southern in the early 1900s and fitted to much of the railroad's steam power.
The current tender is larger than the original, weighing 183,200 lbs light with a 10,000 gallon water and 16 ton coal capacity. The original weighed 120,000 lbs and had a capacity of 6,000 gallons of water and 12 tons of coal.
These were standard
2-8-0s on the Southern in the first decade of the 20th Century hauling freight and working right across the railroad's system.
Most had been retired and sold or scrapped by the end of the 1930s, although a few hung on until the early 1950s.
#630 and #722, another K, were sold to the East Tennessee & Western North Carolina Railroad in 1952 as their #207 and #208. They were used to switch cars in and around Johnson City, TN, until traded back to the Southern in 1967 in exchange for two ex Central of Georgia Alco RS-3s (one of these, #109, is shown earlier on this page).
The two locomotives then headed main line excursions over the entire Southern system as part of the railroad's Steam Program until 1983 when both were retired and leased to the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum.
#722 was later loaned to the Asheville Chapter of the NRHS by Norfolk Southern.
The TVRRM ran #630 until 1989 when it was again retired. It was donated to the museum in 1999 by the Norfolk Southern and, soon after, began one of the most thorough restorations performed on a steam locomotive in the US at the time. Work included boring the valve and piston cylinders, reboring and bushing spring and brake rigging holes, replacing boiler studs, new tires, cast driving boxes, tube sheet, a section of the first boiler course, delivery pipes and smoke box.
Above, the fireman builds the fire so that #630 will have enough steam for the return trip to Grand Junction.
After restoration, the locomotive returned to service in 2011, and has since participated in Norfolk Southern's "21st Century Steam"