Norfolk and Western Class J #611

Class J Description

  • Manufacturer: Norfolk & Western Roanoke Shops
  • Production era: 1941-1950
  • 14 were produced
  • Passenger engine
  • Could pull 15 cars at 110 mph
  • The J class was used daily to pull such passenger trains as the Powhatan Arrow, the Pocohantas, and the Cavalier between Cincinnati, OH and Norfolk, VA. Between Monroe, NC and Bristol, TN, the J’s also pulled the Tenesseean, the Pelican and the Birmingham Special between Monroe, VA and Bristol TN/VA.
  • The class averaged 15,000 miles per month and some of the locomotives traveled nearly 3 million miles before retirement.
  • After passenger service was dieselized in 1958, some were used in freight service

# 611

  • Built for the N&W at a cost of $251,544
  • Entered service on May 29, 1950
  • Derailed on a curve near Devon, WV. It was repaired and returned to service. One of the reasons it was still serviceable in mid-1959 was its good condition following these repairs.
  • It was reputed to have been located at one end of a line of four J’s stored serviceable in Bluefield, which may have contributed to its being chosen for the last fan trips in 1959.
  • Was the last J to operate and made its final run on an N&W fan trip October 24, 1959
  • Returned to excursion service in 1982 and was retired again in 1994
  • The only Class J still in existence

Class Specifications

  • Length (engine + tender ): 109 ft 2 in
  • Height: 16 ft
  • Width: 11 ft. 2 in.
  • Weight: 494,000 lbs
  • Wheel configuration: 4-8-4
  • Tractive effort: 80,000 lbs
  • Cylinders, bore & stroke: 27 x 32 in.
  • Driver wheel size: 70 in
  • Tender coal capacity: 35 tons
  • Tender water capacity: 22,000 gal
  • Tender weight-loaded: 378,000 lbs
  • Boiler pressure: 300 psi
  • Grate area: 107.7 sq ft


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Currently at the NCTM in Spencer, North Carolina.

Class J Steam Locomotive 611