Norfolk & Western’s ‘Big Three’ to reunite May 31

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Left to right: J No. 600, Class A No. 1203, and Y6 No. 2123.
Norfolk & Western
ROANOKE, Va. – During the apex of steam on the Norfolk & Western Railway in the 1940s and 1950s, there were three classes of Roanoke-built steam locomotives that were the mainstay of operations: the Class A 2-6-6-4s, Class J 4-8-4s, and Y6 series 2-8-8-2s. In the 1940s N&W’s publicity department gathered three of engines in Roanoke for a photo that was widely distributed with J No. 600, Class A No. 1203, and Y6 No. 2123 posing side-by-side. Now, for the first time since the 1950s, the “Big Three” of N&W steam will again gather in Roanoke.

On May 31 the Virginia Museum of Transportation will host a “Celebrate Steam” event featuring J No. 611, Class A No. 1218, and Y6a No. 2156, which recently arrived in Roanoke from the Museum of Transportation in St. Louis for a five-year visit. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The event will include cab tours of 611 and the chance to meet Thomas Garver, who was an assistant to famed photographer O. Winston Link on many of his shoots along the N&W in the 1950s. The Norfolk Southern Lawmen Band will provide music.

Cost of the event is $25 per person, or $20 for museum members. Children 12 and under are free.

The museum is also offering a bus tour of the Roanoke East End Shops, where the locomotives were built, and Norfolk Southern’s Shaffer’s Crossing engine servicing facilities. The tours are available for an additional cost of $10 for everyone over the age of three. Children 2 and younger who can sit on laps take the tour for free. Only ticket holders to the Celebrate Steam event can purchase tour tickets. Seating is limited with tours leaving at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

For more information, go to

Trains Magazine will cover No. 611 with its live streaming webcam, a feature in the August issue, and a special 76-page magazine, 611 in Steam, and a companion DVD by the same name, available in July and October, respectively.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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