This past weekend from October 5-7, the Strasburg Rail Road in conjunction with the VMT and Fire Up 611 team ran N&W #611 and N&W #475 on weekend long photo charter. I was a participant on the first day, October 5th. The charter started bright and early at 6 am and ran till about 7 pm. We had spectacular light all day which made for some wonderful shots. I'll be sure to add to this thread as I get to the rest of the photos. 

Here are a handful for you all to enjoy and I hope you like them! 

Dawn with the J...

IMG_4786 CR

Shades of yellow, orange, purple, and blue surround #611 as she backs up to begin the photo charter...

IMG_4796 CR

IMG_4827 CR

"Sunrise with the J": N&W #611 breaks the early morning silence outside of the Verdant View Farm as the sun just barely breaks over the hills to the East. With jointed rail and the single bulb headlight re-installed I honestly could've sworn for a minute we went back to the 1950s...doesn't get much better folks! 

IMG_4847 CR

N&W M Class #475 races by with a mixed train in the warmth of a 41 degree October morning...

IMG_4861 CR



Photos (6)
Original Post

Beautiful images!  Thank you for sharing.  Wish I could have been there to see it in person. 

The Strasburg has a history of heavy equipment on it.  The PRR locomotive collection at the museum across the street traveled over the Strasburg when it came from Northumberland.  Also, I believe D16sb 1223 transported a Conrail GG1 in 1976 to have some bearing work done in their shops.



Thanks fellas for the compliments! Here are some more: 

N&W #475 races by the Verdant View Farm crossing on the morning of October 5, 2019. 

IMG_4869 CR

"Power": N&W #611 shakes the ground outside of the Verdant View Farm on the morning of October 5, 2019 displaying for a few seconds most if not all of the power behind that 300 psi boiler.

IMG_4910 CR

"50 cents worth of memories": Norfolk & Western #611 thunders by the Verdant View Farm on the morning of October 5, 2019. This picture was taken from the viewing platform of the silo at the Red Caboose Motel. For a donation of 50 cents, you too can take in a gorgeous Lancaster County sunrise with perhaps some steam involved.

IMG_4927 CR

"Morning with an M": N&W M Class #475 peacefully shuffles along as her saturated exhaust lifts itself high into the sky on a sunny and cloudless morning next to the farms doting the landscape on Road to Paradise.

IMG_4939 CR


Photos (4)

Mike, that silo picture is phenomenal. At first I thought drone, but hey, if there is something to climb, that works great. Fantastic photos, I hope I can get some great ones next week. One thing I need to do is get a plug in for my computer for my phone. It's such a PITA to go through the way of flipping on the phone instead of plugging in.

Michael J Wilson,

Your work is beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing. I could never be there is person, but your work allows me to have the experience vicariously. Those of us who cannot travel for one reason or another benefit from the work of talented and generous photographers like you. 


Thanks again everyone for the kind words!

Here are some more: 

N&W #611 thunders by the classic railroad crossing at the Verdant View Farm as two hot air balloons and their likely passengers take in a higher elevation view of the activities off to the North.

IMG_4886 CR

Two N&W locomotives under the ex-PRR catenary? Where's a GG1 when you need to really mess with people's heads? 

IMG_4959 CR

A crew photo before the rest of the day's activities... (Pictured L-R: (#475) Dan Potts, Brent Lefever, and Mark Young; (#611) Not sure of the gentleman on the engineer's side running board, but below him is Fred Mattison and to his left is 611 CMO Scott Lindsay and above Scott is Fireman Cheri George. 

IMG_4989 CRIMG_5031 CRIMG_5039 CR

N&W #611 stomps her way around Long's Curve (notice the singed branches of the trees that are trackside coming out of Leaman Place Junction). 

IMG_5062 CR

N&W #475 follows at a rapid pace hauling the photographer's train which also acts as a second mixed train to photograph...

IMG_5070 CR

Stay tuned for more! 


Photos (7)
smd4 posted:

I'm not sure anything looks better than red oxide cab roofs and open green cab doors...

#475 just came off her 1472 day inspection so her paint job is still very shiny and fresh. I have pictures from last year before her 1472 inspection and her cab roof and inner cab paint isn't nearly as nice. A few more months of chronic exposure to coal smoke and soot should dull it down. 

Been away for a few weeks, but here are the rest of the bunch. Thanks for looking! 

Right on schedule, N&W #611 shows off her speed as she races past Beiler's Crossing.

IMG_5076 CR

Among the low growing rows of crops, Norfolk & Western J Class #611 hustles back heading west to her terminal and point of origin with a short freight in tow.

IMG_5098 CR

"Standing in Awe": A local Amish farmer gazes at N&W J Class locomotive #611 as she chugs by his position along Long Curve outside of Paradise, Pennsylvania. For some families who, for generations, have lived along these tracks within ear shot of a steam locomotive, the presence of a 300 psi 1950 J Class locomotive makes all the difference in their day!

IMG_5103 CR

Fireman Mark Young eyes the Amish onlookers and household pets, as N&W M Class #475 puts on a steam show rounding Long Curve outside of Paradise, Pennsylvania.

IMG_5127 CR

A local Amish family watches the high iron activities with Norfolk & Western #475 as she passes over the Pumpkinville Turnpike hauling a mixed train along the Road to Paradise.

IMG_5133 CR

"1958": There is no shortage of steam action along the jointed rails of the Norfolk & Western. N&W J Class #611 hauling a short freight comes thundering by followed a few minutes later by the local mixed train hauled by N&W M Class #475.

IMG_5160 CRIMG_5143 CR

IMG_5174 CR

A friendly wave and hello greets Norfolk & Western J Class #611 as she passes over top of the Pumpkinville Turnpike outside of Paradise, Pennsylvania.

IMG_5179 CR

Two more runbys at Esbenshade Road...

IMG_5220 CRIMG_5237 CR

Three young Amish girls agreed to pose for us next to their buggy and various items as N&W #611 performed a runby...

IMG_5266 CR

"The Big Two" (Before anyone raises concern, both locomotives were stationary during these shots. We were escorted by railroad officials onto the tracks to get a closer angle of both locomotives posed side by side.)

IMG_5315 CRIMG_5324 CRIMG_5339 CR

And there's always time for a Groff's Grove "liftoff"...

IMG_5367 CR

The local farmer's daughter waves hello to the engineer of N&W M Class #475 as she shuffles along on her antique Oliver tractor in the fields along the Road to Paradise. 

IMG_5396 CRIMG_5402 CRIMG_5416 CR

During the photo charter, Great Western #90 was hauling the regularly scheduled hourly trains. The crew on #90, Steve Weaver and Erich Armpriester, really put on a show for us making their presence in between the photo freights well worth it. Here, #90 hustles up the grade to Carpenter's crossing hauling about 9 cars. Out of all the locomotives on this day operating #90 actually was having to do the most work. 

IMG_5432 CR

Some classic Lancaster county scenery to mix with N&W steam...

IMG_5483 CRIMG_5491 CR

The cemetery shot at Carpenter's crossing with N&W #611... (we had great lighting all day)

IMG_5504 CRIMG_5539 CR

With the sunlight fading fast, this runby with N&W #475 marked the end of our day, but what a day it was. Definitely a photo charter to go down in the history books! 

IMG_5559 CR

Thanks again for looking!


Photos (25)
mark s posted:

Didn't know that Strasburg has heavy enough rail to support 611.  Although modern freight cars carry a pretty heavy axle load (Strasburg handles interchange freight traffic).

Looking at Mike Wilson's photo in the large size (go to his post and zoom in):

A standard coupler knuckle height is 11" and 130# rail is 6 ⅝ to 6 ¾ inches tall. You are looking at heavy rail in that pic.

Because of perspective you need to look at the rail height immediately in front of 611.



Operator of the Plywood Empire Route in the Beautiful Berkshires

Growing old is so much more fun than the only alternative.

The Strasburg Rail Road hauls a lot of freight regularly and as a result they've had to replace a large majority of the track along the line to keep up against the wear and tear of the high axle loading. I know about 4 years ago they completely had the siding at Groff's Grove above ripped out and replaced. 

Add Reply

OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653