VIRGINIA MUSEUM OF TRANSPORTATION                                     E-NEWS  APRIL 11, 2014


The dream is coming true!  

The time is now for the
Norfolk & Western Class J 611

The Mechanical Team is preparing the 611 for its big move to the
North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, North Carolina, for its long awaited restoration.

The move begins on May 24. The 611 arrives in Spencer on May 29.


The Norfolk & Western Class J 611 will start its move to the North Carolina Transportation Museum for its long-awaited restoration. The anticipation has been building, and now all eyes are on Roanoke as crews ready the iconic locomotive for the big move.   


We've been hit with a ton of questions from fans around the world. Here are the answers to the biggest questions:    


When will the Class J 611 move to Spencer?  


The 611 will leave the Virginia Museum of Transportation's Railyard on Saturday, May 24. She'll spend a few days in Roanoke getting ready for the trip and then start the move to Spencer, North Carolina. We expect her to arrive in Spencer on May 29 -- just in time for the Streamliners Event at the North Carolina Transportation Museum.   


The Virginia Museum of Transportation is throwing an All Aboard party on Saturday, May 24! A full day of 611-related fun is being planned. Stay tuned for more information!  


What route will the Class J 611 take from Roanoke to Spencer? Can I follow the train?


Rail fans have been waiting for this moment for decades! We understand the excitement, and the desire to follow the 611 to restoration.

However, VMT is not at liberty to provide routing information, and in any event, following 611 from Roanoke to Spencer could be problematic. Security, traffic, crowds - these are all concerns - and the dead-in-tow will be slow, anyway. Those who insist on following her should remember to do so only from safe public vantage points. Trespassing on railroad rights of way is both potentially hazardous and illegal. The safety of the locomotive, its crew, its fans, and communities along the route should be everyone's top priority. 


We think the best ways in which to participate are to see the 611 off from the Virginia Museum of Transportation on Saturday, May 24, and to welcome her in Spencer on May 29 during the Streamliners Event at the North Carolina Transportation Museum. After all, once she's up and running again, we'll all have what we hope will be hundreds of opportunities to photograph her under steam at many locations.




Are you still fundraising for the preservation and education facility?  

Yes! The Museum will need a climate-controlled preservation and education facility to preserve, protect and maintain the Class J 611. The preservation facility protects the donations that rail fans worldwide have invested in 611's restoration. Any donation to Fire Up 611! places your name on the Wall of Honor in the preservation and education facility. A donation of $611 and above will allow you to purchase advance tickets. For a complete list of donor benefits, please see


How long will the restoration take?

We expect the restoration of the Class J 611 to take up to nine months, and there is a chance the restoration could take longer. Please sign up for the Fire Up 611! e-newsletter forupdates and news. You can also look for updates on, Facebook or Twitter.     


When is the first excursion?

Where will excursions run? How much are tickets?  


To date, all of our emphasis has been placed on getting 611 to Spencer to begin her restoration. Final decisions have not yet been made about ticket prices, ticket sales, excursion routes, or what type of equipment will be in the consist. The timing of the first excursion will depend on the restoration timeline. Watch for news at, Facebook and Twitter. We anticipate the first excursion will happen in 2015.



When I can buy tickets? 

Ticket sale dates have not been determined. Fans of the 611 who donate $611 or more will enjoy the opportunity to purchase tickets before sales begin to the general public.  


I've already donated, but it wasn't $611 or more. Can I make up the difference so that I can purchase tickets before the general public?

Of course! Donations to the campaign are cumulative. The cutoff date for determining donor benefits will be determined later, closer to the start of excursions. Go to to make your donation. Or you can mail your check to: Fire Up 611! Virginia Museum of Transportation, 303 Norfolk Avenue SW, Roanoke, VA 24016.


Preparing our volunteers for the project of their lives!

Pete Lerro's 611 


We have received an incredible response to our call for volunteers.
We wish we could bring everyone who applied on board to help with this phase.  


The Fire Up 611! Committee weighed all applications and those volunteers who have been  

selected have received notification via email.    


A volunteer training and orientation class will be conducted at VMT on April 26, followed  

by a work day on April 27. A second volunteer and training orientation class is scheduled for May 3 in Spencer.



Your dream is coming true.

Now it's time to protect the dream.

The preservation and education center will preserve, protect and maintain
the investment in 611, truly a one-of-a-kind American treasure!


Although the center will be a new building, we'll take our cues from history

and design the facility to resemble an N&W Lubritorium.

Photo courtesy of the Norfolk & Western Historical Society.


Donate now online.

Or mail your donation to:

Fire Up 611!

Virginia Museum of Transportation

303 Norfolk Avenue SW

Roanoke, VA 24016

Questions about donating? Please contact Fran Ferguson,
director of development, at