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Class J No. 611 steam locomotive offers special trips through North Carolina and Virginia.


It used to be common to ride the rails, powered by a steam locomotive, taking in the sights and sounds of a weekend adventure. The N.C. Transportation Museum is providing this experience in the modern age, with spring excursions pulled by the iconic Class J No. 611 steam locomotive.

This 1950s era steam engine, with its distinctive bullet shaped nose and streamlined design represents the height of steam powered technology. These trips are being offered in coordination with the Virginia Museum of Transportation, owners of the No. 611.

April 8, a round trip day-trip to Lynchburg, Virginia will be offered, while half-day trips to Charlotte and Greensboro, North Carolina, will take place April 9. All trips depart and return to the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer.

Those enjoying the April 8 trip aboard The Virginian will have a full day of rail riding and the pleasure of a historic destination. Departing the museum at 7 a.m., passengers will enjoy the rolling hills of the Piedmont and the Virginia countryside, arriving in Lynchburg at noon. The city features a historic downtown area with unique shops, historic sites, arts and cultural venues. Enjoy lunch offered at the Lynchburg Community Market, the third oldest farmer’s market in the country.

Passengers may choose to take in a walking tour of the city’s seven historic districts, featuring homes built when tobacco tycoons, doctors, and attorneys made Lynchburg one of the wealthiest cities in the nation. Stroll through history with a Civil War Walking Tour across this one-time capital of the Confederacy. Or simply take in the sights and shops that sell art, antiques, and more.

After three hours in Lynchburg, passengers will board the train for the return trip, arriving back in Spencer at 8 p.m.

Standard Class seating is $169 per person and features a complimentary boxed breakfast and afternoon snack.

Deluxe Coach seating is $209 per person and includes a boxed breakfast and afternoon meal.

Parlor Class seating is $299 per person and includes a complimentary hot breakfast, boxed afternoon meal, complimentary hors d’oeuvres, soft drinks, and coffee.

Dome Class seating is $399 person person and includes the same dining features as Parlor Class. Dome Class cars however, offer glass topped roofs, providing panoramic views throughout the trip.

Chairman Class seating, the most exclusive option, is $549 per person. Seated aboard the Silver Solarium dome/observation car, guests will enjoy the ultimate in luxury and service. Attendants will prepare and serve hot meals, hors d’oeuvres and soft drinks during the trip.

Those riding aboard the April 9 half day excursions can choose between a morning trip to Charlotte or an afternoon trip to Greensboro. These excursions are an ideal opportunity to ride behind big mainline steam without spending a full day onboard.

The Charlotte Special will feature the #611’s first trip to the Queen City since 1994. The train will depart from the museum grounds at 7 a.m. and will travel through the communities of Salisbury, China Grove, Landis, Kannapolis, Concord, and Harrisburg before passing through the Queen City.

Passengers will get views of Charlotte’s skyline before continuing south to the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. This will be a rare opportunity to ride the rails into the new Charlotte intermodal facility built between the runways and under the taxiways of the airport, where the entire train will be turned before returning north. Passengers will not detrain in Charlotte. The train will return to Spencer about noon.

The Piedmont Limited will depart from Spencer at 2 p.m. The train will travel through some of North Carolina’s most well-known furniture and textile producing towns, passing locally famous attractions such as Thomasville’s historic downtown and High Point’s furniture market. In Greensboro, the entire train will be turned before returning south. Passengers will not detrain in Greensboro. The return to the N.C. Transportation Museum is planned for 7 p.m.

Standard Coach seating is $119 per person while Deluxe Coach seating is $149 per person. Both options include a complimentary snack.

Parlor Class seating is $189 per person aboard a private rail car, while Dome Class seating is $259 per person and features a glass topped rail car for panoramic views. Both options include hors d’oeuvres, soft drinks and coffee.

Chairman Class seating is the most elegant option, for $399 per person. This features hot meals, hors d’oeuvres and soft drinks.

Full details regarding these trips can be found at nctrans.org. Tickets may be purchased online, or by calling 1-844-613-0611.