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 Post subject: Hocking Valley #3
PostPosted: Sat Dec 21, 2019 11:31 am 

Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:16 pm
Posts: 65
Location: Bellefontaine, Ohio
Hocking Valley Scenic #3 has been put to bed for the winter. But the little 060 steamer had a very good season. A little TLC over the winter and she will be ready to go for next year. She will also be 100 in 2020.

 Post subject: Re: Hocking Valley #3
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 11:09 pm 

Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 2:11 pm
Posts: 13

My name is Erich Diebold, and I am a volunteer at the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway as diesel and steam crew. I am also involved with the Ohio Railway Museum and spend some time with the steam thresher/traction engine shows during the summer.

We began restoration of our ex. Beechbottom Power Co. #3 in 2001 and restoration was completed in May 2015. We began our inaugural runs in October 2015. However between 2016 and October 2017, #3 did not run due to technical issues, however by mid 2018 we began running #3 on some of our regular trains.

#3 is classified as a 6-28-D, 331 0-6-0 Baldwin switcher, and was used for hauling in loaded coal cars at a powerhouse owned by Beechbottom Power Companh in Brooke County, West Virginia. The ash from the power house would then be dumped in a specific location outside of the power house. The boiler of #3 as I was told in its early years was originally supposed to be put onto a chassis for a Grand Trunk Western steam locomotive.

You can visit our website at or look up Hocking Valley Scenic Railway on our Facebook page, Twitter and on Instagram for our upcoming special events. Hope to see you on our steam trains this year.

 Post subject: Re: Hocking Valley #3
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 1:31 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3706
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Great story, Eric!!

I'm from Wheeling, W.Va., which is just down the river, and I used to work in Beech Bottom semi-regularly when I worked for a television cable company in the late 1970s.

I well remember the power plant, though not in operation at the time, though I do recall it as running earlier, when my father would drive us to visit friends in Follansbee when I was younger. In fact, my dad worked there for a summer or two around 1947, before he went into the military in the postwar era.

Among the things I recall my dad talking about was that the plant had two types of boilers in it. The older boilers were fired by a chain type grate. This was like a conveyor, in that the coal landed on one end of the grate, and the grate moved along under the boiler, the coal burning as it moved to the other side. At the end, the ash, clinkers, and other things dropped off the end of the conveyor and were washed into the Ohio River.

The other boilers used pulverized coal, and he recalled how the pulverizers that ground the coal made the worst racket you ever heard, The coal was blown into the firebox, where it burned with amazing ferocity, and the ash and clinker came down in a molten state. This went out through a hole in the bottom of the combustion chamber into a large concrete pool of water, and every so often this was flushed into the river. Sometimes this ash and clinker would float on the water, and had to be broken up with rods through access holes to get it to flush out.

He said one time the men who were responsible for flushing the pools were away for some reason, and they didn't get to check one of these pools as quickly as they should. What had happened was some of the ash formed a large floating clinker that completely covered the surface of the water. It was too large by this time to break up, and the clinker was growing. climbing to the hole where the molten material came in, and threatening to plug it.

In a move of desperation, the men quickly drained this pool, and then ran the water back in. This did not flush out the clinker, but it stayed on the bottom as the pool refilled, which allowed the return to normalcy in disposing of ash.

One thing I have to ask about is when No. 3 was retired or transferred from the plant. I ask that because my father told me about a fireless locomotive he saw in use when he worked there. I got to see the engine myself, as the power plant was being demolished. This was a typical postwar Porter 0-4-0F, with the skyline casing. Sadly, it didn't make it into preservation, being scrapped at the plant. Indeed, a conveyor was cut down, and landed on the locomotive.

I can't tell you how much it affected someone then who couldn't imagine something that big going away as it did.

I reviewed satellite photos of Beech Bottom as a result of this story, and while I recognize the road, and I know the plant has been gone since at least the 1980s, it's still shocking to look at the space where it used to be, just a big field there now.

A news story on Power, the actual town where the plant was, from a local TV station. ... ia-village

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