Class J Northern
The Norfolk and Western Railway's J class steam locomotives were a class of 4-8-4 locomotives built between 1941 and 1950. The class Js were famous for pulling some of the railroads most prominent passenger trains, such as The Powhatan Arrow, The Pocahontas and ferrying Southern Railway's Tennessean. Even with their incredible power and speed, the class Js were among the most reliable engines, running as many as 15,000 miles per month, even on the mountainous and relatively short route of the N&W.
In 1958 and 1959, the railroad ran several Farewell To Steam excursions, with 611 pulling the last one in October 1959. While many of the locomotives went to the scrap lines, the 611 was preserved. This was in part due to its superb condition (after its 1956 derailment and subsequent repair) and also in part to the efforts of photographer O. Winston Link, who offered to purchase 611 himself rather than see it scrapped.
Lionel's version of the N & W J class locomotive is an excellent representation of the real life locomotive. Since its introduction in 1957, Lionel and other manufacturers have re-issued this locomotive many times over the past 60+ years.
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