Broadway Limited Model 075
Review by Neil
Norfolk and Western Class
J 611 4-8-4
The Norfolk and Western
J Class Locomotive was designed and built in Roanoke Virginia .
A fleet of fourteen were built which balanced strength and speed. They
were built in three batches 600-604 in 1941-42, 605-610 in 1943, and 611-613 in
1950. The second batch were not built with their streamlined shrouding
due to a wartime shortage of materials. This was added later between 1946
and 1947. The third batch were the last three steam passenger locomotives
built for an American railroad and were identical to the previous two batches.
By 1950, all of the Class Js had their boiler pressure
raised to 300 psi which increased the tractive effort to 80,000 pounds. The Js
operated daily for eighteen years between Cincinnati
and Norfolk ,
pulling the passenger trains The Powhatan
Arrow, Pocahontas, and
Cavalier. With a maximum drawbar
horsepower of 5,100, the J could pull a 15-car passenger train at 110 mph on
level ground. However, they were so well designed and built that one could be
pulled by several people with a rope. The locomotives averaged 15,000 miles per
month and some travelled nearly three million miles before their retirement.
Number 611 was built at a cost of $251,544 and entered
service on May 29, 1950. It pulled the last steam passenger train on October
24, 1959, from Roanoke , VA
to Bluefield , WV and back. Later that month, the railroad
donated it to the Museum. In October, 1981, the 611 was removed from the museum
to be part of what was to become the Norfolk
Southern steam excursion program. In October, 1995, the 611 was returned to the
Museum following the end of the excursion program.