N&W 611 to Operate in Virginia, North Carolina

Norfolk & Western No. 611 will be back on the road in 2016, pulling public excursions in Virginia and North Carolina, museum officials announced on Monday.

The Class J 4-8-4 will operate on four weekends between April and June. Sponsoring the excursions will be its owner, the Virginia Museum of Transportation, and the North Carolina Transportation Museum.

Tickets will go on sale in February. Further information is available at www.fireup611.org.

The first trips will run April 9-10, with both trips departing from the NCTM.

The April 9 trip will go to Lynchburg, Virginia, and return. The next day the 611 will pull a trip to Asheville, North Carolina, over the Loops between Old Fort and Ridgecrest where the former Southern Railway mainline passes through a mountainous area of tunnels and bridges that take 13 miles to travel three miles as the crow flies.

The remaining trips will be sponsored by the Virginia Museum of Transportation, although one trip will originate in North Carolina.

There will be trips on April 23 and 24 from Greensboro, North Carolina, to Roanoke, Virginia, and return. The route will be via Hurt, Virginia, over former Virginian Railway track to Roanoke in both directions.

On May 7 and 9, No. 611 will run out of Roanoke to Lynchburg via Blue Ridge grade in the morning and to Walton via Christiansburg grade in the afternoon.

Trips set for June 4 and 5, will travel between Manassas and Front Royal, Virginia, and return.

One roundtrip will operate on the morning of June 4 while two roundtrips are set for June 5.

The locomotive is currently in Roanoke, but will deadhead to the Spencer Shops of the NCTM in February to have maintenance work done and undergo its annual inspection by the Federal Railroad Administration. At Spencer the 611 will have its front truck wheels and axles replaced.

The 611 is also scheduled to make static appearances in Virginia and North Carolina during which it will be under steam and the crew will meet and greet the public. That schedule is:

  • May 14 at the VMT.
  • June 4 at the Manassas Heritage Railway Festival.
  • During June on display at the VMT.
  • During July  and early September at the NCTM
  • Sept. 24-25 at the Danville Rail Heritage Days.

The events at the NCTM and in Danville involve only the locomotive and its crew. No excursions to Danville or to Spencer will be offered.

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