News & Reviews News Wire N&W No. 611’s ‘dress rehearsal’ on the Buckingham Branch Railroad

N&W No. 611’s ‘dress rehearsal’ on the Buckingham Branch Railroad

By Lucas Iverson | October 3, 2023

| Last updated on October 9, 2023

Test run, VIP trip, and ‘In Cab Experiences’ prepares the J-class 4-8-4 for upcoming fall excursions

Email Newsletter

Get the newest photos, videos, stories, and more from brands. Sign-up for email today!

Streamlined steam locomotive at the platform of a passenger station.
Norfolk & Western No. 611 arrives in Staunton, Va., during a test run along the Buckingham Branch Railroad on Sept. 28, 2023. Zac McGinnis photo

GOSHEN, Va. — A new show on a new stage prompted a “dress rehearsal” for a seasoned star veteran.

Norfolk & Western steam locomotive No. 611 operated on the Buckingham Branch Railroad, Sept. 28-30, in preparation for its fall excursions. The J-class 4-8-4 is scheduled to run the Shenandoah Valley Limited as part of the Virginia Scenic Railway, a passenger excursion operator for the short line railroad. “No. 611 performed flawlessly on all operations this past weekend,” said Zac McGinnis, social media coordinator and member of the engine crew for the locomotive.

On Sept. 28, the locomotive kicked off the long weekend with a test run from Goshen to Staunton, Va. According to McGinnis, it was the perfect opportunity for both No. 611 and the railroad to familiarize one another and their respective operational practices. A second run the following day was a VIP trip with over 450 passengers onboard the excursion train, including dignitaries from the state and local levels of Virginia, railroading professionals, donors, media, as well as family and friends. Concluding the “dress rehearsal” on Sept. 30 were engineer and firemen sessions for the “In Cab Experiences” [See, “‘In Cab Experiences’ with N&W No. 611 offered…” News Wire, Sept. 28, 2023].

“The ‘In Cab Experiences’ sold well on less than 36 hours of notice of approval,” McGinnis stated.

Showtime for No. 611, Roanoke’s Virginia Museum of Transportation (the locomotive’s owner), the Virginia Scenic Railway, and the Buckingham Branch starts on Friday. The half-day Shenandoah Valley Limited will depart Goshen at 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., each day on Oct. 6-8, 13-15, 20-22, and 27-29, in addition to Nov. 3-5. The 4-8-4 will lead the train through the foliage of George Washington and Jefferson National Forest with diesels added to the other end at Staunton for the return trip. Servicing and final preparations are currently underway in Goshen. McGinnis confirms that limited tickets are still available.

“Everyone on the BB/VSR chain from top to bottom has been the utmost in professionalism and has the ‘get the job’ done attitude safely and efficiently,” he said. “We hope that this partnership will continue to grow and keep bringing historic mainline steam railroad back to No. 611’s home state of Virginia.”

Visit the Virginia Scenic Railway website for more information and tickets.

Watch N&W No. 611 steam into action on Video!

One thought on “N&W No. 611’s ‘dress rehearsal’ on the Buckingham Branch Railroad

You must login to submit a comment