The engineer eases off the throttle of N&W 611 heading into a speed restriction on the uphill grade outside the town of Wabun, VA. This was the first of two trips out of Roanoke on Memorial Day 2016.
After Norfolk Southern ended its first steam program in 1994, many thought we’d never get to see the J under steam again. Fortunately miracles happen and the Virginia Museum of Transportation restored 611 to service with the help of Norfolk Southern and many other generous donors. I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to ride behind and photograph one of the finest steam locomotives ever built. Even better, I got to photograph it with some good friends. Thanks again, Kevin, Mike and Rick!
The Norfolk & Western Class “J” 611 is an incredible machine. She was designed to pull the N&W’s premiere passenger trains at speeds up to 100mph. As the only example of this class of locomotive to survive the scrapper’ torch, we’re lucky she’s operational today.
In the photo above, we see her rolling past the former N&W Freight House in Roanoke. The site is now home to the Virginia Museum of Transportation.
Last week was the third weekend I photographed her this spring. Watch for the trip Report in a couple of weeks.