Virginia Transportation Museum Trying to Save 'Queen of Steam'

Roanoke, VA - A steam engine needs a little TLC, and now the Virginia Transportation Museum is trying to find the money to fix it up.

Museum officials unveiled the plan to save the 611 N&W Class J's Friday.

Back in the 1940's and 50's, Norfolk and Western began making 14 of those locomotives; and the J class became known as arguably the greatest class of locomotives ever made.

The 611 itself rolled out of Roanoke shops in 1950 and went into service between Norfolk and Cincinnati.

After just nine years, the 611 was retired and eventually moved to the museum in 1962.

To resurrect the "Queen of Steam," the museum has launched the "Fire Up 611" campaign.

The goal is to raise $3.5 million to get the engine back on the tracks to be a part of Norfolk Southern's 21st Century Steam Passenger Excursion Program.

The money will also be used to build a special garage for the engine where required maintenance can be done in between trips.

"It's also an economic driver for the community. People coming in to ride excursions from the region and all parts of the country and even the world. The 611 N&W Class J's have a worldwide following," said Scott Lindsay, who's working to save the trains.

There is not a lot of time to make it all happen. Officials are looking to raise this money by the end of October or the window for restoration may close.