SPENCER, N.C. – Norfolk & Western 4-8-4 No. 611 is in the home stretch of its restoration after a successful test fire Tuesday at the North Carolina Transportation Museum, where its 1,472-day inspection and repairs began last May 29.
The locomotive was fired all day and achieved its maximum working boiler pressure of 300 psi. The crew opened the throttle to blow out the ports on the pistons and valves and took the opportunity to celebrate by blowing a Class J Hancock three-chime long-bell whistle. A few minor pipefitting leaks were noted, but otherwise the steam test was a success. The safety valves will be set at the next fire up. Meanwhile the tender is getting painting and lettering.
“We’re ready for insulation next,” Fire Up 611! Chief Mechanical Officer Scott Lindsay tells Trains News Wire. “The test was a success from every aspect.”
The locomotive will mark its 65th birthday next month. It is expected that the locomotive will return under its own power to its home at the Virginia Museum of Transportation and pull excursions on Norfolk Southern in 2015, although a timetable for this and a schedule have not been set.
Restoration work on No. 611 began in June 2014. Trains Magazine will provide comprehensive coverage of the return to steam with a special magazine, 611 in Steam, available in July and with a DVD available in October, as well as online with Trains News Wire and in regular issues.