Class J Northern
The Norfolk and Western was the final American railroad to manufacture a steam locomotive -- commonly referred to as a Class J Northern. With the foundation of the N & W railroad being in the heartland of America's coal country, there was less incentive to move to dieselization as seen on other railroads. However, by the mid-1950's the N&W was forced to rethink their position as parts, maintenance and the cost to build a steam locomotive was becoming increasingly higher and dieselization was becoming far more affordable.
Lionel's version of the N & W Class J Northern was actually at the suggestion of a Lionel customer in 1957. The customer scratch-built a working model using the 736 as its foundation and provided the locomotive with a streamlined exterior, simulating the real life locomotive. Eventually Lionel did accept the suggestion and manufactured an excellent model representing the real life locomotive. Since its introduction in 1957, Lionel and other manufacturers have re-issued this locomotive many times over the past 65+ years.
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