• Virginia Tolles

N&W 611 is on the Roll

Updated: May 26

Fan Railer at English Wikipedia, Creative Commons license 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Norfolk & Western (N&W) steam locomotive No. 611 is on its way to Strasburg, Pennsylvania, to spend June through October at the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum. There, she will pull vintage cars through the Amish farmlands of central Pennsylvania for the enjoyment of the museum's visitors.

N&W 611 departed Spencer, North Carolina, yesterday, passed over the old Southern Railway Bridge in Lynchburg, and passed through Charlottesville. Her itinerary is not being publicized, so everyone's wondering whether she will continue on the Norfolk Southern mainline through Culpeper and Manassas before joining the CSX mainline near Alexandria for a trek through Washington and up to Philadelphia before turning to the west -- or whether she will go straight up to Leesburg, cross the Potomac to Hyattsville, and continue to Gettysburg before turning east to Strasburg. I can't remember whether there's a railroad bridge across the Potomac in the Leesburg - Hyattsville area. If so, that would be the shortest route after passing through Culpeper. In any case, she is expected to reach Strasburg tomorrow and begin making tourist runs this weekend.

Her consist is fascinating! Besides the locomotive and coal tender, she is pulling a fuel oil tender, a Virginia Transportation Museum boxcar, and three empty hoppers. I can't imagine what the hoppers are for. Maybe she will drop them off along the way??? [UPDATE: Someone took a video from an overpass that showed t he hoppers carrying coal, no doubt to fuel N&W 611. When she arrived in Strasburg, the hoppers were empty! That's a lot of coal to consume.]

It is interesting to note that, although N&W 611 is operating, she is being led by a Norfolk Southern diesel locomotive. Why? Because N&W 611 has not yet received her federally mandated Positive Train Control (PTC) system; therefore, she cannot lead on mainlines. The Strasburg Railroad operates on its own tracks between the museum and Leaman Place in Paradise, Pennsylvania.

Photo Credit: Fan Railer at English Wikipedia, Creative Commons license 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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