N&W Class J 611: The Spirit of Roanoke

History of the Class J 611

May 29, 1950: The Class J 611 rolled out of the Roanoke Shops at a cost of $251,544.

January 23, 1956: The Class J 611 derailed along the Tug River near Cedar, West Virginia.

October 1959: The Class J 611 made her final regular run from Bluefield, West Virginia, to Roanoke, Virginia.

May 1963: The Roanoke Transportation Museum opens. The Museum later becomes the Virginia Museum of Transportation and the permanent home for the Class J 611.

October 1981: The Class J 611 leaves the Virginia Museum of Transportation for Irondale, Alabama, for restoration.

August 1982: The Class J 611 steams home to Roanoke with Robert B. Claytor, Norfolk & Western chairman, at the throttle.

May 1984: Named a National Historic Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

December 7, 1994: The steam program was discontinued. The Class J 611 retired to the Virginia Museum of Transportation.

February 22, 2013: The Virginia Museum of Transportation formed the Fire Up 611! Committee and announced a feasibility study.

June 28, 2013: The Virginia Museum of Transportation announced that the restoration is possible and launched the Fire Up 611! Capital Campaign.

May 24, 2014: The Class J 611 is pulled from the Virginia Museum of Transportation and moved dead-in-tow to the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, North Carolina, for restoration.

May 28, 2014: Norfolk Southern CEO Wick Moorman turns the first bolt at a special ceremony signaling the beginning of the restoration.

March 31, 2015: The Class J 611 conducts its first test fire.