611 Homecoming Celebration: This Saturday!


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More than 5,000 persons showed up for 611's send off party last year, when she left Roanoke for restoration in Spencer, N.C., but this Saturday, over 10,000 persons are expected to be in attendance for the 611 Homecoming Celebration.

N&W No. 611, "The Spirit of Roanoke", is scheduled to arrive home in Roanoke on Saturday, May 30, 2015, sometime between 2-4 p.m., but the 611 Homecoming Celebration begins at 11:00 a.m. at the former Norfolk & Western Passenger Station (currently the O. Winston Link Museum, 101 Shenandoah Ave.) in Roanoke. The Norfolk Southern Lawmen Band will play throughout the day, and various family friendly activities will take place.

On Saturday's run from NC to Roanoke, No. 611 is expected to pull a 18-car train unassisted, with no diesel helpers. This will be 611's second mainline run since her 2015 restoration. No. 611 made a test run of about 90 miles to Greensboro, NC and return, last Thursday.

The Roanoke Times has printed a special section devoted to 611's return to Roanoke which can be viewed online here plus there's a multi-section PDF you can download here with many photos, articles, etc. about No. 611. TV station WBDJ7 offers this video report on the homecoming events.

The Celebration Continue on Sunday, May 31st: The "N&W’s Big Three" Event

The Class J 611, Class A 1218 and the Class Y6a 2156 will all be parked in the Virginia Museum of Transportation rail yard for the first time in 60 years. Attendees will have the chance to sit in the cab of the Class J 611 and to take a bus tour of Roanoke’s East End Shops and Shaffer’s Crossing. Music by the Norfolk Southern Lawmen Band. Food. Activities for the kids. (Admission charge.)


Trains Magazine: Live Coverage

On Saturday, May 30, Trains will follow the train home to Roanoke and will also cover the public events being held at the Virginia Museum of Transportation on May 31.

Live coverage info...

Live Tweets

FireUp611! will be live tweeting 611's journey from NC to VA.

Chasing No. 611

Trains magazine has added an article online that gives tips and advice for anyone thinking about chasing 611 on her trip from Spencer, NC back to Roanoke, VA, that provides a much more detailed map of 611's route than the one below.

611's Schedule

For those of you lucky enough to be close to 611's route, here's 611's schedule and route information:

7:30 a.m.: The Class J 611 leaves the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, North Carolina, for her trip home to Roanoke.

1 p.m.: The Class J 611 stops in Lynchburg for coal and water.

2 p.m.-4 p.m.: The Class J 611 thunders into Roanoke.


Route info courtesy of Roanoke Times

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I'll be out next weekend for the 611 during its trips from Manassas, VA to Front Royal, VA. Have a few friends down there for this leg as well. Should be a good time!

I have been watching the free live feed from Trains.com. You do have to register but you don't have to purchase anything. It has been great watching them get 611 ready for her trip home.
It's Saturday, 7:15 a.m. in NC... the Trainz live feed is up and running (pic below) and some of the crew is cleaning 611's cab windows...

Is it 71 year old eyeballs or did they add some boards to the top of the tender so they could squeeze in a bit more coal?

Your eyeballs are probably fine. ;)

611's tender has had an extension added to the coal bunker, but it's been like that since sometime in the 1990s I believe. I don't remember seeing it in the 1980s, and it surely wasn't that way originally.

This pic is from 1983...




This pic is from 1993...

This pic is from a short while ago, when the tender was still being refurbished...


A pic from today's run, with double++ load of coal... 18 cars in tow, burning a clean stack.
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Was able to be track side as it made the crossing at Hilltop Road in Greensboro at 9:34am this morning.
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Yes to the helicopter. I figured it to be a video production company making a documentary and/or video for future sales.

Apparently the helicopter was chartered by Norfolk Southern. At least that's what was said on the Trains magazine live feed at about 7:30 a.m. this morning.

611 is about 10 miles out of Roanoke now, so she almost home. One of the local TV stations now has a live feed up and the Trains folks are in route...
WWCW/WFXR-TV (Fox Channels 21/27) have put their special video report about 611's return to Roanoke online for viewing. The report features some historical film clips of the J locomotives being built in the N&W East End Shops, some brief glimpses of the Js in action on the N&W, and flim from 1963 when 611 was placed on display in the Roanoke park that would eventually become the Roanoke Transportation Museum and later the Virginia Museum of Transportation. You'll also see a few brief moments of "The General" of "Great Locomotive Chase" fame running under its own power when it visited Roanoke in 1963 following the historic 4-4-0's restoration in the early 1960s.

A compilation of videos taken on May 30, 2015 showing N&W Class J No.611 steam locomotive running through various towns between Spencer, NC and Roanoke, VA on her homecoming trip back to the city of her birth.
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Looks like that y6a needs a new coat of paint before the photo shoot.

It looks fine when photographed with a real camera vs. being photographed with a cheap $2.00 webcam that's connected to a highly compressed low-resolution cross-country data connection.

No. 2156 was just moved to Roanoke about two weeks ago. How, when, and where* should it have been totally stripped, sandblasted, and painted and reassembled in that amount of time?

* You'll probably be hearing an formal announcement about the "where" future VMT steam maintenance projects will take place, possibly as early as later this week.



The paying customers who came out today and spent $25 @ for the photo op' certainly look happy.


Photo credits: Norfolk Southern Corp.
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For a locomotive not from the Southern Pacific, Western Pacific, or Union Pacific, I'm impressed. Nice job.
After watching a video showing the move of 2156, what I mistook as some rust or red paint above the coupler, is actually the hose that was used for the brakes.
Oh, and in the third picture, which one is you?
After watching a video showing the move of 2156, what I mistook as some rust or red paint above the coupler, is actually the hose that was used for the brakes.
Oh, and in the third picture, which one is you?

I'm about 80 air miles off to the northwest, so I'm really difficult to spot in the photo. Look for a tiny pixel that's waving at the camera. ;)

Yeah, the air hoses connected the air to the cars that road behind #2156 when she was towed back to Roanoke.

All three locos should get a new roof over their heads within a few months, right near where they're sitting in the photos...

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