Chasing the N&W 611, June 13 & 14, 2015
(click on each image to see a larger version -- approx 1024X768)

Foamers (uh, excuse me, I mean railfans) gathering track-side in the middle of nowhere intently gazing at nothing.

Must be waiting for something....

June 13, 2015

COOL!!!!!!  Now that is worth waiting for!  The freshly restored Norfolk & Western "Class J" steam locomotive #611 leads an excursion train from Lynchburg to Petersburg, Virginia.

Approaching the Lee signal
near Appomattox, Virginia

We raced on ahead but actually had plenty of time to spare as local electrical outages cause problems with the signaling system.  This is a heavily-trafficked line on an active railroad which meant she had to obey the rules and stop and wait on the dispatcher's clearance as several points like here at Green Bay, Virginia.


The curve past the site of the former passenger station in Blackstone, Virginia was occupied by a crowd of all ages including bicyclers, shoppers, fire-fighters, and even one painter!


The 611's steam whistle was actually quite loud and she announced herself with other unfamiliar noises which is a good thing considering the rather large crowd awaiting her arrival at the N&W station in Petersburg.


The majority of viewers were local residents just out to see this unfamiliar sight, but there were the typical railfans lined up with cameras like the small group above.

The day was hot and humid and by the afternoon heavy clouds and localized thunderstorms were beginning to develop.  That still didn't deter excited local residents at out of the way places like this rural crossing near Poole Siding, Virginia.


The humidity makes the steam of the whistle stand out against the coal smoke and the clouds can sometimes add a nifty touch to the scene as they did here as it approaches the Oaks signal on the East side of Crewe, Virginia


By the time we pulled into Green Bay it was early evening and we did not intend to even photograph it but the sight of the remaining CPL signal changed our minds!

At Abilene, Virginia the developing thunderstorms almost made the scene too dark for a fast-moving train but I grabbed the camera for a shot anyway!

As the rain began we paced the "J" along rural roads enjoying the sound and getting nifty glimpses where we could. Mid-way between Abilene and Pamplin, Virginia we found her waiting on an unexpectedly unfavorable signal.  The rain was coming down steadily and the scene was quite dreary but digital film is cheap!


Delays caused by the signal problems and a snafu turning the train in Petersburg put her way behind schedule and attempting to make up time where she could.   My last shot of the day came in barely marginal conditions as she races through Appomattox, Virginia.


I've passed under this steel trestle many times but until this morning I'd mistakenly believed it was the old L&D railroad line but as I passed it today I had second thoughts and decided to do a little checking.  Sure enough it is the Norfolk Southern's former N&W mainline East and the route or the "J"!

Lynchburg, Virginia
June 14, 2015

The crowds were a bit lighter today but still many people were out braving the falling cinders as here in Burkeville, Virginia.


Approaching the Jack signal on the far West side of Petersburg the crowd seems to include more railfans and a few railroaders and one police officer futilely trying to keep the crowd back!

Sutherland, Virginia

Over the years I've shot hundreds of photos at this spot; it's where the former N&W's Petersburg Belt-line passes under the CSX A-line (former Seaboard Coast Line Railroad).  There are always railfans hanging out here regardless of the weather or time of day – today was no different but the subject definitely was!

Petersburg, Virginia

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Proud to be an American!
Mack Muir