Norfolk and Western Class J #611 will be pulling three steam excursion trains next weekend (Saturday morning June 4th, Sunday morning June 5th, and Sunday afternoon June 5, 2016).
If you’ve never seen the 611 before, I highly recommend watching this special event. A steam train is a sight to behold for sure, especially when powered by the pinnacle of passenger steam technology at mainline speeds. The 611, named a National Historic Engineering Landmark, was built in Roanoke, Virginia by the Norfolk and Western Railway in 1950 to haul passenger trains at high speeds over mountainous terrain.
Here is a map of suggested viewing locations along the B-Line:
Keep a safe distance from the tracks and have fun!
Manassas: (train departs at 8:00a Saturday, 8:00a & 2:00p Sunday)
The Manassas station is the boarding location and site of the Manassas Railway Festival on June 4, 2016. This will be a crowded location. Last year, the 611 excursions pulled north into the station and backed up south before running up the south leg of the wye to the B-line.
Trailhead parking at the Bull Run Mountains Conservancy is close to the trail crossing at Thoroughfare Gap. Last year, photographers tended to creep up along the right-of-way at the crossing so getting a picture without other people in your frame may be challenging.
Stuart Street parallels the B-line track for a good distance. Last year, a well-behaved photo line led to a nice unobstructed view of the 611 eastbound by the old freight station here.
There was a good crowd at Rectortown last year, but I managed to get this photo of the 611 returning eastbound towards Manassas.
Delaplane, with its picturesque trackside buildings, was a zoo last year when I was there for the excursions. Instead of trying in vain to get a photo with no spectators, this might be a good spot to step back and photograph the event here (dozens of people lining the tracks to watch the 611).
The old station and houses at Markham make for a good setting. It will be crowded, but getting a good shot might be possible somewhere along Old Markham Road since the village is spread out.
A commuter lot next to the Exxon station in Linden is at the B-44 mile post (44 miles from Manassas). This is a decent place to watch the train while also filling up on gas or buying snacks while waiting for the excursion to turn at Riverton Junction and head back east. The Exxon has good made-to-order and pre-made submarine sandwiches (except the turkey in my opinion). Additionally, the Apple House across the street sells good bbq and other sandwiches. They also have an ice cream stand at the corner of Rte 55 and Dismal Hollow Road.