The Norfolk & Western was renowned, perhaps better than any other railroad, for its steam power efficiency and no locomotive better exemplified this than the J Class Northern. Debuting in 1941, the 4-8-4 rolled onto the rails with its beautiful streamlined cowling gracing an incredibly powerful and efficient powerplant.
Developed to meet the growing passenger service requirements leading up to and through World War II, the J Class locomotives were powerful and more than capable of tackling the grades of the Blue Ridge mountains. Yet, they could "run like a rabbit" on the flats, easily reaching speeds greater than 100 miles per hour with 12 to 14 passenger cars in tow. Even with the decline in passenger service after the war, the N&W added more J's to their fleet and created some of the country's most elegant passenger service runs. Famous trains like the Powhatan Arrow were renowned for their amenities and service. Despite the growing rise of dieselization, the J Class locomotives were able to remain in service until 1959, longer than any other major railroad's use of steam power.
Now you can enjoy the return of one of our finest steam engine models to the M.T.H. Premier Line. Fully outfitted with the power and performance of Proto-Sound 2.0, the 2008 model, like all Premier steam engines is equipped with synchronized puffing smoke, Proto-Speed control for incredible slow speed action and the delicious sounds of Passenger Station Proto-Effects.