Daily Archives: June 8, 2016

The Birthday Weekend

My friend, Bev’s, birthday was Friday, and mine was Saturday. So we planned a birthday weekend trip.

We learned several months ago that excursions were planned that weekend for the 611 steam locomotive.  Just a little history, taken from the Virginia Transportation Museum web page:

Built in 1950 in Roanoke, the Class J 611 was the most advanced coal-fired steam locomotive ever built, and the last of its line.  The 611 was first retired from service in 1959, but was refurbished in the 1980’s for passenger excursions.  It was retired again in the 1990’s, when it became part of the Transportation Museum of Virginia’s collection. Restoration work on the 611 began on June 2nd, 2014.

And in 2015, a excursions were once again offered.

We’ve ridden many trains with Bev and her husband, so a ride behind the 611 seemed a perfect way to celebrate our birthdays. The trips departed from Manassas, Virginia,  traveled to Front Royal, then returned to Manassas.

Our ride was scheduled for Sunday, but we wanted to actually SEE the train in motion, which is difficult to do when you’re riding on it. So, we arrived in the area on Saturday and found a tiny railroad crossing on a country road.

Mr & Mrs Motor Man, waiting on a train...

Mr & Mrs Motor Man, waiting on a train…


Although we were thrilled to be that close to the 611, the photos we took that day weren’t spectacular.

However….since we were riding the Sunday afternoon train, we returned to our little railroad crossing Sunday morning to watch the 611 on its way to Front Royal. And we were not disappointed.

My Motor Man took this photo. I think it’s amazing.

smoking 611 6-5-2016 8-37-56 AM 6-5-2016 8-37-56 AM

You may recall seeing my friend, Pam’s, name mentioned here on These Days.  She Her cat, Sammy, writes the blog: “One Spoiled Cat“.  Pam and her husband, Dave, have become good friends of ours, and, since they live in the area, they joined us for the train ride Sunday afternoon.  They’re on the right in this picture, and Bev and her husband, Bill are on the left.

6 of us best 6-5-2016 6-35-49 PM

Although some of the train rides we’ve taken in the past haven’t offered the best scenery, Sunday’s trip was exceptionally pretty and included pastures, trees, cows, horses, and a bald eagle.  I thought this was an interesting shot that I took during our ride; I was able to get a few of the cars and some smoke from the locomotive.

train and smoke from ride 6-5-2016 2-51-58 PM

All along the route, fans lined up to take photos and videos and to wave at us the “Queen of Steam”.

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The 611 is a famous ol’ girl, and people travel from great distances to ride or just to catch a glimpse of her.

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All too soon, we were returning to the Manassas Station and a three-hour ride back home….in the rain.

I’m sharing this video that Motor Man took with our Go-Pro camera of the Sunday morning train on its trip from Manassas to Front Royal.

Bev and I agreed that it was a perfect birthday weekend.

~These Days Of Mine~