Southern Railway No. 4501
Southern Railway No. 4501 is a 2-8-2 Mikado-type steam locomotive built in October 1911 by Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as the first of its wheel arrangement type to be built for the Southern Railway. In 1948, the locomotive was retired from the Southern in favor of dieselization and was sold to the shortline Kentucky and Tennessee Railway (K&T) in Stearns, Kentucky to haul coal trains.
|Southern Railway No. 4501|
No. 4501 on display in 2006
When the K&T was dieselized in 1964, No. 4501 was purchased by a railfan named Paul H. Merriman with $5,000 of his own money, and brought to Chattanooga. Shortly thereafter it was returned to steam for excursion service on the Southern Railway's steam program managed by the railroad's president W. Graham Claytor Jr. through Merriman’s 4501 Corporation. In 1979, the locomotive was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Initially turned out in Southern's passenger Virginia green with gold stripping and silver (aluminium) details with whitewall tyres, No. 4501 operated as the main star of Southern's steam program until being replaced by larger steam locomotives in 1985. The locomotive ran again from 1991 until 1994, when Southern's successor Norfolk Southern discontinued the steam program due to rising insurance cost and decreasing rail network availability.
Afterwards, No. 4501 operated for its owner, the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum (TVRM) in Chattanooga, Tennessee. (Merriman was a founding member of TVRM alongside Robert “Bob” Soule, and eventually handed 4501 over from his personal property to museum property. Repainted into its circa 1935 freight black livery in 1996, the locomotive was retired when its boiler ticket certificate expired in 1998. With the coming of Norfolk Southern’s 21st Century Steam Program and the success of TVRM's Southern Railway No. 630, the restoration on No. 4501 began in 2012 and completed in 2014, with period upgrades such as a feedwater heater and mechanical stoker added, which most classmates received but 4501 (once dropped from a crane) long the “Shop Queen” never received. Today, the locomotive operates in tourist excursion service for TVRM, traditionally on the longer trips to Summerville, Georgia throughout the year, and on TVRM's Missionary Ridge Local as needed.
No. 4501 worked on many different divisions of the Southern Railway system from Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, and Indiana. In October 1948, the Kentucky and Tennessee Railway (K&T) headquartered in Stearns, Kentucky purchased the locomotive and renumbered it as their No. 12. When the Kentucky and Tennessee Railway purchased three ALCo S-2s from the Denver & Rio Grande Western in February 1964, the locomotive, along with the K&T's other steam locomotives, were retired from revenue service. Railfan Paul H. Merriman bought the locomotive for the 4501 Corporation with $5,000 of his own money, and restored it for excursion use on the Southern Railway System.
1966–1998 excursion careerEdit
On June 6, 1964, after running to Chattanooga from the K&T in Stearns, Kentucky, an initial restoration was done by Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum (TVRM) volunteers at the facilities of the Lucey Boiler Company in Chattanooga near the TVRM's storage facilities, which were at the time located on former Western Union Company tracks.
No. 4501 was stripped down for an extensive overhaul with the thin cab floor, the rotted ash pan, and the rusty smoke box front replaced. The dented cab roof was straightened and a radio antenna was installed. In addition, the cylinder cocks were reworked and the throttle was lapped with a new airline run to the repacked reverse gear. When it was time to paint, with the blessing of Southern Railway executives the No. 4501 was repainted in Southern's Virginia green with gold lining (pre-WWII, as compared to the Sylvan Green 4501 wore post-1984) instead of No. 4501's original freight black livery.
After the restoration was completed in August 1966, the No. 4501 launched its first public run between Chattanooga and Richmond, Virginia. In 1969, No. 4501's tender, which could hold 12 tonnes (12,000 kg) of coal and 8,000 US gallons (30,000 l) of water, was replaced by a larger ex-Central of Georgia (CG) tender from a maintenance of way wreck train in Georgia. The new tender holds 18 tonnes (18,000 kg) of coal and 15,000 US gallons (57,000 l) of water.
In the 1970s, No. 4501 was run off of Southern Railway property for a series of excursion trips on the Illinois Central (IC), the Chicago and North Western (CNW), the Milwaukee Road (MILW), the Rock Island Line (RI), and the Norfolk & Western (NW). The locomotive became famous for pulling the Old Milwaukee Special circus train via the CNW line between Baraboo, Wisconsin and Madison, Wisconsin and the MILW line to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in summer 1973. On March 28, 1979, No. 4501 was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
On April 11, 1981, the locomotive suffered a cracked front flue sheet at Dalton, Georgia during an excursion trip from Atlanta, Georgia to Chattanooga. A diesel locomotive pulled the remainder of the trip and No. 4501 was towed back to the Irondale Workshop in Birmingham, Alabama for a long-term rebuild. The locomotive would not operate again until November 1984. Following the rebuild, No. 4501 received a new welded tender body, and the tender's old Andrews pilot trucks were replaced with modern roller bearing trucks. At the same time 4501 was repainted into a lighter Sylvan Green (later diesel era) scheme with dark grey smokebox, black wheel centres, unpolished rods, and no bell acorn. 
On November 3, 1991, during Southern's successor Norfolk Southern's 25th Anniversary of their Steam Program, No. 4501 joined the Norfolk & Western superpower steam locomotives J Class No. 611 and A Class No. 1218 to triple head a 28-car passenger excursion train from Chattanooga to Atlanta. At Ooltewah, Tennessee, No. 4501 took a few coaches for a complete round trip, turning around at Cleveland, Tennessee. Afterwards, No. 611 and No. 1218 completed the rest of the trip to Atlanta.
In 1994, Norfolk Southern announced that they would discontinue their steam program due to serious safety concerns, rising insurance costs, the expense of maintaining steam locomotives, and decreasing rail network availability due to a surge in freight traffic. No. 4501 made its last public Norfolk Southern main-line steam excursion trip from Birmingham to Columbus, Georgia on April 30, 1994. The locomotive was taken off the excursion trip at Alexander City, Alabama due to overheated bearings, and the Norfolk Southern GP59 diesel locomotive No. 4610 finished the rest of the trip. After its last excursion on the Norfolk Southern, the No. 4501 returned to the TVRM on May 25, 1994.
After Norfolk Southern abandoned their steam program in late 1994, No. 4501 remained at TVRM operating their excursions through North Georgia on the former Central of Georgia’C’ line that became the Chattooga and Chickamauga Railway shortline. In 1996, the locomotive was repainted into its circa 1930s freight black livery during TVRM's 35th anniversary, until it was retired due to the expiration of its boiler ticket on September 20, 1998.
21st century operationsEdit
In 2008, the locomotive was stripped down for a complete boiler inspection. In June 2010, Norfolk Southern announced that they would run excursions with No. 4501, No. 630, and U.S. Army No. 610 with their new 21st Century Steam program. In March 2011, Southern No. 630 returned to service pulling tourist trains for the TVRM and some of the first main-line excursion trips for the 21st Century Steam program. With No. 630 in operating condition, the restoration of No. 4501 began in 2012.
During the restoration of No. 4501 around 2013, the locomotive received upgrades to its trailing wheels that included the addition of roller bearings to help guide the locomotive through track curves. A replica of a Worthington SA type feedwater heater from a China Railways QJ Class 2-10-2 was built to improve the locomotive's performance. Its tender was given a mechanical stoker from a Canadian National Railway 4-6-2 locomotive. The Armstrong lubricators that spring-loaded the driving wheels were replenished by an automatic lubricator from the North Yorkshire Moors Railway in North Yorkshire, England. No. 4501's boiler also received attention and was recertified from its operating pressure of 200 psi (1.38 MPa) to 205 psi (1.41 MPa), which created a slight increase in tractive effort.
On September 6, 2014, No. 4501 was steamed up for the first time since 1998 and its first public debut took place at TVRM's 2014 Railfest. The locomotive made a test run from Chattanooga to LaFayette, Georgia, on the Chattooga and Chickamauga Railway line on September 25, 2014 to prepare it for the TVRM's upcoming seasonal Summerville Steam Special on October 4 that year.
On June 26, 2015, No. 4501 ran the Radford Rambler excursion from Bristol, Virginia to Radford, Virginia. On June 27, the locomotive pulled the Lonesome Pine Special excursion from Bristol, Tennessee to Bulls Gap, Tennessee, and ran the Radford Rambler excursion again on June 28.
On September 12 and 13, 2015, No. 4501 ran an excursion trip from Chattanooga to Cleveland, Tennessee, during TVRM's 2015 Railfest. On September 26 and 27, 2015, the locomotive pulled the Nancy Hanks Special excursion from Macon, Georgia to Tennille, Georgia.
No. 4501 was also planned to pull the Piedmont Limited excursion from Atlanta to Toccoa, Georgia on October 3 and 4, 2015. However it was cancelled on October 1 due to Hurricane Joaquin. As of late 2015, Norfolk Southern officially conclude their 21st Century Steam program, although the N&W J Class No. 611 locomotive, which had been restored since 2015, continued to run various excursions across the Norfolk Southern system in Virginia and North Carolina. Afterwards, No. 4501 remained at the TVRM to continue regular operations and became the main motive power for its seasonal Summerville Steam Special excursion from Chattanooga to Summerville, Georgia.
Pop culture referencesEdit
- No. 4501 made its first feature film appearance in the 1971 movie Fools' Parade in which it was repainted as Baltimore & Ohio No. 4501.
- No. 4501 is shown while under steam in the 1974 movie Ridin' the Rails: The Great American Train Story. A clip of this movie, with Johnny Cash at the throttle of the locomotive, was used in the music video for Hurt, which was covered by Cash.
- No. 4501 appeared in the 1975 movie Hard Times.
- No. 4501 starred in the 1976 television movie Eleanor and Franklin.
- No. 4501 appears several times in the 1978 movie Summer of My German Soldier, set in Georgia during World War II.
- No. 4501 was used as the locomotive in the 1999 movie October Sky. It was marked as a Norfolk and Western Railway locomotive and was shown several times in the film. A short clip of rail photographer O. Winston Link as the engineer is shown in the abandoned spur line scene.
- No. 4501 was featured in the 2016 feature-length documentary And Then There Was One, which represents the history of No. 4501's life career.
- 4501 was featured in Baby Einstein’s “On the Go” episode, seen hauling an excursion train in the segment on trains.
- Carver, M.A. (September 1978). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory – Mikado Locomotive No. 4501". National Park Service. Archived from the original on February 24, 2019. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
- Wrinn (2000), pp. 4–7.
- Wrinn (2000), pp. 13–15.
- Wrinn (2000), p. 26.
- Wrinn (2000), pp. 39–41.
- "Circus Train". Southern Railfan. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
- Wrinn (2000), p. 57.
- Wrinn (2000), pp. 115–116.
- Wrinn (2000), p. 69.
- Wrinn (2000), pp. 90–91.
- Wrinn (2000), p. 100.
- Philips, Don (October 29, 1994). "Norfolk Southern plans to end nostalgic steam locomotive program". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
- "1994 US Excursion Schedules". SteamCentral. Retrieved February 18, 2017.
- Wrinn (2000), pp. 109–110.
- No. 4501 being stripped down for restoration
- "NS Eyes Launch of Steam Excursion Program". Akron Railroad Club. Retrieved February 18, 2017.
- "Railroad Equipment". Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. Archived from the original on March 19, 2018. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
- Haman, Ansley (March 31, 2012). "Southern Railway 4501 back on track". Times Free Press. Retrieved February 18, 2017.
- Wrinn, Jim (September 4, 2013). "Southern Railway 4501 is coming together at Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum". Trains. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
- Ray, G. Mark (May 2014). "Secrets of a Steam Star". Trains. 74 (5): 18.
- Edwards, Lynda (September 6, 2014). "A century of steam: Rare locomotive built in 1911 has been reborn following three-year restoration". Times Free Press. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
- "TVRM's Historic Steam Locomotive #4501 Is Ready For Tennessee Valley Railfest". Chattanoogan.com. August 27, 2014. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
- "No. 4501 to debut Sept. 6-7 at Railfest in Chattanooga". Trains. August 28, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
- O'Bryant, Josh (September 28, 2014). "Restored railroad engine steams through LaFayette on shakedown run". Chattanoogan.com. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
- "21st Century Steam". Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. Archived from the original on June 14, 2015. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
- "21st Century Steam". Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
- Timmerman, Jeremy (September 27, 2015). "Nancy Hanks steam engine in Macon draws passengers, spectators of all ages". Macon.com. Retrieved February 24, 2017.
- "Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum". Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. Archived from the original on October 3, 2015. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
- "Hurricane forces excursion trains to cancel". Trains. October 2, 2015. Archived from the original on November 10, 2015. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
- Gunnioe, Chase (December 22, 2015). "NS steam operations to focus exclusively on No. 611 next season". Trains. Archived from the original on February 10, 2017. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
- "Norfolk Southern 21st Century Steam Specials 2016 Steam Train Excursion Schedule". RailServe.com. Archived from the original on October 27, 2016. Retrieved March 4, 2017.
- "Summerville Steam Special". Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
- Wrinn (2000), pp. 28–29.
- "4501 and O.W.L – two Railroad Celebrities in "October Sky" (1999)". CineTrains. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
- "Railroads". Welcome to Coalwood, West Virginia!. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
- "New Southern 4501 documentary highlights locomotive's history, caretakers". Trains. September 12, 2016. Archived from the original on November 12, 2017. Retrieved April 7, 2018.