Norfolk & Western J Class #611

Please note that Norfolk & Western 611 is a traveling exhibit, and not currently on display at VMT. You can find 611 updates on Facebook.

The Norfolk & Western 611 is a Class J steam locomotive built in 1950 by the Norfolk & Western Railway. The locomotive is notable for its streamlined design, which was intended to showcase the efficiency and power of steam technology in the face of the increasing dominance of diesel engines.

The 611 is considered one of the most powerful and technologically advanced steam locomotives ever built, and is one of only two Class J steamers to survive to the present day. It was used to pull some of the heaviest trains on the Norfolk and Western railway system, including the Powhatan Arrow and the Cavalier.

In 1957, the 611 was retired and placed on display at the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke. In 1981, 611 was restored to operation for special excursions, pulling many thousands of people through the years. Since then it has been running for the past decade in special excursion runs throughout the country, running on the Norfolk Southern Railway. It was considered a historical heritage representing the great era of steam.

It has become an important piece of American railroad history, and is considered an engineering marvel by many rail enthusiasts and historians. The J Class #611 is designated as the Commonwealth's official steam engine.

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Ultra wide shot of the Transportation museum close to sunset.