This is C&O No. 1604 "Allegheny," a 2-6-6-6 articulated steam locomotive.
She was built in 1941, in what was to become the twilight of American steam.
The odd-looking wheel configuration is easily explained - her firebox
was so large it required a 6-wheel truck at the rear to carry the weight.
Locomotives of this class would pull heavy coal drags in the mountains of
western Maryland, from which the class took its name. But these powerhouses
were also capable of high speed operation and occasionally pulled
passenger trains on the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad.
No. 1604 is one of only two such locomotives spared from the scrapper's torch. She currently
resides safely inside the shops at the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum in Baltimore.
But one can Imagine seeing her under steam once again, thundering through
a mountain pass, her mighty chuffing and rich whistle blasts echoing for miles!
Meantime, slumber gently, handsome beast.
©2017 Steve Ember