The consist that Norfolk & Western 4-8-4 No. 611 will pull on May 30 will have 18 coaches and first class cars representing an array of railroad heritages.
The manifest will include cars from eight railroads, including Norfolk & Western, Great Northern, New York Central, Chesapeake & Ohio, Southern Railway, Florida East Coast, Seaboard Air Line and the Pennsylvania Railroad.
The front half of the train will have eight Tuscan-red Norfolk Southern coaches rebuilt in the past four years for excursion service.
Then will come two Watauga Valley National Railway Historical Society coaches, one an N&W-painted car.
Following those will be six first-class cars, including a full-length ex-Great Northern dome, two standard domes and ex-Seaboard Air Line lounge Hollywood Beach.
Three original N&W cars, including Watauga coach No. 539 in original lettering and colors and NS 28 and 29 in NS lettering and colors, will be in the consist.
Former New York Central tavern-lounge No. 43, and Southern Railway sleeper-lounge Crescent Harbor are among the first class cars.
The tool car that the 611 carried on excursions from 1982 to 1994, the Roanoke Chapter’s Norfolk & Western mail-storage car No. 1407 and a merchandise car, Paul Revere, will round out the consist.
Preston Claytor of the Virginia Museum of Transportation, which owns the 611, said that five suites will be available for four people – three drawing rooms on the Crescent Harbor and two on the Hollywood Beach with the partition removed.
Excursion tickets went on sale Monday to donors of more than $611 to the restoration effort. Public sales begin May 6 at www.fireup611.org.
The streamlined 1950 Roanoke-built Class J is nearing completion of its restoration at the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, N.C.
Painting of the locomotive began this week, and it should be attached to its tender soon. The 611 will return to its home in Roanoke, Va., on May 30.