Richmond's Last Commercial Steam Locomotive

In May of 67 Richmond’s only steam locomotive whistle projects notes of commerce on Browns Island and the remains of Tredegar turned storage for the paper mill for the last time in the city.

The site where 120 some years ago the first Virginia built boiler steam whistles had their source becomes the scene of their final performance paid as a corporate operating expense .
only the roar of water slicing rock molecule by molecule when the rapids be of velocity in high water time, the song of the Phoebe and the whistling kettle from the Osprey are heard now
In 43 locomotive 5019 a few feet longer than the Army’s standard truck an 0-6- 0 type S100 class rolled out of the H.K. Porter factory in Pittsburgh whose pre-war products run on 6 continents
A 29 foot 6 inch puffing 45 .5 ton draft horse to assemble trains in the yards and take raw materials from mainline to factory and back as crafted goods not train cars staffed by Pullman Porters
Like Solomon’s Temple its design planned by one generation but for war the Great War and
Stamped into production by their children in the next
Clouds of smoke and exhaust from C-47s ,the Liberty Ships, and S100s in the rail yards of the port of Calais , bringing floods of supplies supporting the warfighter not water as in the Exodus to end on nooses at Nuremberg the gliding of the wings of the evil eagle of the Baltic whose leaders use resettlement by railcar(showers of Zyklon B gas or overwork at Concentration Camps ) to make the empire breed only the best
Uncle just wants diesels that rumble not rhythmic side-rods when the war ends
Oliver Bullied buys 15 for Southampton UK docks to work in the sharp twists now that the Terriers from the time of churchill’s boyhood bark in agony of worn gears and frames.
Sold to Tredegar where pig iron ingots still are reheated to run into rail for the GP-7 and SW1200 that replace iron horse on the modern mainline and sidings, shells to halt the Soviet gunner dedicated to die for the motherland should the Cold War turn hot as the ladle , bridge parts for the plans of DOT engineer , the mining executive , and SAC CE squadrons.
The hammer press falls for the last time
In 57 still it runs by the walls built of slaves as their great- grandchildren integrate the schools fulfilling Mr. Lincoln's plan
Onto Browns Island it travels now too
Tree molecules turned to Blotter Paper by Breaker Beater
Products and machinery of another era constrained by an island the accountants mark with red pens the reports to close in 67 the plant bleeding money that built goods for and countered the stars and stripes and lone star red and made the paper to keep clear the work for the cartoonist dip pens that bring amusement and clarity to political calamity.
Track geometry cannot take the drop equalizer trucks of ALCO RS-1
Parts of which were made from what was Trigg’s factory up the road
This rail needs the leading wheel unchanged from the era of horseshoes by the box car load for the cavalry that marched Crazy Horse to the reservation
A rebel against technology’s spread it was
Many a steam locomotive and early diesel has by 67 already been recycled
The metal of 5019 will not undergo metamorphic change into those of a cylinder on Captain Harold’s RFD La France.
This very week 5019 may run like a few moments of corporate pr film from 3 generations ago live in color on the grounds of the NRHS chapter.

Here is background info
The Tredegar Ironworks of Richmond ,Virginia of pre- Civil War and Civil War fame continued to operate making horseshoes, railroad track and bridge parts for private firms and the government as well as military items after the civil war until 1957 . All the flour mills on Browns Island had closed by mid 1890s. The streetcar line that became Dominion Power had a coal and oil fired power plant on Brown’’ s Island . It was closed in 1912 when the hydro-electric plant at the eastern end built in 1899 was expanded. The old plant at western half was leased to a paper company to be remodeled into a new paper mill that expanded to take up most of land up to where the electrical equipment yard is today. After Tredegar closed its site and moved a few product lines to a new factory in Chesterfield , the paper mill began using a few buildings of Tredegar. Most buildings of Tredegar were demolished between 1957 and the mid 1970s as they became unsafe or caught on fire as machinery was salvaged for scrap metal. The entire paper mill was demolished on Browns Island between 1968 and 1980. A few machines had parts of them retained in storage and ended up on display on the island. The locomotive named the Rebel was built in 1943 for the Army based on a design from 1917 that was updated in 1940-early 1942 . Around 400 of the S100 type were built. It was sold to Tredegar by one of the Federal property disposal agencies in 1948. When the paper mill bought Tredegar after it closed , it bought the locomotive too, to be a backup for its regular steam locomotive. The paper mill ran a locomotive for its own use, the steam generating plant, and the hydro -electric plant .The tracks were not of configuration that a diesel locomotive could have been used on them safely. Dominion built a steam generating plant in 1932 that ran till 1972. It supplied steam to heat buildings and for industrial uses for area firms. It stood about 60 feet from the hydro plant. Steam Plant was torn down in 2003. The battleship USS West Virginia had been built at Newport News Shipbuilding 1920-1923. 5019 was donated ,by what is now Afton Corp, to the Old Dominion Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society. The Chapter restored the locomotive to operational status. The controversial Dr. DeJarnette wrote a poem ‘’Mendel’s Law’’ in the 1920s about his work, which was sterilizing those persons whom he felt were unsuitable to be allowed to be parents. He encouraged other states and doctors to implement his policies. Nazi Germany’s officials used Dr. DeJarnette’s work to try to justify their atrocities when they were tried after World War II ended.


Henrico, VA

A full time buyer of goods and services for a state agency who writes business history and procurement training articles along with an occasional poem when not at work, birdwatching, tending vegetable garden , giving two cats attention , visiting a museum, attending a poetry reading or with friends.

J.Tyler TurpinComment