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Preservation Group Announces Fundraising Campaign to Save Roanoke Scrapyard Engines

July 14, 2008

NATURAL BRIDGE, VA Ė The Western Virginia Railroad Preservation Society (TWVRPS) is pleased to announce the launch of a new fundraising campaign to rescue the remaining historic railroad equipment in the former Virginia Scrap Iron & Metal Company scrapyard in Roanoke, VA. This equipment consists of three Norfolk & Western steam locomotives built between 1910 and 1911, two rare Baldwin diesel locomotives from the Chesapeake Western Railroad, two water canteen cars converted from steam locomotive tenders, and a flatcar.

A Virginia-based nonprofit organization, TWVRPS was originally formed in 2003 for the purpose of trying to save the Roanoke locomotives, but shifted their focus to other projects after the scrapyard donated the equipment to the Virginia Museum of Transportation (VMT) in 2004. However, given the VMTís financial difficulties and their stated primary interest in Roanoke-built steam locomotive number 1151 and one of the former Chesapeake Western diesels, it is clear that other organizations must now come forward in order to save the remaining equipment, and TWVRPS is eager to return to its original objective.

It is the goal of TWVRPS to see as many of the Roanoke scrapyard locomotives saved as possible, through the coordinated efforts of TWVRPS, the VMT, and other interested parties. A fourth steam locomotive, Norfolk & Western 917 was recently acquired by an individual in Ohio and removed from the yard. At an estimated cost of approximately $50,000 each to move the three remaining steam locomotives, two diesels, two tenders and a flat car, just what can be saved will depend on the amount successfully raised before the December 31, 2008 deadline given by the Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority, which now owns the scrapyard site.

TWVRPS will support the VMT in their efforts to acquire the 1151, and has developed a priority list of the remaining equipment. The group is particularly interested in engine number 1118 (the most intact of the three steam locomotives remaining in the yard), and would also like to preserve one of the diesels. The two water tenders, although not original to the locomotives, are similar to tenders that these engines would have used in their final years of service, and are also high on the priority list of items to be saved.

The 1118 and other historic locomotives preserved by TWVRPS are to be restored and displayed in the Commonwealth of Virginia as an important part of the regionís railroad heritage. The Society is currently in negotiations to acquire a permanent site for their museum and restoration facility in western Virginia. The group has identified several potential storage sites in the Roanoke area where the equipment can be placed out of harmís way and restoration work can commence, pending a move to the permanent facility.

The Western Virginia Railroad Preservation Society is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and all donations are tax-deductible. More information about TWVRPS can be found on the Societyís website, www.wvrps.org. Donations to TWVRPS can be made online via PayPal, or by mail to:

The Western Virginia Railroad Preservation Society, Inc.
P.O. Box 124
Natural Bridge, VA 24578