GOSHEN, VA (LOOTPRESS) – One of the most notorious steam locomotives is back in action and is making its mark in the Shenandoah Valley.
The Norfolk & Western (N&W) 611, also known as the ‘Queen of Steam’, is a Class J steam locomotive built in 1950 by the Norfolk & Western Railway.
N&W 611 is currently leading excursions from the towns of Goshen to Staunton each weekend in October and through the first weekend of November on the Buckingham Branch Railroad, the former Chesapeake & Ohio line.
The excursions are hosted by the Virginia Museum of Transportation and the Virginia Scenic Railway.
From the hamlet of Goshen, where the trip originates in Rockbridge County, the consist will wind its way east through the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest, eventually making its way to historic Staunton, one of the oldest towns west of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The route will take riders through a kaleidoscope of fall color, amidst scenic rural landscapes and working farms. Once the 611 reaches Staunton, the train will stop momentarily, then reverse with a return west pulled by diesel power.
The ride is approximately 60 miles round trip. While 611 can travel up to 40 mph, it will mostly maintain 25-30mph.
611 is renowned for its remarkable engineering, featuring a 4-8-4 wheel arrangement, which means it has four leading wheels, eight driving wheels, and four trailing wheels. This design offered excellent stability and traction.
The 611 was equipped with a massive 27,000-gallon tender to carry coal and water, allowing for long-distance travel without frequent refueling stops.
This locomotive’s exceptional power and efficiency were crucial for hauling heavy passenger trains over the challenging mountainous terrain of the Norfolk & Western Railway.
To purchase tickets for the excursion, click here.