Posted by Dennis A. Livesey on January 6, 2010 
My, she is colorful! Where is she now?
Posted by Ky.CatFan on January 6, 2010 
The Best Friend was a true copy in all aspects. Like the first locomotive it would run both directions under steam, but it was not operated like that when giving short rides. The first car seen behind the engine, contained a large Ford V 8 engine and transmission. Look closely at the large red box in the center of the car, the black area on the front of the box is the radiator for the Ford engine. To shift the steam engine from forward to reverse required some one to get under the locomotive and manually shift the valve gearing, a hot and dirty job. Normal set up procedure was to open all doors on the transport cars, place track pieces between the two cars and set up the track ramp. Next the gasoline engine was started and the Best Friend and first car backed up and coupled to the three riding cars in the second transport car. the entire train was moved forward to the position in Ron's photo and stopped. the steam engine would then be lubricated. After being lubed and checked out the train would be moved on down the ramp and the boiler watered and the fire built in the boiler. The riding cars had vertical steps to access the cars and loading passengers was a hoot. Reloading the train on to the transport cars involved using the gasoline engine to reverse the train and to assist the winch and cable system located in the rear transport car, to pull the train back to the rear car. The three riding cars were disconnected and chocked, etc. The steam engine and first car were then run forward on to the first transport car and tied down as well, lastly the bridge track and the ramp tracks were dismantled and stowed, and all transport car doors closed and secured. I observed this procedure both in Lexington and Versailles, Kentucky.
Posted by Justin Sutton on January 6, 2010 
Nice shot! My question is though how exactly are they pushing the train out of the train car??
Posted by Justin Sutton on January 6, 2010 
Thanks for the answer Catfan :) Looks like I was moments late on missing your comment.
Posted by Ron Flanary on January 6, 2010 
The description of the KY Cat is right on target. I had the "privilege" of helping with the unloading and loading of this tiny beast and its cars at least three times that I can recall. This volunteer work also included cleaning the engine and cars after its previous use, and polishing the metal work on the engine with Brasso. For those who might have missed my earlier shot of the engine in operation, here it is:
Posted by Ky.CatFan on January 6, 2010 
All train movement when not under steam was by the the Ford gasoline engine and transmission in the powered first car of Best Friend's train. When under steam, only forward travel was by steam power. Traveling in reverse back to the starting point was via the powered first car which had it's front axle connected to it's rear axle by roller chain and sprockets. The rear axle probably was a heavy truck axle, but all four wheels were powered. Every thing needed to perform the operation of the Best Friend presentations was carried on the two transport cars, except for some coal and water from local sources. The two transport cars traveled the system in regular trains, except as needed when local yard power might turn the cars so as to be pointing the proper direction at the point of display and operation. The special transport cars are in the collection of a rail museum, but I don't know which one. I also do not know where the Best Friend train is currently housed. If anyone knows these last two things please comment.
Posted by Ron Flanary on January 6, 2010 
As of August 6, 2007, the engine and cars were housed inside the NS office building in Atlanta. The replica of the Best Friend and its two cars belong to the Charleston (SC) chapter of the NRHS, but NS has them on loan for five years (beginning in 2007).
Posted by Pete Reynolds on January 9, 2010 
Once again Norfolk Southern gets their hands on a historic, functioning, steam locomotive and makes a static display of it. There is a pattern here.
Posted by Will Martin on January 15, 2010 
The transport cars are both at the South Carolina Railroad Museum.
Posted by Alf Peoples on January 24, 2014 
Ron, I remember many years ago bringing the Best Friend of Charleston on the Clinchfield to Frisco and setting it off for the Southern.
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