Norfolk & Western #611
May 2016 Roanoke excursions
My favorite memory from Thursday's test run will be No. 611's spirited departure from a planned inspection stop on the main line adjacent to Norfolk Southern's Spencer Yard. We could see the engine about a mile down the track, and by the time No. 611 passed us at control point Lee, No. 611 was accelerating on a slight upgrade, rods blurring, cinders raining down, and exhaust booming, just like the good old days, whether they were 1950-1959 or 1982-1994. Welcome to the new good old days as No. 611 enters its third career. She may be days away from her 65th birthday, but retirement is not an option.
"Powhatan Arrow" / Bonsack, Va / 1950s / web
WILL: Hey, isn't that Casey Thomason?
WILL: Up there, where you were, taking pictures!
ME: Really? Are you sure?
WILL: I think so. Sure looks like him.
ME: I'm not sure. Ask him. Ask him!
And so my brave brother-in-law and partner-in-chase asked him if he was, in fact, Casey Thomason, Norfolk Southern's official company photographer. Why yes he was, somewhat embarrassed to be treated like a celebrity by two J class foamers. He could not have been a nicer guy. We chatted for a few minutes and thanked him for his spectacular work in recent years covering the 21st Century Steam Program, the Spencer events, and the Norfolk Southern heritage units. It was almost as exciting as seeing the Queen herself. Below is a snap of three of us, with the old Norfolk & Western office building in the background, across the NS main.
Roanoke, Va / May 2016 / RWH
May 2016 / Will Hankins