After running private excursions to and around Knoxville for the Lexington Group, the 630 returns to Chattanooga with a public excursion, the first such long-distance public passenger trip operated as part of NS and TVRM’s “21st Century Steam” program. Unfortunately, the 630 was plagued by overheated bearings throughout the day. Running several hours late, the 630 was eventually removed at Athens, TN and diesels took the train on to Chattanooga.
Mainline steam trips were absent from the Southeast US from 1994 until 2011, when Norfolk Southern began allowing limited steam excursion operations. Here are trips and events I've covered associated with the '21st Century Steam' program.