Our Namesake, The Great 611, was the eleventh of fourteen Class J steam locomotives constructed and designed by Norfolk & Western engineers. Built in Roanoke’s own N & W shops, it was also the last survivor, being retired from service and donated to the Roanoke Transportation Museum in 1959.
Brought out of retirement in September of 1982, the 611 once again steamed out of Roanoke under its own power. For twelve years, railfans and schoolchildren rode the J during Norfolk Southern’s successful steam program. The 611 made it’s last run on Wednesday, December 7, 1994, steaming back into Roanoke for final retirement at the museum.