Posts Tagged ‘N&W 611 excursions’

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.

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

Steam Saturday: N&W 611 in Southern Ohio

July 16, 2022

We’re standing alongside the former Norfolk & Western south of Columbus as N&W 4-8-4 No. 611 chugs past with the Independence Limited.

The train was en route to Chicago from Richmond, Virginia, where that year’s National Railway Historical Society convention had been held.

On this day the 611 started its journey in Portsmouth, Ohio, and ran to Fort Wayne, Indiana, where it spent the night.

Also on hand at this scene was Paul Woodring and another railfan friend of the photographer.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Steam Saturday: N&W 611 in Virginia

July 8, 2022

Here are a pair of images of Norfolk & Western 4-8-4 No. 611 made on Sept. 6, 1982, as the Class J locomotive was pulling the Independence Limited from Roanoke to Alexandria, Virginia, on a one way move. The steamer is shown in Lowry and Lynchburg. The latter photo shows the train crossing the Tye River. Also there that day were Paul Woodring and Jim Bacon.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Steam Saturday: N&W 611 in Cleveland

February 26, 2022

Norfolk & Western 4-8-4 No. 611 pulls a westbound excursion through the Flats in Cleveland in early August 1985. The train is on former Nickel Plate Road tracks on a bridge spanning the Cuyahoga River Valley. The 611 pulled two round trips between Erie, Pennsylvania, and Bellevue on Aug. 3 and 4 that year.

Photograph by Robert Farkas