This is a photo that speaks of speed. The designers under the watchful eye of Clarence E. Pond, Norfolk & Western Railway
General Manager, Motive Power and Equipment, designed one of the finest passenger steam locomotives of all time. Working closely with all departments of the railroad, they fabricated a dream locomotive. It is one of immense power with 80,000 lbs of tractive effort and great speed, being able to attain over 100MPH with a 15 cars. (An accomplishment it did on its last run for the N&W in 1959) Yet it does so on rather small 70" diameter wheels while other famous speedsters like the New York Central Hudsons had 79" or the Milwaukee Road's Baltic 4-6-4's had 84” drivers. With those "small" drivers, however, the J class could scoff at mountain grades, something the short N&W had a lot of. With a cast bed frame, roller bearings throughout, forced lubrication points, it also had incredible availability. By that, servicing time was very short so it could go right out on the next run in less time (1-2 hours) than other locomotives. Impressive then, impressive now.
Here we see an impression of the high speed of No. 611's past. Doing timetable speed of 20MPH, with a little bit of camera operating, it looks to be much faster, much more fitting to No. 611's capabilities. That is fireman Zac McGinnis keeping a watchful eye on the left side during a splendid Pete Lerro Production charter at the Strasburg Railroad that was possible with the blessing of the Virginia Museum of Transportation, the owners of N&W No. 611.