2015 N&W Steam
in Roanoke, VA

by John Beirne

On May 30, 2015, N&W 611 returned from Spencer, NC shops via Lynchburg, VA to Roanoke. On May 31 the Virginia Museum of Transportation lined the Class J 611 with Class A 1218 and Class Y 2156 to create a 1950s vintage N&W publicity photo. The Class Y is on loan from the museum in St Louis.

In the early 1960's I would ride my bicycle to the Burlington Railroad Mainline in North St Louis and wait hours to photograph steam excursion locomotive 4960. Then wait weeks for the film to be processed so that I could mail pictures to my friends.

In 2015 within one hours time, I sit in the basement working on model trains and listen to the Roanoke Yard Channel on internet radio. I hear the dispatcher instruct 611 to leave town heading east on signal indication. Then I drive 2 miles out the the Blue Ridge Mountain grade and wait about 10 minutes for the NW 611 deadhead move from Roanoke thru Lynchburg to Manassas, VA. It is a beautiful cool and misty day, so I sit in the van listening to the engine climbing the grade. I almost get a "rods down" shot....see attached photo. Now I am home e-mailing picture to my friends.


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