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My First Live Encounter with N&W 611 moving 4/8/2016

by Chris Guenzler

After I finished taking pictures for my North Carolina Transportation Museum story, I would wait for Norfolk and Western 611 to move before me for the first time in my life.

Norfolk & Western 4-8-4 611

The Norfolk and Western Railway's J class steam locomotives were a class of 4-8-4 locomotives built by the railways East End Shops located in Roanoke, Virginia between 1941 and 1950. The first batch, numbered 600 to 604, were built in 1941-42 and were delivered streamlined. In 1943, 605-610 were delivered without shrouding and lightweight side rods, due to the limitations on the use of certain materials during the war; they were classified J1. When N&W showed the War Production Board the reduced availability numbers because of this, the Board allowed the J1s to be re-fitted as Js with the lightweight rods and shrouding in 1944. The last batch, 611-613, were built in 1950, all streamlined. The Js were built and designed completely by N&W employees, something that was uncommon on American railroads. The class should not be confused with the much earlier J class of 1903. The total cost for building 611 was $251,544 in 1950 (equivalent to $2,441,000 in 2015).

I was now ready to watch Norfolk and Western 611 move for the first time in my life and I could not wait for it to happen.

Norfolk and Western 611 was getting ready to move onto the Spencer turntable.

Norfolk Southern AS-416 1616 and a Norfolk Southern caboose. I set up for my pictures.

Norfolk and Western 611 came out onto the Spencer turntable.

A trio of pictures of the steam engine on the turntable.

Norfolk and Western 611 reversed off the turntable.

Norfolk Southern AS-416 1616 built by Baldwin in 1955.

Two more pictures of Norfolk and Western 611 before the coaling of the engine would take place.

The cab of N&W 611.

The coal loading of Norfolk and Western 611. It sure takes a lot of coal to fill its tender.

The Museum train came by my photo location.

I caught the museum train engineer in this pose after which I moved to my next photo location.

Coaling is still occuring.

The diesel for our two Norfolk and Western 611 excursion trains passed me. Next Dave Pressley arrived and joined the photo line with others who soon joined me.

Next Norfolk and Western 611 reversed by my photo line.

That was followed by Norfolk and Western 611 running by our photo line. We headed to David's car.

One last view of Norfolk and Western 611 for today. Tomorrow I will have my first ride behind her.

One last view of the North Carolina Transportation Museum before David and I headed to Charlotte.