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It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our dear friend, Doug Karhan, retired Norfolk Southern Master Mechanic of Steam. Doug began his steam locomotive career with volunteer work on the Southern Railway excursion locomotives in the mid-1970s. In 1975, also as a volunteer, he participated in the rebuild of ex - Reading 2101 for the American Freedom Train. Hired by Southern Railway in 1976 as General Foreman - Steam under W. J. Purdie, he was promoted to Master Mechanic - Steam in 1982.
Karhan was master mechanic when NS restored Norfolk & Western 2-6-6-4 No. 1218 between 1985 and 1987 and also oversaw work on Savannah & Atlanta 4-6-2 No. 750 in 1983, as well as ongoing maintenance on N&W Class J No. 611. Doug retired from Norfolk Southern in 2000.
Since retiring, in the winters Doug lent his valuable experience to the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum in the rebuilding of Southern 630 and 4501. During the restoration of 611, Doug provided advice and counsel to the rebuild team, drawing heavily upon his 20-plus years with the Norfolk Southern Steam Department.
Rest in Peace and you will be missed dearly!
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Really disturbing information!!!!!  I knew Doug pretty well, and talked with him a lot, especially when the the Southern acquired the former T&P #610 2-10-4, which was an oil burner. Early on in the career of the 610 on the Southern, both my 4449 buddy Dick Yager and I went down to the Southern to assist/teach Doug and his crew the ins-and-outs of firing a larger oil burning steam locomotive. Doug was such a REALLY nice guy!

Plus, he really wasn't all that old, as he was my age!

Surely a great loss, in my opinion.

I was so sorry to read of Doug's passing though not among Doug's inner circle. Through the 70s 80s and halfway through the 90s I was lucky enough to live near Norris Yard in Birmingham Al.  I started driving out to Norris Yard some time in the seventies when 4449 came through town pulling the Freedom Train.  After that I would go out there and shot a roll of 220 film about once a week. One day one of the steam crew came up to me. I think he intended to run me off but I asked if he would like to see my portfolio on their operation and he walked over to my car with me.  I told him if he ever wanted photos of anything specific loco, personnel, or equipment to give me a call and I would not charge anything.  Well he did call me one time the day before they fired 4501 and I drove over to make some photos of the loco and the crew who restored her.  I printed a dozen or so of the crew posed in front of 4501.  I took them over a few days later and Doug had all the crew sign one for me. I was looking for that photo and will eventually find it but till then here is one of Doug doing a lube job I think the loco was 2716 C&O Kanawha aka Berkshire,  In Southern livery.  I always thought he was a very special kind of guy no doubt he will be greatly missed.         j


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