Strasburg announcement Friday 611?

Strasburg posted a teaser of 611’s firebox doors saying announcement March 15. VMT also has an announcement Friday as well. My guess is that 611 is actually going to travel to Strasburg this year for probably public display and operation similar to what it did at NCTM. Better than nothing since neither NS or Amtrak allows public excursions now, but NS allows ferry moves of steam locomotives and NS has trackage rights on Amtrak to Leaman Place. I rode behind 611 in northern Virginia a few years ago but wouldn’t mind seeing it again if it does go to Strasburg. Perhaps it will pull some trains on the Strasburg as well. NS would probably have to tow it behind a diesel if it doesn’t have PTC and cab signals. Towing it behind a diesel for 400+ miles from Roanoke to Strasburg would save on coal costs and satisfy Amtrak’s requirements of cab signals on the Harrisburg line.

Original Post

Last year it went to Spencer. They don’t want it to be idle, so they are thinking outside of the box, as long as NS still allows deadhead steam moves, they can take it to various tourist railroads that connect with NS, NS has trackage rights to deliver freight to Strasburg so bringing 611 up would work since the routing would be mostly NS except for a bit of Amtrak from Lancaster to Leaman Place. Can Anderson say no to that? Strasburg’s tracks can probably handle the weight of 611.

Robert K posted:

Last year it went to Spencer. They don’t want it to be idle, so they are thinking outside of the box, as long as NS still allows deadhead steam moves,

So long as someone pays for them.

they can take it to various tourist railroads that connect with NS, NS has trackage rights to deliver freight to Strasburg so bringing 611 up would work since the routing would be mostly NS except for a bit of Amtrak from Lancaster to Leaman Place. Can Anderson say no to that?

Probably not.

Strasburg’s tracks can probably handle the weight of 611.

Hopefully someone has though that out.

 

Isn’t 475 friction bearing though? Would NS even handle anything friction bearing? And why did NS stop hosting 611 excursions? It would have been nice to have a series of 611 excursions in eastern PA like to Horseshoe Curve, to Perryville, MD, to Renovo, PA, to Reading or Allentown or Newark, NJ. Of course now it would need PTC equipment plus cab signals for the ex-PRR. Well, this could have happened if Amtrak didn’t ban excursions. 611 was supposed to continue running excursions with Amtrak.

Kelly Anderson posted:
Robert K posted:

Isn’t 475 friction bearing though? 

They are properly called plain bearings, and #757 was just towed by NS to Ohio on plain bearings,

If I remember correctly, the NKP Lima Berks have roller bearings on the driver axles and lead truck, with plain bearings on the trailing truck and tender trucks.

so NS seems to be relaxing their standards on this, good for them.

Absolutely! Maybe someone in their Mechanical Dept. understands that virtually every single diesel unit with DC traction motors, in their fleet, has plain bearing suspension bearings.

 

What about CSX though, are they still against even towing a dead steam locomotive? But I heard 765 actually ran on CSX live during the moves to and from CVSR. Somewhere around Cleveland, Ohio. I’d like to know what CEO Foote’s stance on steam is since Hunter was so vehemently against steam. He sort of quietly killed CP’s steam program. What exactly though is NS against now? They still allow live steam moves, like with 611 and 765 but they no longer allow public excursions. Is it because of the liability insurance? NS no longer wants to pay for liability insurance and you can’t have public excursions without insurance. Or is it that they simply don’t want to bother with the hassles of excursions anymore and scheduling them around their freight trains as well as the liability of the general public on their property and all the foamers trackside? The 21st century program was a lot smaller than the 1982-1994 program with 611 as a part of it. Although the newer program did have a bunch of really long excursions over 300 miles round trip.

Robert K posted:

What about CSX though, are they still against even towing a dead steam locomotive?

No. The nice folks at CSX recently moved that NC&StL 4-8-4 in Nashville area.

But I heard 765 actually ran on CSX live during the moves to and from CVSR. Somewhere around Cleveland, Ohio. I’d like to know what CEO Foote’s stance on steam is since Hunter was so vehemently against steam.

Why don't you write his office and ask him?

He sort of quietly killed CP’s steam program. What exactly though is NS against now? They still allow live steam moves, like with 611 and 765 but they no longer allow public excursions. Is it because of the liability insurance?

Absolutely YES!

NS no longer wants to pay for liability insurance and you can’t have public excursions without insurance.

Bingo.

Or is it that they simply don’t want to bother with the hassles of excursions anymore and scheduling them around their freight trains as well as the liability of the general public on their property and all the foamers trackside?

Another bingo!

 

Ok, what about Amtrak? Why are they against excursions now? Is Anderson just being a jerk? If you go to 4449’s site they admit that 4449 will probably not run until the holiday trains in Portland. Amtrak has really screwed the private car owners and mainline excursion operators.

Robert K posted:

Ok, what about Amtrak?

What about Amtrak?

Why are they against excursions now?

Guess you'll have to write their headquarters and ask.

Is Anderson just being a jerk?

Possibly.

If you go to 4449’s site they admit that 4449 will probably not run until the holiday trains in Portland.

That is all the Friends of 4449 are going to say, no matter what is going on behind closed doors.

Amtrak has really screwed the private car owners and mainline excursion operators.

Yup!

 

Kelly Anderson posted:
Hot Water posted:
Robert K posted:

Is Anderson just being a jerk?

Possibly.

I try to be but it isn't easy.  Maybe Hot Water can give me some lessons??

Kelly, can you shed some light on the prices listed please? ($5 to $750) is the 750 for firing 611/475 and tickets are in the normal price range? Or will tickets for riding behind 611 be $750? Or will more info regarding prices be announced Tomorrow? 

Modeling Enola PA in miniature

Robert K posted:

Ok, what about Amtrak? Why are they against excursions now? Is Anderson just being a jerk? If you go to 4449’s site they admit that 4449 will probably not run until the holiday trains in Portland. Amtrak has really screwed the private car owners and mainline excursion operators.

Here's the last article I read regarding private varnish & Amtrak...

Amtrak

 

 

C. Jones

From the email:

The Norfolk & Western Class J 611 will head to Strasburg Rail Road for four weekends of special events in September and October
The Norfolk & Western Class J 611, a National Historic Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers,
is known as an engineering powerhouse of steam, technology,
and near mechanical perfection.

The Strasburg Rail Road is America's oldest operating railroad
and home to the Norfolk & Western Class M #475

The Virginia Museum of Transportation, Inc., and the Strasburg Rail Road Company announce that the famous Norfolk & Western Class J 611 steam passenger locomotive will head to Pennsylvania's Amish Country this fall for four weekends of special events and appearances.

The once-in-a-never events include being a passenger behind the famous locomotive on the Rail Road's property, opportunities to operate and fire the locomotive, and cab rides. Photo charters, classic car shows, educational behind-the-scene shop tours, and family-centered events will round out the exciting four weeks.

"Since its restoration, the Virginia Museum of Transportation (VMT) has sought opportunities for the 611 to engage people from all walks of life," said Brian Barton, VMT board member. "The partnership with the Strasburg Rail Road allows us to spark a fascination with steam locomotives and transportation, our history, steam technology, mechanical engineering, and design.

The Revolution of Steam

For Strasburg Rail Road, home to the revered Norfolk & Western Class M locomotive #475, hosting the Class J 611 is an unprecedented event.

"Reuniting 475 and 611 is a rare opportunity for railfans and heritage railroad tourists alike," said Steve Barrall, station master at Strasburg Rail Road. "When the two locomotives are side-by-side, you will see, hear, and feel how the Norfolk & Western Railway revolutionized steam technology in under 50 years."

The N&W Class M #475, a 4-8-0 locomotive, was built in 1906 by Baldwin Locomotive Works and put into service by the Norfolk & Western hauling freight and coal trains. Soon after, the railway decided to design and build its locomotives using cutting-edge technology and engineering.

The N&W Class J 611 is the sole survivor of 14 Class J steam locomotives designed and built by the Norfolk & Western Railway. The locomotive rolled out of Roanoke's East End Shops in 1950. Its mission was to pull the Powhatan Arrow, a 15-car passenger train, from Norfolk, Virginia, to Cincinnati, Ohio.

The special events at the Strasburg Rail Road include:
September 28-29: A Norfolk & Western Railway Steam Reunion
October 4-6: Railfan Photography Extravaganza
October 12-14: Rail & Road: A Transportation Evolution
October 19-20: At the Throttle of Norfolk & Western Steam
Tickets can be found at strasburgrailroad.com.

Norfolk Southern was instrumental in bringing the two organizations together. "Without the support from Norfolk Southern, the VMT would not be allowed to ferry the locomotive to special events," Barton said. "For the safety of the railroad's crews, railfans, and the general public, the ferry moves will not be announced beforehand."


I also just booked an engineers seat for Saturday evening. Happy that I'll already be there for York, this is just the icing on the cake. 

 

 

 

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Would love to do this with my son, since I may be in York for the show.  Just checked, and most seats in the cab are almost gone.   I'll be happy just to see her under steam.  What a great event.

True foaming would have to include 611 at track speed from Harrisburg to Paradise in the early morning, facing the Sun.   Halfway expect this part of the ferry move to be at night behind a NS locomotive.  Congrats to VTM and SRR for managing to work out the logistics.  Truly an amazing move!

Bob

I went to buy tickets today and I wanted a jump seat cab ride but they were all sold out, and all the whistle blows were gone for Saturday so I settled for Sunday, there were three left, and bought tickets for one ride behind 611 on Sunday at 2:30. I just wish they could have worked something out with NS to run 611 on the branches around Lancaster, that would be rare mileage. Such as the line to Lititz. But, they aren’t bringing any coaches with them and Strasburg’s coaches are not allowed out on Amtrak. And then there’s the liability insurance issue. Strasburg is already insured since they haul people all the time.

I got lucky and was able to book the throttle of 475 for Saturday the 19th in the morning. Flying the whole family from Florida to the event. Wish I could have my grandson in the cab with me like my Grandfather did with me on the Jersey Central. Though I was young I will remember him and that trip forever.

How could Strasburg’s wood coaches go out on Amtrak? I thought they weren’t mainline certified. I know a public excursion in Strasburg’s coaches on Amtrak or NS like to Rockville Bridge and return would be forbidden today. In 1985 and 1986 Strasburg had mainline excursions to Rockville bridge and Philly with 7002 and 1223, 7002 was equipped with cab signals for the excursions. They had a fleet of steel coaches that were DL&W commuter coaches bought around 1984 similar to RBMN’s fleet. So the whole ex-PRR from Philly to Pittsburgh requires cab signals in the lead locomotive? 765 needed them to run over the NS to Altoona, etc. Are cab signals a safety device?

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