Separately applied detail parts
Alligator cross heads
The Class J 4-8-4 was the last mainline steam locomotive to run in the United States. Designed for optimum speed, the “J” once reached 115 mph during a land speed test until a hesitant engineer closed the throttle.
The design of the Js was completely universal. They were equipped with 300 psi boilers, 70" drivers, and roller bearings on all wheels and rods. The 70" drivers and 300 psi boiler allowed for a higher tractive effort. When operating at maximum psi, the Js delivered 80,000 lbf of tractive effort-the most powerful for 4-8-4 wheel arrangement locomotive without a booster. The engineers designed the J class not to pull freight, but passengers, and at a high speed. The 70" drivers were very small for a locomotive that was to pull trains at over 100 mph. To overcome this, the wheelbase was made extremely rigid, lightweight rods were used, and the counterbalancing was extremely good. As delivered, the Js had duplex (two) connecting rods between the primary (second) and third drivers, but in the 1950s N&W's engineers apparently decided they could do without these and 611 and at least one other Class J were rebuilt with a single connecting rod. The negative effect of the J's highly engineered drivetrain was that it made the locomotives very picky about good trackwork. Her counterbalancing and precision mechanics were so state of the art that it is often said that the J's top speed is only limited by the nerves of the engineer. Judging by their performance in hauling a 10 car 1050 ton train at speeds in excess of 110mph over Pennsylvania Railroad's "racetrack", the Fort Wayne Division, while on loan, it is hard to argue that claim.
The Js were the pride of the N&W, pulling passenger trains such as "The Powhatan Arrow", "Pocahontas", and "Cavalier", as well as ferrying Southern Railway's "Tennessean" between Monroe, Virginia and Bristol, Tennessee. While on test on the Pennsylvania Railroad, number 610 proved that a J could pull ten cars at 110 mph along a section of flat, straight track. Despite the power and speed capabilities the Js were among the most reliable engines, running as many as 15,000 miles per month, even on the mountainous and relatively short route of the N&W.
Other HO Scale Norfolk & Western Locomotives: Bachmann Spectrum HO Scale 4-8-2 Mountain Locomotive - Norfolk & Western / Broadway Limited HO Scale 2-6-6-4 Class A Locomotive - Norfolk & Western
Other HO Scale 4-8-4 Northern Locomotives: Bachmann HO Scale 4-8-4 GS-4 Locomotive - American Freedom Train #4449 / Athearn HO Scale 4-8-4 Nothern "800" Locomotive - Union Pacific / Bachmann HO Scale 4-8-4 GS-4 Locomotive - Southern Pacific (War Baby) / MTH HO Scale 4-8-4 GS-6 Locomotive - Western Pacific / Bachmann 4-8-4 Northern Locomotive - HO Scale - Santa Fe