Posts Tagged ‘Norfolk & Western 611’

N&W 611 is Back in Roanoke

June 6, 2023

Norfolk & Western 4-8-4 No. 611 is back in Roanoke, Virginia, where it was built in May 1950.

The Class J locomotive reached Roanoke last Friday on a trip from the Strasburg Rail Road in Pennsylvania.

Owned by the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke, the 611 has not been in its hometown since 2019.

Aside from an extended stay at the Strasburg, the 611 also has spent time in Spencer, North Carolina, at the North Carolina Transportation Museum.

The 611 left the Strasburg on May 31. It was towed to Enola Yard near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, by a Norfolk Southern diesel.

The steamer was under steam as it traveled to Virginia in the company of an NS diesel locomotive.

On Saturday VMT held a whistle blow and cab tour of the 611.

Museum officials said the locomotive was to be cleaned and prepared for a Federal Railroad Administration annual inspection later this year.

The 611 is expected to be involved in more public events but those have yet to be announced.

In the meantime the “Queen of Steam” will be on public display at VMT.

N&W 611 Ends Activities at Strasburg

May 31, 2023

Norfolk & Western 4-8-4 No. 611 will be headed home to Virginia soon after ending its activities at the Strasburg Rail Road.

The Class J locomotive pulled excursions over the Memorial Day weekend to conclude a two-year stay in Pennsylvania.

During its time on the Strasburg, shop forces there performed maintenance and inspection chores for the steamer, which was built by N&W in Roanoke, Virginia.

Although no details have been released about the 611’s return to the Virginia Transportation Museum, it presumably will travel over the NS Lurgan District and H Line.

Officials have said discussions are underway about operating the 611 in Virginia.

N&W 611 Excursions to run Memorial Day Weekend

May 23, 2023

Norfolk & Western 4-8-4 No. 611 recently pulled a series of excursions on the Strasburg Rail Road in Pennsylvania.

These included 45-minutes trips and an in-cab experience in which participants could ride in the cab of the J-class locomotive and either help fire or operate it as a member of the crew.

Additional in-cab experiences and excursions are planned for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Those will be the final evens involving the 611 at the Strasburg Rail Road before it departs for its home base in Virginia.

The 611 has been in Pennsylvania since 2021. A posting on Facebook said additional announcements about upcoming events involving the locomotive are pending. The 611 is owned by the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke.

Strasburg Sets May Excursions for N&W 611

April 11, 2023

The Strasburg Rail Road has announced that it will conduct a “farewell tour” for Norfolk & Western No. 611 in May.

The 4-8-4 will be returning home later this year to the Virginia Museum of Transportation, which owns the unit built by the N&W in its Roanoke, Virginia, shops.

The 611 has been at the Strasburg since 2019. It will lead excursions May 20-21 and May 27-29.

Also slated as part of the festivities will be “in-cab experiences,” including the opportunity to run the Class J locomotive on May 19 and 26.

The May events at Strasburg are expected to be the only operations of the 611 in Pennsylvania this year.

No dates have been announced as to when the 611 will return to Roanoke.

N&W 611 Moves Short Distance in Pennsylvania

February 1, 2023

Norfolk & Western 4-8-4 No. 611 recently was moved a short distance in Pennsylvania.

Trains magazine reported on its website that the locomotive moved a short distance from the Strasburg Rail Road to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.

The 611 is owned by the Virginia Museum of Transportation but has been in Pennsylvania since 2021. It pulled excursions on the Strasburg in 2019, 2021 and 2022.

A former New York Central SW8 was used to move the 611, and an auxiliary tender and tool car.

The Pennsylvania museum plans to display the 611 through late spring.

Remembering the B&LE Erie Branch

January 29, 2023

I’ve never seen a train on the Erie branch of the former Besemer & Lake Erie, but some of you have. Edward Ribinskas sent along these photographs that he made over the years.

These images are from his “favorites over the years” series.

The top image of Norfolk & Western No. 611 was made on Aug. 11, 1984, when it was running a Buffalo, New York, to Albion, Pennsylvania, excursion.

It is shown crossing U.S. Route 20 in Girard, Pennsylvania, on Aug. 11, 1984.

Also shown are images made at Girar and Platea, Pennsylvania, on April 17, 1997, and at Girard on April 30, 1997.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Steam Saturday: A Photo Runby in Danville

October 22, 2022

I didn’t ride behind Norfolk & Western 4-8-4 No. 611 all that many times during the heyday of the Norfolk Southern steam program. Nor, for that matter, did I ever go trackside to watch and photograph it passing by.

But one instance in which I rode and photographed the “Queen of Steam” occurred on Oct. 1, 1989, in Danville, Kentucky.

I had boarded the train in Ludlow, Kentucky, across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, for the trip down the fabled “rat hole” line of the former Southern Railway.

At Danville passengers disembarked and lined up for a photo runby, which is shown above. The train was then turned and it returned to Ludlow.

It was not my first trip behind the Class J locomotive nor would it be my last. This day, though, remains the one and only time I railfanned on the rat hole.

I had almost forgotten about his excursion, which was sponsored by the Cincinnati Railroad Club, until I ran across the color film negatives from that trip this past week.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

Steam Saturday: N&W 611 in Virginia

September 24, 2022

Paul Woodring, Jim Bacon, and I were chasing some of newly-restored Norfolk & Western 4-8-4 No.  611’s very first fan trips in early September 1982.

Some locations are easy to identify while others are almost impossible. N&W 611 is on one of her first fan trips somewhere in Virginia.

This image might have been the Independence Limited, which operated on Sept. 4 between Roanoke and Norfolk, or, if it was made on Sept. 6, running between Roanoke and Alexandria.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

N&W 611 to Operate This Fall at Strasburg

September 3, 2022

Norfolk & Western J Class No. 611 will be back in action this fall on the Strasburg Rail Road in Pennsylvania.

The 4-8-4 ran on the tourist railroad in 2019 and 2021 and is already on the property receiving maintenance work following last year’s excursions.

This year’s excursions will operate between late September and mid-November.

Among the events announced are “At-The-Throttle-Experiences,” stationary cab tours, excursions, and a photo charter hosted with by tour operator Peter Lerro.

For more information, visit

Steam Saturday: N&W 611 in Virginia

August 27, 2022

Jim Bacon, Paul Woodring and I found Norfolk & Western 4-8-4 No. 611 in Bedford, Virginia, on Sept. 6, 1982. It was pulling an Independence Limited excursion from Roanoke to Alexandria, Virginia. The J class locomotive had made its inaugural runs after being restored to operating condition the month before.

Photograph by Robert Farkas