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Museum wants to bring locomotive back to the rails

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The Virginia Museum of Transportation wants to return its steam locomotive back to the rails.

The museum is launching a $5 million fundraising campaign to restore the Norfolk & Western Class J 611 Steam Locomotive for excursion. The museum wants to participate in Norfolk Southern Corp.’s 21st Century Steam Program, a series of special steam-powered excursions.

A museum committee determined that $3.5 million would be needed to bring the locomotive back to the rails to cover mechanical restoration of the locomotive, the construction of a shop maintenance facility and development of the excursion program. The goal is to eventually raise $5 million to create an endowment to keep the locomotive running excursions for years.

To participate in Norfolk Southern’s program, the museum would need to raise $3.5 million by Oct. 31.

“The Virginia Museum of Transportation does not have the resources to fund this project alone,” museum Executive Director Beverly Fitzpatrick said in a statement. “We are asking her fans across the globe who want to see her run again to be a part of this important capital campaign. Her appeal extends to people everywhere who value heritage, craftsmanship, and the thrill of bringing an American icon to life.”

The locomotive was built in 1950 in Roanoke and retired from service in 1959. In 1962, the locomotive was moved to the Virginia Museum of Transportation. She was restored in 1981 and retired form excurions in 1994.

More information on the campaign is available at: fireup611.org.

 


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