C&O 614 is a 4-8-4 type steam locomotive.
In June 1948, Chesapeake & Ohio 614 was built by the Lima Locomotive Works of Ohio. The C&O called there 4-8-4s Greenbriers, instead of Northerns. The C&O had 12 Greenbriers, numbered 600-614. These 4-8-4 locomotivers were of the J-3 class. Due to increasing traffic, the C&O leased eleven RF&P (Richmond, Fredricksburg & Potamac) 4-8-4 locomotives, numbered 613-622. C&O 614's number had to be changed to 611, since RF&P 614 had the same number. The same year, C&O retired the '611' and remaining J-3s, along with the RF&P 4-8-4s. The 614, still numbered as 611, was later moved to Russel, Kentucky, for storage.
Restoration in 1980 and furtherEdit
The C&O 614 sat on the storage track along with some other C&O steam sisters. One of them was the sole surviving C&O 2-8-2 locomotive. 614's fate would have likely ended up like the 2-8-2, scrapped, along with the other steam locomotives on the storage line. However, 614 was donated, along with a Mallet 2-6-6-2 and Kanawha 2-8-4, to the B&ORRM in Baltimore, Maryland. It wasn't until 1979 when the 614 had a chance to operate again.
The Reading 2101, which the Chessie System had leased from Ross E. Rowland, Jr, was stored in a roundhouse at Silver Grove, Kentucky, waiting to be fired up for the 3rd season of the Chessie Steam Special. But a fire in March 1979 destroyed the roundhouse, and 2101's operating career. The Chessie System felt solely responsible for this, so they donated $1,000,000 to Ross Rowland in order to buy & restore a new steam locomotive. He chose 614, for it's size and running capacity. In 1980, the C&O 614 was restored by Ross and his crew. Also in 1980, Hays T. Watkins, CEO of the Chessie System at that time, wanted to spread awareness of grade crossing safety and Operation Lifesaver.
After 614's restoration was complete, the Chessie leased C&O 614 for the Chessie Safety Express. The Chessie Safety Express ran excursions in 1981 and 1982 to help prevent grade crossing accidents. These excursions were cancelled, since it was found that the CSE almost made grade crossing accidents happen, due to some fans not riding the train. In 1985, the 614 ran test runs as 614T for the ACE 3000, an experimental modern steam locomotive. The 614T ran on Charleston, West Virginia trackage of the Chessie System to prove that steam locomotives could perform outstandingly on modern railroads. She hauled large loaded coal trains, and was fitted with two auxiliary water tenders for the ACE 3000 tests. The project was a bust, and was soon cancelled due to the Chessie System withdrawing their partnership and also because of financial problems.
The C&O 614's next well known venture were the excursions in New Jersey in the 1990's. This is also the time 614 re-cieved ditch lights, since the locomotive was operating on a mainline, and the FRA required that any locomotive had to have ditch lights on a mainline, in the 1990's, though. After the New Jersey excursions, 614 was slated to haul the 21st Century Limited, a train Ross Rowland envisioned to show the technology advances and more of the new 21st century. Sadly this was not to be, and some time after that, 614 was stored on a siding at the New Hope & Ivyland and was later placed on display at the Virginia Museum of Transportation. In 2012, 614 was moved to the C&O Railway Heritage Center in Clifton Forge, Virginia. There, she was cosmetically restored in the colors of the Greenbrier Presidential Express, a proposed project by Rowland but was cancelled due to financial troubles. Today, 614 still sits there, along with it's water auxiliary tender.
Ross Rowland has plans to restore 614, once again, for his new Yellow Ribbon Express. Ross also plans to convert the engine from burning coal, to burning Natural Gas.