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Portmouth Railroad Museum

Portsmouth Railroad Museum

Portsmouth, Virginia

In 2007, McPherson Design Group provided various structural engineering services for this project, including design of the rail platform with a small-cantilevered roof and elevated concrete deck and a small kiosk at the Railroad Museum. In 2010, we provided limited special inspection services for the Railroad Museum. The Railroad Museum consists of a five-car train and a depot-style platform. The two mail cars will serve as a walk-through gallery for everything from old photos of locomotives to rail tools and a caboose stove. An antique Norfolk Southern caboose and a Wabash Railroad Co. dining car are also part of the show, but the undisputed star is a 1910-era Norfolk and Western steam locomotive. It was rescued from a scrap yard in Roanoke three years ago. Officially called Engine No. 1134, the old titan of the tracks had become a rusted ghost. The locomotive was among a group of discards called the Lost Engines of Roanoke that railroad preservationists had been trying to save from the scrap yard for years. At some point the trains were promised to the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke. Portsmouth's Museum Group negotiated a deal to pay to move the equipment in exchange for one of the locomotives and its auxiliary tender. The total cost to obtain and restore the locomotive was $225,000. It had to be separated into three parts for transporting and then was welded back together in Portsmouth. The organization spent another $400,000 to landscape the area around the train and to build the platform. In all, the Board has raised about $2 million - two-thirds from the private sector and the rest from two state grants.