Model Spotlight: N Scale Norfolk and Western Y6b
The Norfolk and Western Class Y6b, constructed between 1948 and 1952, was a group of 2-8-8-2 Mallet locomotives specifically built for the Norfolk and Western Railway. With a total of 30 units produced, the Y6b series became synonymous with the hardworking spirit of the Norfolk and Western Railway and represented the pinnacle of compound mallet design.
The N&W workshops in Roanoke, Virginia, equipped all Y Class engine and tender axles with roller bearings, while incorporating the same outside frame lead truck used in the Class A locomotives. The trailing truck also featured roller bearings, fitted into an external frame design. These enhancements significantly increased the cost of the Y6b locomotives compared to their predecessors. However, maintenance records demonstrated that these engines offered superior operational availability compared to earlier models.
The Y6b series improved upon the Y6a class, with the main distinction being their longer length, larger firebox, and greater tractive effort. Even when the Norfolk and Western Railway discontinued mainline steam operations in 1959, 50 Y6 locomotives were still actively serving in the coal fields until the arrival of the final diesel replacements. The last of the Y Class locomotives were retired during the summer of 1960.
In 2022, Broadway Limited built our first production of the N&W Y6b in N scale. We built five road numbers in the standard in-service paint scheme, one painted but unlettered and unnumbered model, and two models painted in fantasy paint schemes. The fantasy schemes are adaptations of prototypical N&W paint schemes, that were never applied to the Y6bs in real life, but look beautiful on the models.
Not only do these locomotives look beautiful but boy can they pull! Check out Jimmy from the YouTube Channel DIY and Digital Railroad as he showed off the incredible pulling power of these locomotives!
We are almost sold out of these beautiful steamers, so order yours from your dealer today! If you aren't sure where to find a dealer near you, you can find one here.