View Full Version : Virginia Museum of Transportation

Dan White
10-01-2009, 08:31 PM
If you have not visited the VA Museum of Transportation in Roanoke you should make the effort to stop by during a trip up or down the East Coast. It has some great pieces of history located in the former Norfolk Southern depot. As far as transportation pieces Studebaker has the best showing of all makes, starting with an Studebaker buggy. There is a Speedster complete with a SDC sticker (anyone know who's this is?) a '50 bullet nose, a Lark taxi (the real thing!) plus a '50 Packard. There are also some of the most powerful steam locomotives ever built there as well, and at least one still is operational. In fact both are more powerful than any single diesel locomotive yet built. Neat place, highly recommend it.













Dan White
64 R1 GT
64 R2 GT

10-01-2009, 08:40 PM
I'm surprised the taxi has a 4-speed tranny in it. I assumed a HD automatic would have been standard equipment by 1962. Anyway, thanks for sharing the pics as its always nice to see local attractions in other cities.

Brent's rootbeer racer.

10-01-2009, 08:48 PM
I think the taxi could be ordered with the 3sp shifter on the floor, but I could be wrong...

<div align="left">1960 Lark 60S-W4</div id="left"> <div align="right">1962 7E7-122</div id="right">

TX Rebel
10-01-2009, 11:36 PM
Wow- I love those big locomotives, & that '57 Chrysler in the background. Thanks for posting! I need to add that to my list of places to visit the next time I get to the E coast.

Barry'd in Studes

10-02-2009, 03:33 AM
I love those big locomotives also.
Is that 611 locomotive a Raymond Loewy design, Nope here it is.


10-02-2009, 04:18 AM
The Roanoke Chapter was there last month, and I was there also.


Leonard Shepherd


10-02-2009, 07:19 AM
I visited that museum many years ago and was impressed then and I understand it has gotten better since then. I need to go back. Sounds like a good road trip.

Joe Roberts
'61 R1 Champ
'65 Cruiser
Editor of "The Down Easterner"
Eastern North Carolina Chapter

TX Rebel
10-02-2009, 08:37 AM
It would be difficult to imagine a RR museum which could compare with the one we saw in Sacramento, but, like the one we saw in Strasburg last year- I don't want to miss it.

Barry'd in Studes

10-02-2009, 08:46 AM
A very interesting place indeed!
I posted a thread about this museum in March of '08
and linked 136 pic's taken during a wandering afternoon...
I loved the circus diorama from upstairs...

Dan White
10-02-2009, 10:22 AM
Here is the link to the museum:


Dan White
64 R1 GT
64 R2 GT

10-02-2009, 01:40 PM
Someone should check that 1955 Speedster for the numbers being searched for in another topic on ths Forum.

Gary L.
Wappinger, NY

SDC member since 1968
Studebaker enthusiast much longer

Steve T
10-02-2009, 08:25 PM
That loco with RL standing on the skirting appears to be the one-off Pennsylvania RR S-1 Duplex 6-4-4-6 prototype, engineered and built at Pennsy's Altoona shops. One of the largest locomotives ever built specifically for express passenger-train service, it was displayed at one of the late-30s World's Fairs, but I do not think it actually saw much, if any, operational use by PRR.

Loewy's firm did plenty of design work for Pennsy, the best-known example being the streamlined version of PRR's K-4 Pacific locos. The great design rivalry in northeast-US railroading was between Loewy and Henry Dreyfus, who was the designer of choice for the New York Central and oversaw the classic NYC J-3 Hudson "Roman Helmet" streamliner. N&W's streamlined Js, actually, occupy a point halfway between those two engines, visually. Pity only #611 survives, and she is no longer running...

Thanks all for some very interesting pix! (Oh, and to keep some Stude content--besides obliquely via Loewy--that 62 Lark taxi rocks!):D


Dan White
10-02-2009, 08:54 PM
The freight engine was an A class built by NW shops in Roanoke. NW was one of the last RR to abandon steam and this was one of the their last shots and big power. This engine I believe was the most powerful ever built in the US, or pretty close to it.

The steamlined engine is the J611, which looks something like the streamliners of the time but I was strictly NW in design.

Here is a link to the particulars:



Dan White
64 R1 GT
64 R2 GT

10-02-2009, 09:38 PM
Wife and I rode on one of the last trips that 611 took in 1990.. Sure did belch out lots of steam and smoke when she wanted to..


Steve T
10-02-2009, 09:50 PM

Thanx for the additional vectors on N&W's J and A; to clarify, I was referring to the non-N&W streamliner further down the thread, which I'm pretty sure is Pennsy's unique (bizarre?) 6-4-4-6 S-1.

I'll have to make a point of seeing that museum sometime. Should be easy to talk my dad into a visit...he's a train guy, has an N scale Ontario Northland Railway in his basement, and loves to travel. We used to go "train watching" locally a time or two a week when I was a kid...good times.


Jeff T.
10-02-2009, 10:34 PM
The six cylinder taxi in 1962 could be ordered with a T86 with a floor shift. The shifter is nearly identical with the shifter that was used in the three speed Avanti, the difference being the shift handle.

I've been slowly collecting parts to install a t86 od with a floor shift behind a Lark six but finding one of those stock shifters is darn near impossible. I had an opportunity for buy an Avanti three speed with stock shifter but family emergency came up and squashed that deal.

Oh well, I guess that I will need to get a Hurst unit 'cause you just cannot find a stock unit:)

Great museum, if I ever get ot Va...

Jeff T.

"I'm getting nowhere as fast as I can"
The Replacements.

10-06-2009, 11:54 AM
Dan on the platform near the freight windows were three additional crriages two of which are also Studebakers. i was there a year ago and it is just a fascinating building and display.

10-07-2009, 11:05 AM
What ever happened to the experimental '53 they had (the one with all kinds of instrumentation and a periscope rear vision system)?

Paul Johnson, Wild and Wonderful West Virginia. '64 Daytona Wagonaire, '64 Daytona convertible, '53 Commander Starliner, Museum R-4 engine, '62 Gravely Model L, '72 Gravely Model 430


10-07-2009, 06:41 PM
quote:What ever happened to the experimental '53 they had (the one with all kinds of instrumentation and a periscope rear vision system)?

I think it is there, but I couldn't find it. I went in a storage room and I have some pictures when I last went there. The person told me not to go in there.



Leonard Shepherd


10-08-2009, 07:20 PM
Where is the Raymond Loewy Museum? I thought it was part of this, but appears I was mistaken. I read it is in Virginia, someplace. Huck

Gary Hildebrandt

10-08-2009, 07:51 PM
Regarding regular use of the S-1's(6-4-4-6), they were used in the 40's for about 10 years. They went into service after the World's Fair in 1939, mainly as a passenger locomotive. One of the biggest problems was the engineers thought this would yield more performance than the 4-8-4's they had at the time, but in the later years this engine was plagued with traction issues when it started moving. The engine or engines received the Pennsylvania moniker on the tender rather than the American Railroad moniker it had at the fair. However, for a locomotive that's pretty short in duration, but it did evolve in the Q and T designations before they were scrapped in 1949. The rest of Pennsylvania's steam locomotive fleet followed soon after as well.
I gotta say though, in the case of getting one from Broadway Limited, it makes a very unique and fine model to pull your passenger cars with. Now if I can only gather my pennies and go get one.......