Watercolor… Saturday, May 30, 2015… the N&W 4-8-4, J Class #611 makes a stop under steam, on track behind the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Virginia on her return from a complete rebuild at the old Norfolk And Western (NW), Spencer Shops at the North Carolina Transportation Museum. A fitting juxtaposition in my mind. Truly a work of art, #611’s return to the Virginia Museum of Transportation is almost one year to the day… following her MU’d tow south to the Spencer Yards on May 28 of 2014… and 65 years after she was built and entered revenue service on May 29, 1950, with the Norfolk and Western Railroad. Under her new certifications… #611 sits fired and ready to again pull passenger rail excursions. And she did. Sadly, by the end of 2017, Norfolk Southern (NS), owner of most of the 611’s hosted trackage, announced it could no longer allow museum or preservation steam excursions to run on NS lines due to liability concerns… 611 included. However, in September and October of 2019, the 611 is visiting and running on track at the Strasburg Rail Road in Pennsylvania.
The Art Museum of Western Virginia opened in 1947… renamed the Roanoke Museum of Fine Arts in 1980… and moved into this new building designed by architect, Randall Stout in 2008, and rededicated as The Taubman Museum of Art.