This is a really nice older lock set from the Norfolk & Western Railway. They are a great pair, working well together and would be a fine addition to any better collection of rail locks and keys.
THE LOCK is stamped 1924 on the shackle. It has a very attractive castback N&WRYCO set off beautifully from a finely pebbled background. On the other side of the shackle is stamped SLAYMAKER,LANCASTER PA its maker. CONDITION is excellent. It does show some surface bumps and dings from use but nothing worse. The color is very attractive deep golden brass. The inner spring is very tight and snaps back sharply over the keyhole when released after being pushed to the side. The only thing we can fault is that the steel clevis appears to be a replacement but it "belongs". It moves and is not rusted in place. The chain is the correct type and may be original.
THE KEY is likely older than the lock. On one side of its bow is stamped N&W in very large serif Roman letters. On the other side is stamped serial number 9627, also very large. The is no maker mark. It is brass but has darkened about as dark as brass can get. The end of the barrel is slightly worn more on one side but there are NO splits or metal damage.
The Norfolk & Western Railway was a US Class I railroad that ran from 1870 until 1997. An important Mid-Atlantic railroad, it operated in the states of Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio; and after 1960s mergers, also Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, New York, and Pennsylvania. All in all, the N&W was formed by more than 200 railroad mergers between 1838 and 1982. By 1970 it was operating over nearly 15,000 miles of track. It was headquartered in Roanoke, Virginia, for most of its existence. The N&W was famous for manufacturing its own steam locomotives, which were built at the Roanoke Shops. In 1980, N&W teamed up with the Southern Railway to create the Norfolk Southern Corporation holding company by merging their business operations. The N&W and the Southern Railway continued as separate railroads, but under one holding company. On December 31, 1990, the Southern Railway was renamed "Norfolk Southern Railway" to reflect the Norfolk Southern Corporation. On the same day, the renamed Norfolk Southern Railway gained full control of the Norfolk & Western Railway, with the N&W being transferred from the holding company to the renamed Norfolk Southern Railway. The N&W was finally absorbed into the renamed Norfolk Southern Railway seven years later in 1997.
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