Historic steam engine leaves Roanoke after five years

Steam engine was on loan from museum in St. Louis

Steam engine 2156 (left, behind passenger car) sits on the tracks Wednesday waiting to depart.
Steam engine 2156 (left, behind passenger car) sits on the tracks Wednesday waiting to depart. (Copyright 2020 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)

ROANOKE, Va. – It’s the end of an era in Roanoke as one of what are known as “The Big Three” class of Norfolk Southern steam engines leaves.

Engine 2156 left Wednesday afternoon for the transportation museum in St. Louis.

It had been loaned to the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke for the past five years to be with engines from the other two classes.

All three engines were built in Roanoke.

Museum Interim Director Don Moser said the museum didn’t want to let the 2156 go.

“We did work with the museum in St. Louis to try to come to an agreement on possibly keeping it. We did provide them with a sizable offer and it was turned down. They wanted her back,” Moser said.

He said the museum may try to get it back in the future.