Pact Reached to Move N&W 611 to North Carolina

Norfolk & Western No. 611 will be hitting the road, but it won’t be under steam.

The Virginia Museum of Transportation and the Fire Up 611! committee have announced that they have reached an agreement with the North Carolina Transportation Museum to move the steam locomotive to the North Caroline museum where the restoration work will be performed.

The Class J locomotive will steam back to its home at the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke after the restoration is completed.

The 611 will travel to North Carolina dead in tow but before that can happen the VMT must finishing raising $3.5 million to pay for the restoration of the locomotive as well as construction of a maintenance building for it.

VMT is seeking to raise an additional $1.5 million to establish an endowment for future operation, bringing the total fundraising objective to $5 million.

Thus far, $2.3 million has been raised. No date has been set for the move to North Carolina. Once the funds are raised, No. 611 will be moved dead-in-tow to the North Carolina museum The restoration of the 611 is expected to take six to nine months.

Like us, the North Carolina Transportation Museum strives to preserve and showcase our rail”

The restoration of the 611 will be performed in the 37-stall Bob Julian Roundhouse, built in 1924 by the Southern Railway. It is one of the largest surviving steam era roundhouses left in North America.

Its 100-foot turntable and restoration shop are capable of handling a locomotive the size of No. 611. The museum, located on 57 acres, encompasses 13 historic shop buildings that were part of Southern’s largest steam locomotive shop, which dates to 1896.

“The North Carolina Transportation Museum is honored at the opportunity to partner with the Virginia Museum of Transportation and the Fire Up 611 Committee to provide a location for the restoration of this iconic locomotive,” said Steve Mersch, foundation president. “Speaking on behalf of the museum and foundation employees, volunteers and the local community we are all very excited that once again [the] historic Spencer shops will house the repair of a mainline steam locomotive just as it did in decades past.”

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