The iconic 611 is returning home to Downtown Roanoke in Virginia's Blue Ridge!
The "Queen of Steam," a Norfolk & Western Class J 611 Steam Locomotive, has been at the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, NC, for maintenance but is returning under her own power to the Virginia Museum of Transportation on Wednesday, September 26.
To celebrate, the Virginia Museum of Transportation is hosting a Welcome Back 611! event. Learn more >
Originally built at the Norfolk & Western Shops in Downtown Roanoke in the 1940s, it entered service on May 29, 1950, and is widely regarded as a marvel of American engineering. Today, it is the only Class J locomotive still in existence.
Though it was retired from official service in 1959, the 611 has been used for various passenger train excursions over the years and, while none are currently planned, the Virginia Museum of Transportation hopes to be able to operate 611 passenger excursions again in the future.
However, visitors to Virginia's Blue Ridge can now make the most of the opportunity to see this beautiful locomotive by visiting the rail yard at the Virginia Museum of Transportation, which boasts one of the best rail collections in the United States with over 50 exhibits and rolling stock.
There are multiple opportunities to welcome the 611 during her first weekend back home. Everyone will love taking part in the opportunity to Blow the 611 Whistle! on Sunday, September 30, as well as the Big Lick Train Tug on Saturday, September 29.
Take advantage of this helpful blog post and make it an entire train-themed weekend - A Railroad History Itinerary for Train Lovers in Virginia's Blue Ridge >