ROANOKE, Va. – All aboard the 611! Public excursions on the beloved “Queen of Steam” locomotive begin this fall.
Virginia Museum of Transportation Executive Director Mendy Flynn said she’s already been receiving calls from interested buyers.
“There’s going to be an overwhelming demand,” Flynn said. “Hopefully everybody will get their tickets early, so we can make sure they get to ride on the days they want to and get their families involved.”
The trip starts in Goshen, Virginia and travels east through the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests and into the Shenandoah Valley. It’s been four years since a ride like this.
“We’ve had people come from all of the world when we had excursions here out of Roanoke, and same when they were running in Pennsylvania, so we won’t be surprised at all if we see people from England and other places far away,” Flynn said.
It’s people nearby, here in the 611′s hometown, the heart of the Roanoke Valley, that may be most excited of all.
“Everybody has a great story, cherished memories from prior generations, whether it be somebody in their family worked on the railroad or took them to ride,” Flynn said.
Something like this doesn’t come around often, and staff said they’re really not sure what’ll be next for the over 70-year-old locomotive.
“We don’t know what will happen, where it will go after it finishes these excursions,” Flynn said. “There are discussions underway now already planning for the future.”