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”.

rail fans2 6-5-2016 2-18-27 PM

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

rail fans3 6-5-2016 2-54-37 PM 6-5-2016 2-54-37 PM

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~


20 responses to “The Birthday Weekend

  1. What a fun activity!!
    Love Motor Man’s photo!!!

  2. Happy birthday celebrations to you and your friend! I am attracted to steam engine trains and would like to travel West on one, someday. Smiles, Robin

  3. very nice!

  4. That was educational and interesting! So glad your dear friend “One spoiled Cat” and husband got to go! A glorious trip with friends. Loved all the people that came to see that grand old beauty. That video made my heart race it was so impressive–I would wait to see it as well! Glad you enjoyed your birthday weekend so much!

  5. Thanks for letting us be part of your and Bev’s “perfect birthday weekend”…… was ever so memorable and definitely something I’ll NEVER forget………….that train was amazing and so beautiful.


  6. Wow!! Love this, looks like such fun!
    The pic and video are amazing! Didn’t expect that there would be so many cars attached!

  7. What a great way to celebrate your birthday, Dianna. You made me homesick with this post as I lived not far from Manassas, Virginia for almost forty years. Thanks for sharing this great trip!

  8. I love that train photo too! Good shot MM!

  9. How exciting. Loved the video.

  10. Thanks for all the great photos and video. Even though it was for a good reason, I’m still bummed that Connor and I had to change plans to be with you this past weekend. But we will see you soon!

  11. Happy Birthday! What a wonderful way for you and Bev to celebrate!!

  12. I will have to show this to my hubby who loves trains. One of the reasons why is because his father and uncle worked on trains. His dad worked on the Pennsylvania Railroad and I spotted that insignia on the side of the train in one of your photos. Hubby will enjoy seeing this!! You really did have a special birthday weekend!

  13. Impressive … very impressive !
    The video and photo pair perfectly..
    All the greens and deep blues with the black smoke ..
    Perfect contrast !

  14. Fun time with fun friends. What a great way to wind up your birthdays celebration together.
    I like that video. That train was awesome! 🙂

  15. Shirley Matthews Dunn

    Just a wonderful birthday event for you and Bev! So glad Pam and her husband could join you guys. Great memories for all.

  16. Looks like fun! EveryBODY smiling! Good friends on a steam train ride, how can you not love that?

  17. Pam and Sam sent us over.. Great photos and I love the video of the steam train. That does look like a fun way to spend the afternoon. Happy belated birthday!

  18. What an adventure and Birthday celebration! Motor Man’s picture is frame worthy. You’re both fantastic photographers – you don’t think that will go to his head, do you? :> There’s something romantic about the old steam trains. Glad the weather cooperated.

  19. Great way to celebrate! People do turn out at every crossing for a chance to see her.

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