N&W 611 in Roanoke, VA
in 2015

by John Beirne

On July 3, 4 and 5, 2015 Norfolk Southern operated 611 steam specials. Each morning the 611 pulled trains from Roanoke 50 miles eastward to Lynchburg, VA and return. In the afternoon an excursion would run from Roanoke 50 miles westward to Walton (Radford), VA and return.

1. N&W 611 arriving in Roanoke from Lynchburg. Research Car NS 32 is coupled behind the tender. Perhaps the crew is collecting drawbar pull data.

2. The M L King footbridge affords a great vantage point for train watching in Roanoke. One townhouse resident has a private viewing platform.

3. The engine is watered during the layover. New switch heaters, ready for winter snow, can be seen on the left side of the train.

4. One young railfan utilized his drone for train photography. The seasoned railfan standing next to me had a few choice words concerning the buzzing sound being picked up on his video recording.

5. The David Goode (retired NS CEO) Rail-Walk (hiking trail) allows visitors to see railroad artifacts and read about the rail history of Roanoke.

6. The train was parked adjacent to the former N&W General Office, Hotel Roanoke (formerly a N&W property and the OW Link Museum (former N&W Passenger Depot).

7. During the 90 minute layover, quite a few freight trains and light engine moves passed the 611.

8. NW 611 leaves town for Walton with 20 passenger cars in tow.

9. The Greyhound - Metropolitan Bus Depot is in the background. Amtrak service from Roanoke to Boston should start in the next few years. The parking lot in this photo will most likely be the new depot location.

10. Railfans on the ML King Pedestrian Bridge got a shower of smoke and steam.


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