The Norfolk & Western Steam-Turbine-Electric. (USA)

Updated: 2 Mar 2003
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Left: The Norfolk & Western steam-turbine-electric, built in 1954. It was numbered 2300.

Although superficially similar to the Chesapeake and Ohio steam-turbine loco, it was of quite different design, being shorter and lighter, with a Babcock & Wilcox water-tube flash boiler working at 900 lb/sqin. GE traction motors were fitted to the four 3-axle bogies; all axles were powered so the wheel config was C-C-C-C.

The 2300 only survived for only three years. Once again there were major difficulties with reliability. Coal dust contaminated the electrical equipment. The feedwater heater and semi-automatic boiler controls gave trouble, and the turbine blades suffered when the loco backed heavily onto a train. None of these problems appear to be insoluble, but the locomotive was mainly used as a "pusher" and was scrapped in 1958.

The locomotive carried the name "Jawn Henry", a reference to a legendary black construction worker who pitted his manual hammer and drill against a steam drill. According to the story, he just managed to beat it but collapsed and died shortly afterwards. Not a good omen, perhaps...

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