In 191X, the Pennsylvania Southern Railroad ordered a series of seven heavy 2-10-0 locomotives. Nos. 660-665 were equipped with Wooten fireboxes, as per standards on the anthracite-burning line. The last locomotive in the series, however, was equipped with an experimental Woopaire-type boiler, touted as the definitive answer to difficult-to-fire fuels. Indeed, it didn’t take long for No. 666 to prove herself against her sisters on the mainline— 666 could fly up hills pulling tonnage that left conventional locomotives panting for breath. Firemen claimed that her fire roared no matter what they did with their scoops!
But there was something not quite right about Ol’ 666, too. First it was the time she ran away— not from a yard, unattended, but on the mainline, with a crew assigned. It took a series of frantic telegraph relays and a pulled rail to bring the loco to a stop that day... and her crew was never heard from again. Not long after, she was switching hoppers at the Number Four mine when she inexplicably shoved a cut of cars over the end of a siding and down an embankment before coming to a jammed, derailed halt— that time, a pair of smoldering boots was found in the cab.
Over the years to come, a number of crewmen found themselves assigned behind 666’s big, jollily-burning Woopaire boiler— and nearly each found that assignment to be his last. (Occasionally a burned bandana or lost glove remained to mark a man’s last post on her deck plate.) Finally the men on the Coal Division decided that they had had enough with the devilish machine. One early morning in 192X, a conveniently-opened draw bridge in the Tidewater took 666 down for the count. The Railroad wrote the engine off as a loss, but for 50 years the water under the bridge boiled, marking the grave of the demonic, hellfire-fueled engine below...Look, Ma, no white driver tires.