Our ticket policies and answers to your questions
These trips may not be accessible to all passengers, as our historic rail passenger equipment predates and is exempt from ADA regulations. We make reasonable efforts to accommodate passengers with mobility limitations, but please be aware of the following:
- Boarding requires climbing several steps in a narrow stairwell, with an initial step of up to 20 inches in height. If you need assistance, please plan to travel with someone who can help you. Your traveling companion must have a ticket in the same car as you. Car hosts will assist with boarding as able.
- We cannot take motorized wheelchairs on board. If bringing a folding wheelchair, you are responsible for providing someone to load/unload the chair.
- Passengers may need to board/deboard in the dark. Boarding/deboarding, both at departure and at the destination, may require some walking on areas with uneven footing, including grass, dirt, and gravel. Sturdy, closed-toe shoes are a must at all times – no sandals, flip-flops, high-heeled shoes, or crocs.
- Walking through the narrow aisles/hallways of our rail cars can be challenging, particularly when the train is moving. When boarding, passengers may need to walk through narrow hallways/aisles of several cars to reach their seat or disembark.
- Trained EMTs will be on board. If you have a chronic health condition, please remember that if a medical emergency occurs, some time may elapse before the train can reach a suitable place to stop and deboard a passenger for emergency transport.
- Are these round trips or one way trips? All of our trips are round trips you will end up at the starting point upon completing the trip.
- Can I ride half the full day trip one day and return the next day? To do this you would have to purchase a set of tickets for each day.
Car Selections and Seating
You will select the car you will be riding in when your purchase your ticket. View the cars here.
- If you wish to be seated in the same car as another party, please coordinate with them so that you both select the same car at the time of purchase.
- Please note that passengers are assigned to a specific car, but are self-seated within that car. Volunteer hosts will assist you in finding a seat.
- If you have a large group and would like to be seated together, we strongly recommend purchasing your tickets early and arriving early to board together.
- Please note that for seats in Coach, Deluxe Coach, and Dome classes, most seats are set up in pairs or groups of four. You may have someone new sitting next to you or across from you, particularly if you are traveling alone or with an odd number of people. Remember, part of the fun of train travel is being social and getting to know your fellow passengers!
Everyone requiring a seat of their own, including children age 3 and up, must have their own ticket. Children ages 2 and under do not need a paid ticket if riding on a lap. Please consider your child’s temperament/patience for a long train ride when deciding whether to bring young children, and/or which excursion to choose. Please note that tickets are sold per seat there is no difference in price based on children or adults.
Ticket handling fee
A ticket-handling fee of 3% will be charged for each ticket.
Where your ticket money goes
Most of the people you see working on the train – from car hosts to ground crew to the mechanical crew – are volunteers. Even with thousands of hours of volunteer labor going into excursions, it takes a lot to keep a steam locomotive like the 611 running, and to operate public excursions on a freight railroad. Your ticket purchase covers operating expenses including fuel, running maintenance, passenger car rental, insurance, and a number of other vital components. In addition, $16.11 of your ticket price goes into the long-term 611 Fund that will help the Virginia Museum of Transportation preserve and maintain the 611, and to keep it accessible, for years to come.
All ticket sales are final. Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable. If an emergency arises and you are unable to attend, please contact us immediately for information on converting your purchase to a tax-deductible donation.
Email confirmation and tickets
You will receive a purchase confirmation by email immediately after purchase. This email confirmation serves as your ticket and will include your car assignment. You must print this email and bring it with you to board the train. A reminder email with boarding instructions and other trip details will be sent 72 hours before the event.
Safety and prohibited items
- For safety reasons, there will be no open windows nor open vestibules on any of these trips.
- Alcohol, smoking, illicit drugs, and firearms are all prohibited on the train
- High-heeled or open-toed shoes should not be worn.
- Pets are not allowed, with the exception of service animals.
Food and drink on the train and at the destination
- You may bring your own food and beverages to enjoy on board or at the destination. Small personal coolers or picnic baskets are allowed if stored under the seats or in the overhead rack.
- The Café Car, located in the Coach section, will offer a variety of snacks and drinks for purchase.
- Selected items will be offered for sale seat-side throughout the train.
- Chairman’s Class includes a hot breakfast, heavy midday appetizers, and a hot dinner on full-day trips, and hot breakfast or afternoon hors d’oeuvres on half-day trips
- Parlor Class and Dome passengers receive a hot breakfast, hors d’oeuvres, and a boxed afternoon meal on full-day trips, and a hot breakfast or hors d’oeuvres on half-day trips.
- Deluxe Coach and Standard Coach passengers will receive a complimentary package of snacks on all trips. On full-day trips, Deluxe Coach and Standard Coach passengers will also receive a boxed breakfast.
Restrooms are available onboard the train in most cars, and are no further than a one-car walk from any seat.
Photos and trademark
To protect passenger safety, there will be no photo run-bys. Logistics will vary by location, but VMT will make every effort to make the locomotive available for stationary viewing and photography before or after trips as railroad operations and scheduling allow. On most trips, your best chance to see 611 up close is prior to departure as it pulls into the boarding location or, on full-day trips, during the layover at your destination.
We encourage you to take all the photos and videos you want for personal use, and to post them freely to your social media accounts. For photography for commercial purposes, including posting on web sites that include advertising revenue paid to you, we ask that you contact the Museum for information about the use of the Museum’s trademark for the J 611. Fees are minimal, and licensing revenue helps ensure that the 611 is maintained and accessible, and sustains the demand for licensed commercial products. Visit FireUp611.org for more information.
- We reserve the right to substitute motive power or rolling stock at any time.
- VMT, NCTM and Norfolk Southern assume no liability for equipment failure, delay, injury, loss or other damage.
- Please plan to arrive on time, and return to the train on time for your trip home. We are not responsible for failure to board the train before it departs. “On time” is an hour before departure time. We recommend leaving plenty of time for parking as parking, including handicapped parking, is limited at all locations.
- By riding, all passengers grant VMT & NCTM the right to include photographic, video, audio and other visual or audio portrayals of passengers taken during or in connection with the excursion for the purpose of trade, advertising, sales, publicity, promotion, training or otherwise.
- VMT reserves the right to update these policies on an as needed basis at any time without notice.
Boarding and Parking Information
Your email confirmation of your purchase is your ticket. You must print and bring this email with you in order to board the train.
Parking information will be posted on fireup611.org and nctrans.org. Additional instructions regarding boarding and parking, as well as other trip details and a reminder of your car assignment, will be sent at least 72 hours prior to the event.