Chesapeake and Ohio Historical Society Inc

A nonprofit organization

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$10,000 Goal


For 56 years, The Chesapeake and Ohio Historical Society has served to interpret the American Railroad Experience, and how that experience contributed to the building and growth of the nation, utilizing the history of the C&O Railway.  That history includes, a vast collection of artifacts in the Freight House Museum, passenger cars, freight cars, and locomotives from both the heavy weight and streamline era.  Included in this collection is one of the last Lima built Super Power Steam Locomotives, 614 who's 75 Anniversary we celebrate in 2023.


C&O Greenbrier J-3a 614 rolled out of the Lima Locomotive Works shops in June of 1948, weighing in at 868,330 pounds, with 74 inch drivers, a total tractive effort of 78,850 pounds and a length of 112 feet 3 inches stands as the last of the remaining C&O 4-8-4 in existence.

The locomotive was designed to carry the C&O's premier passenger trains, The George Washington, The FFV, and The Sportsman across the Blue Ridge and Alleghany mountain ranges at speeds exceeding 60 miles per hour with a consist of 14 heavy weight cars.

The J-3a's differed from previous C&O 4-8-4 models by having shorter, as well as fewer tubes and flues for less heating surface, having all axles, including the tender, and side rods equipped with roller bearings. The engines were manufactured with aluminum cabs, boiler jacketing and cylinder covers, and featured a solid pilot with a retractable coupler and air line aftercoolers.

The arrival of the EMD E-8's eliminated the 4-8-4's from mainline passenger service and they were subsequently relegated to freight service on manifest runs east of Clifton Forge.  With the new GP-7's arriving on the railroad, the J-3a's were again removed from operation and placed in storage.

In 1955, the C&O experienced an increase in business along with a boom in the export coal causing a power shortage on the railroad.  To alleviate this shortage, the Greenbrier's were once again placed in service, this time in manifest service out of Russell.  As newer diesel power arrived on the property, the Greenbrier's were retired from service in 1955 and 1956, with the 614 remaining as the sole survivor.

When it was removed from active service, the locomotive was stored in Kentucky until 1975, when it was cosmetically restored and moved the the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore.

Rail enthusiast and financier Ross Rowland purchased the 614 in 1979 and oversaw a complete overhaul and re-build of the engine.

Upon completion of the re-build, the 614 entered excursion service hauling the Chessie Safety Express in the early 1980's and then partnering with New Jersey Transit from 1996 to 1998 running trains from Hoboken, New Jersey to Port Jervis, New York.

In 2011, the 614 was featured as part of the exhibit "The Thoroughbreds of Steam" at the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke, then moved to it's current location at C&O Heritage Center in Clifton Forge where it has been on display and enjoyed by thousands of visitors.


Your generous donation will allow the C&O Historical Society to move forward with restoration efforts to preserve and maintain our collection of locomotives, freight and passenger cars, and our facilities at the Heritage Center. And if you have not visited the C&O Heritage Center in Clifton Forge, or have not visited for a while, we invite you come and share the wonderful experience of American Railroading as seen through the history of the Chesapeake and Ohio. 

All contributors to the Giving Tuesday Campaign, will receive a certificate of appreciation, and a collection of prints of 614.  Those contributing at the Greenbrier Level of $1,000.00 or more, will also receive a limited edition 614 T-Shirt and 11 X 17 print of 614.

Organization Data


Organization name

Chesapeake and Ohio Historical Society Inc

Tax id (EIN)



Economic Development




540 862 2210