Submitted For Your Approval * Two-hundred-fifty-sixth Installment
Author: D. B. Arthur
Date: 05-31-2024 - 08:58

Here's a photo I took on June 09, 1990, THIRTY-FOUR YEARS AGO, of a Norfolk Southern "Independence Limited" multi-day steam excursion that ran from Columbus, OH to St. Louis, MO. On June 09 we rode from Columbus to Cincinnati, OH. June 10 was from Cincinnati to Louisville, KY. June 11 was from Louisville to Mt. Vernon, IL and June 12 was from Mt. Vernon to St. Louis.

Norfolk & Western # 1218 is a four-cylinder, simple articulated steam locomotive with a 2-6-6-4 wheel arrangement. The N&W Railway built it in 1943 at its Roanoke Shops and it was part of the N&W's class "A" fleet of fast freight locomotives.

We see it here at Portsmouth, OH getting ready to pick up its passengers after it went to the yard on the east side of town where the locomotive could be wyed. This allowed us to be properly pointed for the trip to Cincinnati.

As you can see in this photo, Norfolk & Western built a very large and impressive passenger station for Portsmouth. This station was probably built in the 1930s, and Portsmouth had a population of 42,560 in 1930. The city's population declined to 18,014 by 2021. Sadly, this impressive station was torn down in 2004 and the Scioto County Jail now occupies the property, as seen in this GOOGLE Streetview image:


In the time that's elapsed since I made this trip, some bridge structural problems over the Scioto River caused the portion of railroad from Portsmouth to Peebles to be been taken out of service and it's currently being used for car storage. The rest of the line into Cincinnati is now operated by a shortline called the Cincinnati Eastern Railroad. If Norfolk Southern trains now want to operate between Portsmouth and Cincinnati, they have to take a circuitous routing via Columbus.

These multi-day "Independence Limited" excursions were logistical miracles as, in addition to the train ride, we were also put up in hotels and motels and had transportation provided from and to the train. Extreme thanks and appreciation are extended to the late James Bistline and Carl Jensen, the Roanoke Chapter of the National Railroad Historical Society, Norfolk Southern, and many others, for providing many fond experiences and memories of mainline steam excursions that we'll probably never see again.

The train was making its way to St. Louis for a NRHS convention that featured the UP 844, SLSF 1522 and the SSW 819 in addition to N&W 1218. I rode excursions that were offered by those steam locomotives and finished things off by riding an excursion from St. Louis to Pine Bluff, AR behind the Cotton Belt 819.

Here are the flights that got me to Ohio and out of Arkansas:

June 07, 1990 DL 0860 ONT-ATL 0835-1539 N127DL
June 07, 1990 DL 1066 ATL-CMH 1654-1815 N544DA
June 18, 1990 DL 0965 LIT-DFW 1120-1221 N920DL
June 18, 1990 DL 0641 DFW-ONT 1525-1620 N925DL

Those were the days my friend, we thought they'd never end.

Subject Written By Date/Time (PST)
  Submitted For Your Approval * Two-hundred-fifty-sixth Installment D. B. Arthur 05-31-2024 - 08:58
  Re: Submitted For Your Approval * Two-hundred-fifty-sixth Installment ke6qr 06-01-2024 - 10:24
  Re: Submitted For Your Approval * Two-hundred-fifty-sixth Installment D. B. Arthur 06-02-2024 - 14:41

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