STRASBURG, Pa. — Famed Norfolk & Western J-class 4-8-4 No. 611 will return to steam this fall in a series of limited-time-only events announced by the Virginia Museum of Transportation, owners of the locomotive, and the Strasburg Rail Road, which together are completing the most recent federally required inspection of the 72-year-old locomotive.
Among the scheduled events are at-the-throttle opportunities allowing ticketholders an opportunity to operate No. 611; static display of the 4-8-4 while under steam; and 45-minute excursion rides over the Strasburg’s main line through Amish farmland.
“On behalf of the Virginia Museum of Transportation, I’m thrilled to continue our partnership with the Strasburg [Rail Road] where we have had the opportunity to showcase the 611 to thousands of visitors, perform necessary maintenance, and generate revenue essential to preserving the locomotive’s status as an operating steam engine,” says Gavin Miller, VMT assistant operations manager and board member.
Built by the N&W at its Roanoke Shops in 1950, the streamlined No. 611 operated in regular service until 1959, after which it was donated to VMT for static display. It was brought out of retirement in 1982 by Norfolk Southern and installed as the premier locomotive in the railroad’s steam program. It was retired again in 1994, then brought back to steam by VMT in 2015 and has operated intermittently ever since. [see “N&W No. 611 to return to Strasburg … ,” Trains News Wire, May 7, 2021]
The event schedule at Strasburg includes activities September 30-October 2; October 7-9; November 9-10; and November 11-13. In addition to at-the-throttle experiences, stationary cab tours, and Strasburg excursions, the sponsors are offering a photo charter directed by Peter Lerro. For tickets and more information, visit the Strasburg Rail Road website.
A portion of proceeds from these events benefit the Virginia Museum of Transportation, based in Roanoke, and support the preservation and maintenance of N&W 611.
6 thoughts on “N&W No. 611 to perform again at Strasburg”
You know what would be really cool? Moving 611 up to Port Clinton afterwards and running on Reading & Blue Mountain along with Reading 2102. It’s not that far.
I should point out there is ANOTHER large 4-8-4 operating within 100 rail miles of 611. The two engines will not be pulling trains on the same weekend.
Incidentally, I don’t believe it was W. Graham Claytor that operated 611. Rode trips and shot movies, yes. Brother Robert Claytor stayed in Roanoke with N&W and ran 611.
I was fortunate to ride two of the Roanoke Chapter NRHS excursions from VA to Detroit or Chicago. Four day trips w/overnights @ Bluefield, Portsmouth, & Ft. Wayne. Some 70mph running with G Claytor at the throttle. It was WONDERFUL!!. Yes. She needs to be able to show what she did so well. At least she is alive. Such a magnificent beauty.
Thankfully, I rode several two day excursions between Cincinnati/Lexington to Knoxville/Chattanooga powered by 611 or 1218. Wonderful. Now the beautiful engine is relegated to a short tourist pike. The 611 deserves the mainline where it once struted its stuff. Bet many of you were on those excursions with me.
It would be great if part of the revenue was set aside to fund the restoration of 1218, a beautiful locomotive.
I am one year younger than N&W J-Class Number 611. She receives more overhaul I am overdue to receive.