Spencer, NC (WBTV) - The North Carolina Transportation Museum will hold two events to celebrate the restoration of Norfolk & Western Class J steam locomotive No. 611, one for the general public and one for serious railroad photographers.
The famous streamlined passenger locomotive, built in 1950, has been at the museum for overhaul for almost a year and will soon be completed. It returns to its home at the Virginia Museum of Transportation on May 30.
On May 23, the museum will host the "611 Send Off" party with cake and a chance to see inside the locomotive cab and watch it move on and off the turntable.
A very limited number of lucky people will be able to purchase 30 minutes of throttle time on the locomotive at a cost of $611 per slot on a first-come, first-served basis.
Only 10 spots will be available for throttle time, starting at 8 a.m. and going to 11 a.m. The engine will be available for viewing from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will be displayed on the turntable on the hour. Throttle time will resume at 4 p.m. and conclude at 6 p.m.
On May 28, the museum will hold a once-in-a-lifetime photo charter using 611 and coordinated by Trains Magazine Editor Jim Wrinn, a 29-year volunteer with NCTM.
The locomotive will be posed on the turntable and with other steam power from the museum collection. It will pull a Tuscan red passenger train with the museum's heavyweight N&W combined and no canteen as well as a short freight, replicating the late 1950s local freight service that Class J locomotives saw before their retirement. A night photo session, barbecue luncheon featuring Fire Up 611! Chairman Preston Claytor, and other surprises are in store at a cost of $250 per person.
To order or for more information, visit www.nctrans.org or call 704-636-2889, extension 224.