Author Tim Hensley has published once again, this time with friend Kenneth Miller. The writer and train enthusiast’s recent publication follows the history of the Norfolk and Western Six-Eleven.
In his new novel, “Norfolk and Western Six-Eleven: 3 Times A Lady,” he includes Portsmouth’s impact on the life of the special locomotive.
“Portsmouth was the headquarters of the Scioto Division. It extended from Williamson, West Virginia and went to Cincinnati and Columbus” Hensley said. “Portsmouth even had a large classification yard, which was the first ever electronic switching yard in the world. It was introduced in 1955. It has always been a big railroad town.”
While Portsmouth is known as being a river town, with barges going up and down the Ohio, Hensley says it is important to remember the importance of the railroad cutting through the county.
“Along with the steel mill, it was always one of the biggest employers in the area. Many people made their living off the railroad and the shops it had,” Hensley explained. “They had a big wheel shop there, where they made wheels for the whole railroad. They had a car shop and two roundhouses at one time, as well as a back shop, where they were re-building four to six engines at all times.”
While the book covers the history of the locomotive, and many interesting topics, Hensley is most proud of the active voices he captures from previous employees.
“It has many testimonies from oral history tapes. I have published, in their own words, how they felt about the locomotives,” Hensley said. “I think it is, by far, the best effort that has ever been done.”
Hensley is a retired journalist and engineer with an expansive history of working with trains. He lives in Kenova, West Virginia and operates the Trainmasters House Bed & Breakfast. He is currently working on a second book, one that focuses on the Norfolk and Western Class A Locomotive.
A copy of Hensley’s book can be purchased at Market Street Hardware for $35. Reach Hensley at 304-633-8512
Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.