Posts Tagged ‘Strasburg Rail Road’

N&W 475 Back in Steam on Strasburg Rail Road

November 8, 2022

A Strasburg Rail Road steam locomotive that collided with an excavator is back in service.

Former Norfolk & Western 4-8-0 No. 475 was repaired by the railroad’s shop forces and ready to resume revenue service for the Pennsylvania tourist railroad.

The engine was running around its train on Nov. 2 when it struck the excavator on a spur track in Paradise, Pennsylvania.

The collision was seen live via a webcam operated by Virtual Railfan. The switch had been left open and the locomotive engineer can be seen waving at passengers aboard the train before the collision.

The bucket of the excavator punched a hole in the locomotive’s smokebox.

Repairs Begin on Strasburg Steam Locomotive Damaged in Crash with Construction Equipment

November 4, 2022

A screen shot of a Virtual Railfan webcam feed shows N&W 475 just before it struck construction equipment.

Repair work has begun on a Strasburg Rail Road steam locomotive that struck construction equipment on Wednesday.

Former Norfolk & Western 4-8-0 No. 475 struck an excavator on a spur truck as it was running around its train at Paradise, Pennsylvania.

The collision damaged the locomotive’s smokebox and headlight. A diesel locomotive was dispatched to pull the train back to Strasburg.

Railfan & Railroad magazine reported on its website that repair work to the 475 began on Thursday and officials were unsure when the engine would return to service.

The Federal Railroad Administration has begun an investigation into the collison, which was shown live on a web camera operated by Virtual Railfan.

The video of the crash can be seen at

The video shows the locomotive engineer waving at passengers aboard the train shortly before the crash.

The 425 went through a misaligned switch that had been left open by the crew that had operated the excavator.

Strasburg rail officials told Railfan & Railroad they will use the incident as a training tool to ensure that such an incident doesn’t happen again.

There were no injuries as a result of the collision.

Crash Damages Strasburg Steam Locomotive

November 3, 2022

A screenshot from a Virtual Railfan web camera shows Strasburg 475 after it struck a backhoe

A Strasburg Rail Road steam locomotive was damaged on Wednesday after it collided with a backhoe parked on a spur.

Trains magazine reported on its website that the collision punched a hole in the smokebox of  4-8-0 steam engine No. 475.

The construction equipment involved in the incident was an excavator known as a “trackhoe” that is capable of operating on rails.

The collision was captured live on a Virtual Railfan web camera.

The Trains report said the crash occurred due to switch being left open after a maintenance crew had tied down the trackhoe on the spur, and the failure of the crew to operate the locomotive at restricted speed.

Aside from the smokebox, also damaged were auxiliary metal pieces, the headlight and some components of the trackhoe.

The Trains report said the trackhoe arm did not pierce or damage the steam locomotive’s flues or front flue sheet.

The magazine’s report quoted an unnamed source as saying the damage looks worse than it actually is and the 475 might be back in service as early as next week after it is repaired in the Strasburg shops.

The crash occurred at 11:23 a.m. and involved the first Strasburg passenger train of the day.

The 475 was running around its train at Leaman Place Junction, adjacent to Amtrak’s Keystone Corridor route between Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia.

The tourist train operates over 4.5 miles between Leaman Place and Strasburg.

The 475 engine crew typically waves to passengers aboard the train during the runaround move and that might have distracted them from watching the track ahead.

The train was pulled back to Strasburg by an SW8 diesel switcher.

Trains said 2-6-0 No. 89 is expected to pull passenger excursions later this week.

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

N&W 611 to Remain at Strasburg for Winter

October 9, 2021

Norfolk & Western 4-8-4 No. 611 will continue its stay at the Strasburg Rail Road in Pennsylvania through the winter.

The J class locomotive is owned by the Virginia Transportation Museum but will undergo an annual inspection and any needed maintenance in Pennsylvania.

That includes a Federal Railroad Administration mandated inspection of the boiler’s flexible staybolts and caps.

The 611 has been at the Strasburg since May and hosted excursions and other events throughout the summer.

A news release announcing 611 is staying at the Strasburg did not indicate any future plans for the locomotive.

Adventures at the 1985 NRHS Convention

August 14, 2021

An Amtrak Metroliner set passes through Lancaster station.

At the Strasburg Rail Road.

At Mt. Holly Springs

Steamers at the Gettysburg Railroad.

Two favorite destinations of mine over the past few years have been the Strasburg Rail Road with the visit of Norfolk & Western 611 and Horseshoe Curve near Altoona.

Way back in August 1985 when I visited these places they had a very different look.

The event was the 1985 NRHS Convention based out of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Of the four 4 steamers in operation during our venture, only one will eventually be steaming again, hopefully. Two of the locomotives in operation at Strasburg from the collection of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania were Pennsylvania Railroad 4-4-2 No. 7002 and PRR 4-4-0 No. 1223. They were the stars of the convention.

A few years later they were returned to the collection across the street at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.

Another trip was an excursion on the Gettysburg Railroad. Steamers at the Gettysburg were Canadian National 2-8-2 No. 3254 and Huntingdon & Broad Top 2-8-0 No. 38.

The 3254 was traded to Steamtown National Historic Site for Canadian Pacific No. 1278.

H&BT No. 38 is now at the Everett Railroad. It is the locomotive to be restored, hopefully, in the near future.

The convention concluded with an Amtrak special from Lancaster to Horseshoe Curve/Gallitzin and return.  As you can see this was during the Conrail years.

Article and Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

N&W 611 Traveling to Strasburg

May 26, 2021

Norfolk & Western 4-8-4 No. 611 departed Roanoke, Virginia, on Monday for the Strasburg Rail Road in Pennsylvania.

The Class J steam locomotive had been set to make that trip two weeks ago but was delayed due to a broken stoker screw.

The damaged part has since been repaired. The 611 will participate in a series of events at the Strasburg through Oct. 3.

N&W Stoker Issue Still Being Fixed

May 25, 2021

Norfolk & Western 4-8-4 No. 611 continues to have issues with its stoker that is delaying its move to the Strasburg Rail Road in Pennsylvania.

The Virginia Museum of Transportation, who owns the 611, said its workers have confirmed that the stoker problem is due to a break in the stoker screw.

Workers have separated the locomotive from its tender to reach and repair the problem area. The museum said the break was likely caused by a weak spot in the original casting.

The museum has not said when the repairs are expected to be finished and the locomotive ferried to Pennsylvania.

N&W to Travel to Pennsylvania Soon

May 21, 2021

Norfolk & Western 4-8-4 No. 611 is expected to travel to Strasburg, Pennsylvania, in the coming days after its coal stocker was repaired.

The Virginia Museum of Transportation, which owns the Class J locomotive, said “barring any unforeseen circumstances” the ferry move will be made.

Officials have cited safety and security concerns for declining to say when the 611 will travel.

The locomotive had been scheduled to be in Pennsylvania by now and operate this weekend on the Strasburg Rail Road.

But that was delayed by problems with the coal stocker that were discovered when in preparation for the ferry move last Monday the locomotive’s fireman found the stoker screw was not moving.

An inspection found it had broken a few feet into the tender. 

After separating the engine from its tender, workers removed 35 tons of coal. Museum officials said the cause of the stoker screw break was likely a weak spot in the original casting.

They said an internal void was observed extending toward the edge of the stoker screw.

One it arrives in Strasburg, the 611 is scheduled to participate in a series of events and pull excursion trains through October.

Arrival of N&W 611 at Strasburg Delayed

May 18, 2021

The arrival of Norfolk & Western 4-8-4 No. 611 at the Strasburg Rail Road has been delayed by mechanical problems.

Consequently, all events involving the 611 that had been scheduled for the Pennsylvania-based tourist railroad the weekend of May 21-23 have been cancelled.

The Virginia Museum of Transportation, which owns the Class J locomotive, said an inspection found a malfunction with the locomotive’s stoker that prevented the stoker from moving coal into the firebox.

Workers are seeking to repair the problem, the museum said in a news release.

The museum also cited security and safety reasons for declining to announce the timing and route of the ferry move to the Strasburg.

Earlier, the Strasburg had announced that the 611 would participate in a series of events there through October.