The Lost Engines of Roanoke
News History Scrapyard Photos Other Lost Engines Discussion (Yahoo! Group - opens in new window) Links
The empty siding:
The "Lost Engines of Roanoke" have gone to new homes in preservation, and not even the rails remain at the former Virginia Scrap Iron & Metal yard where they sat for nearly six decades.
September 26, 2009.
The Empty Siding, September 26, 2009

Twelve years before her eventual rescue, Norfolk & Western 1118 looked for all the world like a lost engine engine abandoned in the Amazon jungle, August 10, 1997. The locomotive is now being restored by the Roanoke Chapter, NRHS.

The Lost Engines of Roanoke website was launched in 1997 as a call to action to save four little-known survivors of the steam era. Hidden among the creepers at the Virginia Scrap Iron and Metal Co. yard on South Jefferson Street in Roanoke, Virginia, were four steam engines that time forgot. Norfolk & Western locomotives 917, 1118, 1134, and 1151 had been sold for scrap in 1950, at which time the N&W was still building new steam locomotives and had yet to order a single diesel. For nearly sixty years they awaited their fate, later accompanied by vintage Baldwin diesels Chesapeake Western 662 and 663 among other rolling stock.

Today, these "lost engines" are lost no more, with all of the locomotives and rolling stock from the Roanoke scrapyard having found new homes in preservation. Although they are saved from scrap, the process of transforming them from rusting scrapyard hulks into lovingly restored museum pieces is ongoing. This website will continue to support these restoration efforts, and to tell the remarkable story of the "Lost Engines" of Roanoke, along with other similar tales of scrapyard survival from around the country.

Where are they now?

Web site by Richard Jenkins.
For more information, please e-mail:

A big THANK YOU to the following people who have contributed information and/or resources to make this site possible: Tom vonTrott, Laura K. Smith at Virginia Tech, Rhonda Howard at Norfolk Southern, Lori Swingle at the Denver Public Library, Nathaniel Guest, Ken Miller, Jerry Murphy, Eddie Dove, and Richard Glueck

What's New

7/7/12 - Chesapeake Western 662 Restored

The restoration of Baldwin diesel no. 662 has been completed by the Roanoke Chapter, NRHS. The locomotive was delivered to her new home at the Virginia Museum of Transportation on July 5th, with an unveiling and dedication ceremony on the 7th. Although she was not restored to operation, the engine received a very thorough cosmetic restoration and looks absolutely stunning. Congrats to the Roanoke Chapter for a job well done!

Distinctive diesel gets restoration from Roanoke Chapter of National Railway Historical Society - Roanoke Times, 7/6/12

Photos of the restoration on the Roanoke Chapter's Facebook page:
Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3

5/31/10 - Press coverage of the restored 1134

Rising from the rust - Roanoke Times, 5/30/10

Restored locomotive arrives for Portsmouth museum - The Virginian-Pilot, 5/20/10

Ports. railroad museum nears completion - WAVY Channel 10 News, 5/19/10

5/20/10 - N&W 1134 Back in One Piece in Portsmouth

The three sections (boiler, frame/running gear, and cab) of Norfolk & Western 1134 arrived at her new home at the Railroad Museum of Virginia in Portsmouth over the weekend of May 15-16, joining the restored 16,000-gallon tender from the Roanoke scrapyard, along with several other pieces of rolling stock in the RRMoV collection. Reassembly of the locomotive was completed on Monday the 17th.

View older news updates here.

© 1997 - Richard Jenkins

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