N&W 611 Takes Unplanned Baby Steps

Norfolk & Western 611 made its first trip in steam on Saturday, a movement that officials said was unplanned.

The class J 4-8-4 moved under its own power onto the Spencer Shops turntable during a National Train Day celebration at the North Carolina Transportation Museum.

Trains magazine reported that as the 611 moved on its own for the first time in 21 years that the steamer was blowing smoke and the crew was blowing the whistle.

The magazine reported that the 611 crew had added a ton of sand to the dome, tested the engine’s appliances and expression satisfaction with the locomotive’s performance.

The running gear has yet to be painted and the sheet metal cover over its air pumps has not been installed.

Chief Mechanical Officer Scott Lindsay said he drew up a list of minor fixes that need to be made but otherwise there were no major problems with the 611’s performance.

Ahead for the restoration effort lies more testing, a Federal Railroad Administration inspection and a boiler wash.

The 611 is slated to move under its own power later this month in a return to its home at the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke.

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