C&O/Southern K4 Kanawha
During WWII, the Chesapeake & Ohio turned to the 2-8-4 wheel arrangement to handle the fast freight schedule demanded by war-time needs. Instead of naming them Berkshires, they chose to name them Kanawhas after the Kanawha River, which paralleled it’s main line. Between 1943 and 1947, the C&O purchased (90) Kanawhas. All of them had 69″ drivers, a 245 psi boiler pressure, and they exerted 69,350 lbs of tractive effort, plus 10,000 lbs more with the added booster. By mid 1952, the C&O had acquired enough diesels that they began to retire their steam fleet, including the relatively new Kanawhas. All were retired by 1955. #2716 was restored by the Southern Railway in 1980 and operated in conjunction with the Southern Steam Program from 1981-1982. She masqueraded as a Southern Kanawha, even though the Southern never had any 2-8-4s. Firebox issues in the middle of 1982 forced her into retirement. She was replaced by the recently restored NKP Berkshire #765. In 1996, #2716 was leased by the Fort Wayne RR Historical Society in order to generate funds for #765s restoration. She operated very briefly until more issues forced #2716 back into indefinite retirement. She was moved back to the Kentucky Railway Museum and placed on display.
Today: Surprisingly, (12) of the original (90) Kanawhas survive today:
#2700 is on display at the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum in Dennison, OH
#2705 is on display at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum in Baltimore, MD
#2707 is on display at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, IL
#2716 is currently being restored to operation at the Kentucky Railway Museum in New Haven, KY
#2727 is on display at the National Museum of Transportation in St. Louis, MO
#2732 is on display at the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond, VA
#2736 is on display at the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, WI
#2755 is on display at Chief Logan State Park in Logan, WV
#2756 is on display at Huntington Park in Newport News, VA
#2760 is on display along Treasure Island Road in Lynchburg, VA
#2776 is on display at Jesse Eyman Park in Washington Court House, OH
#2789 is being cosmetically restored at the Hossier Valley Railroad Museum in North Judson, IN
C&O/Southern K4 Kanawha set includes: (1) C&O Engine and Tender, and (1) Southern Engine and Tender
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