N&W 611 Current Condition?

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N&W 611 Current Condition?

  • Hello all. I'm sure most of us remember the Norfolk Southern Steam Program and the N&W steam locomotives that made that program a great one. One of the stars of that show was the Norfolk and western Class J #611. I was laying in bed last night pondering and running some scenarios through my head. What kind of shape is the 611 in? It looks fairly good in the photos I've seen but obviously looks can be deceiving. What kind of shape is the crown sheet in? the stay bolts? the backheadder? The boiler it's self the Running gear? Honestly how hard would it be for someone to bring the J back into mainline service? 

     

    I may be dreaming but I hope that one day the mighty J can stretch her legs again in the back woods if Virginia.

     

    -Justin

    The road to to success is always under construction. _____________________________________________________________________________ When the going gets tough, the tough use duct tape.

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  • It looks good...except at Christmas time when they put a wreath over the headlight.

    .
  • HAHAHAHA! Thanks Jim!

     

    The road to to success is always under construction. _____________________________________________________________________________ When the going gets tough, the tough use duct tape.

  • Mechanically the 611 is the same as the day they placed her in the museum. She does have small crack in her bullet nose and I believe a piece of glass on the Fireman's side has been cracked. I would say the cracked glass is from  vandals.Her rods and other external componets are oiled and greased through out the year. Also in contract with Norfolk Southern the 611 is moved atleast once a year for oil to circulate through her parts and to prevent flat spots on the wheels & roller bearings. Now I now the boiler has to be taken down and inspeced for FRA recertification, which if the 611 does return to excurison service I'm sure a full scale pull down and rebuild like in '81 would be done anyway. As far as the crown sheet, stay bolts, etc. I'm not sure what deteriation has occured, if any, from sitting there all those years. A much more qualified person than me would need to comment on that. I would say sitting under a roof since '94 has probably been a lot better on the 611 compared to being outside in the elements for 30 years.

    TG3 LOOK ! LISTEN ! LIVE ! Remember the 3.

  • According to the FRA, a steam locomotive has to be torn down completely, ultra sounded, and a  thorough inspection after 1472 days of service, or 15 years, whichever occurs first. So at the very least it would have to be torn down, boiler tubes removed, and new ones put in.

    As a former mechanic of both steam and diesel locomotives the 611 is way over the hump for several reasons...

    All the parts are accounted for and were in formally running condition.

    It was in good running condition when it was donated to the museum.

    It was current with the FRA the last time it was steamed up.

    The paint is in good condition and the side panels are not rusting away.

    The air brake system is in working condition.

     A big advantage of the 611 is that it has roller bearings both on the side rods and on the tender.  Roller bearings rarely seize up and require minimal maintenance if any. If the 611 still had friction bearings it wouldn't even be allowed on the main line as friction bearing axles were outlawed decades ago.

    One big negative is that the 611 is a coal burner. This would probably be one of the main problems of returning the 611 back to steam.

    If you want my 5 cents on the 611 as a mechanic, I would say the tender as it stands is pretty much ready to go. It has roller bearings, and the braking system is working. Flange wear would have to be checked with a gauge and the air brake system would have to be checked for leaks. It would have to be filled with water and see if anything leaks.

    Running gear appears to be in good condition and would probably need minimal work done.

    The piston rings would have to be replaced as there is no steam lubrication when it is moving back and forth in the yard and the rings have probably worn down.

    Boiler tubes cut out and new ones put inside.

    Frame was probably already magna fluxed  and FRA approved. I doubt if it would need any work.

    Gauges would have to be re-calibrated and tested. The piping is probably still good.

    Estimated time with 10 people working 40 hours a week. 6 months.

    Estimated cost labor $192,000

    Estimated cost parts $160,000

    Total  $352,000

     

     

     

     

  • One big negative is that the 611 is a coal burner. This would probably be one of the main problems of returning the 611 back to steam.


    Thomas,
    The last time I looked, there didn't seem to be any shortage of coal around these parts.

    Bubba,
    Don't laugh! They really do hang a wreath around the headlight at Christmas...and it looks awful!!!

    .
  • I want to second thanks for the report.  Looks doable, and if the current NS steam program starts really taking off, it will be done and will be worth every penny in good public relations for NS, since it is a truly beautiful locomotive.

  • I think the coal burning part is not so much as a shortage of coal as it is to being able to refuel the tender. It takes a little more planning and expense, as it usually involves having to have a load of coal and a crane for loading at a certain stop on the system. Back when she was still under steam I did get to witness her being refueled in Lynchburg, VA was an interesting sight to see.

    As far as the wreath goes it's not all that bad. Atleast they don't deck her out with a full set of multi-colored lights. I can forgive VMT for tring to put everyone in the Christmas spirt.... even the rolling stock.

    TG3 LOOK ! LISTEN ! LIVE ! Remember the 3.

  • As far as the wreath goes it's not all that bad. Atleast they don't deck her out with a full set of multi-colored lights. I can forgive VMT for tring to put everyone in the Christmas spirt.... even the rolling stock.

    Actually it does! It ruins the entire appearance of the bullet nose. I think last year to begin with the wreath was hanging from the front grabiron and it looked in proper Christmas spirit. Then someone went and put it over the headlight and ruined the whole thing again.

    Someone down there doesn't have the best of taste when it comes to putting your best face forward. And I don't even want to begin in on what they did to the C630. What a slap in the face that was!

    As for moving the engine for lube purposes, I think there is a museum volunteer that uses a pinch bar to move her back and forth several times a year. The only time the NS does it is by the incidental moving of the engine for outside display purposes. In other words, they don't go in there for the express purpose of keeping things lubed.

    .
  • Thanks all for the updates.  I couldn't help but think about when they first moved the 611 from the Transportation Museum down in Wasena Park for that return to service.  I was there for that event, with all sorts of executive types gesturing and waving.  And when they pulled, there wasn't even one squeak.  Those roller bearings are quality.

    And a second on the "Hokie Hi".

    Bill

    With reasonable men, I will reason; with humane men I will plead; but to tyrants I will give no quarter, nor waste arguments where they will certainly be lost. William Lloyd Garrison
  • Thanks Thomas 9011 for that excellent report.  Let me tell you, when NS dropped the steam program it broke as many hearts here in Virginia as Apomattox did.  My wife (who's a BIG Art Deco fan) used to call 611 "MY ENGINE!"    She still feels the rage at NS after all this time!   Even if they only brought 611 back to run the racetrack between Petersburg and Norfolk that'd be good enough as far as I'm concerned.  Not holding my breath, but who knows?

  • The 611 was a great steam locomotive. I only rid behind her once but she sure could get a train up and moving and had a excellent sound! She was also the quietest steam locomotive I ever heard while sitting. It was almost dead silent.

    I do remember you had to wear safety glasses if you wanted to stick your head out the door. If you didn't those sharp cinders would stick in your eyes. Not very good on camcorders either. I met a few people who had their camcorders out the out the door for 10 minutes and when they looked at the lens it was all chipped and scratched up from the cinders hitting the lens at 79mph. Crushed coal works great for sand blasting. We used to use it in the ship yards and called it "diamond dust".

    Wasn't there another J class locomotive that was in a scrapyard that was donated to a museum recently? Two J's double heading would be a real hoot!

  • Ohh wow! Thanks to all of you for the information. Sounds like the J is in very good shape! Obviously the J would need a home and a shop to rebuild it. Maybe NS can restore the J if the current program takes off. Hopefully it will. The J might also be a good candidate to restore for a preservation group. Of course, those prices stated don't reflect being towed to a restoration place. Plus finding people who actually know what they are doing.

     

    Thanks again for all the information yall!

    Lets hope that one day the beautiful and gorgeous Class J will once again thunder down the rails. 

    Long live 611!

    The road to to success is always under construction. _____________________________________________________________________________ When the going gets tough, the tough use duct tape.

  • Thomas 9011

    The 611 was a great steam locomotive. I only rid behind her once but she sure could get a train up and moving and had a excellent sound! She was also the quietest steam locomotive I ever heard while sitting. It was almost dead silent.

    I do remember you had to wear safety glasses if you wanted to stick your head out the door. If you didn't those sharp cinders would stick in your eyes. Not very good on camcorders either. I met a few people who had their camcorders out the out the door for 10 minutes and when they looked at the lens it was all chipped and scratched up from the cinders hitting the lens at 79mph. Crushed coal works great for sand blasting. We used to use it in the ship yards and called it "diamond dust".

    Wasn't there another J class locomotive that was in a scrapyard that was donated to a museum recently? Two J's double heading would be a real hoot!

       

    Oh, 611 could sure get a train up and moving all right. I rode behind it several times, although not at 79 mph.  When I (we) rode the speed limit had been set at 45 mph.  However, when the train started moving I got that same "set-back-in-the-seat" feeling during acceleration that you get on a jetliner.  And dittos on the quiet.  I was trackside in the Roanoke yard when 611 drifted past, and it only made a gentle "woosh-woosh" sound as it passed.  Incredible machine! 

    Oh, and there are no other N&W clas J's around.  You may be thinking of three old N&W 4-8-0's that were recovered from a Roanoke scrapyard not too long ago.  One operates today on the Strasburg Railroad in Pennsylvania.

  • Train Guy 3

    Mechanically the 611 is the same as the day they placed her in the museum. She does have small crack in her bullet nose and I believe a piece of glass on the Fireman's side has been cracked. I would say the cracked glass is from  vandals.Her rods and other external componets are oiled and greased through out the year. Also in contract with Norfolk Southern the 611 is moved atleast once a year for oil to circulate through her parts and to prevent flat spots on the wheels & roller bearings. Now I now the boiler has to be taken down and inspeced for FRA recertification, which if the 611 does return to excurison service I'm sure a full scale pull down and rebuild like in '81 would be done anyway. As far as the crown sheet, stay bolts, etc. I'm not sure what deteriation has occured, if any, from sitting there all those years. A much more qualified person than me would need to comment on that. I would say sitting under a roof since '94 has probably been a lot better on the 611 compared to being outside in the elements for 30 years.

    Flat spots dont develop from sitting still partner Star

    Mechanical Department  "No no that's fine shove that 20 pound set all around the yard... those shoes aren't hell and a half to change..."

    The Missabe Road: Safety First