ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR)– A Roanoke royal has returned to the Star City.
After years on loan, the 611 rolled back into the Virginia Transportation Museum, much to the delight of locals and enthusiasts.
The Norfolk and Western 611 better known as the ‘Queen of Steam’ rolled back into the Virginia Transportation Museum this afternoon.
“I believe it to be the most advanced steam locomotive ever in the world,” Gene Elliot, Executive Vice President of Collections.
After being made in the 1950s, she retired from service in 1959 but not the railways.
“The massive of the locomotive in person is truly amazing and very much an experience, “said Elliot.
Virginia is not the only state to enjoy her presence. For the past couple of years, the locomotive has been stationed in Strasburg, Pennsylvania offering passenger excursion trips.
After 4 years, she is back in the Star City.
“The J class number 611 is probably, it’s not probably, it is the prize procession. And it’s a part of the pride of the valley in southwest Virginia in general, having been built on the North of Western shops just east of us here,” said Tom Cox, Executive Vice President of the Museum.
Cox noted, by sharing the Queen of Steam with neighboring states, they build revenue for the museum allowing for more maintenance on the train.
He said they are planning to bring back visitor excursions right here in the Star City.
Being the only Class J locomotive still in existence, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 3, the community will have an opportunity to get right up close and personal with it.
Attendees will even get the chance to blow her whistle and tour the cabin.
The museum is asking visitors to wear long pants and closed-toe shoes, because of how hot the train will be.