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Railfan Photos/Videos: Norfolk & Western

Here you can see videos of the only remaining Norfolk & Western J Class steam locomotive in operation. This giant 4-8-4 powerhouse was built at the N&W East End Shops in Roanoke VA in 1950.

The N&W is now the Norfolk Southern Railroad; and, it, in concert with steam passenger locomotive fans, refurbished the 611, which had been sitting on static display at the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke.

The first of these locomotives, numbered 600 to 604, were built in 1941–42, just as the United States enter World War Two. In 1943, 605–610 were delivered with the approval of the War Production Board. The last of these locomotives, 611–613, were built in 1950.

The J Class were designed and built completely by N&W employees, something that was uncommon for American railroads, which bought most of their locomotives from the major manufacturers of the day.

The total cost for building 611 was $251,544, which was equivalent to $2,441,000 in 2015 when work began on refurbishing 611.

In these videos, the J rolls out of the old N&W yard in Roanoke, carrying a spring-time load of fans on a verity of former passenger cars of well-known American railroads.

You can often see an N Scale model of the 611 pulling a consist of N&W passenger cars at Montana NTRAK layouts.

And, by the way, the unusual looking building in the background of these videos is the Taubman Museum of Art. If you turned around, you would see the Virginia Museum of Transportation.