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611 Excursion: The Roanoker


  • Sat, Apr 22, 2017 - Sun, Apr 23, 2017 6:00am-8:00pm

LOCATION: Virginia Museum of Transportation - 303 Norfolk Avenue, SW


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611 Excursion: The Roanoker

This full day round trip follows the old Southern Railway mainline north from Greensboro almost to Altavista where we run over the old Virginia Railway line to Roanoke.

We depart from historic Greensboro, the location of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse during the Revolutionary War. The ride takes us through the heart of North Carolina tobacco country and its beautiful rolling hills. We pass Reidsville where tobacco and furniture were huge industries.

Crossing into Virginia, we pass Danville, tobacco capital of Virginia with its “Bright Leaf” product. Before crossing the Dan River, we ride past Danville’s river district where the old Southern station is home to the Danville Science Center.

After crossing the river, we soon pass the site of the famous “Wreck of the Old 97,” where a train derailed in 1903 as it was crossing the Stillhouse trestle at the base of White Oak Mountain. We’ll then pass the restored Southern Railway depot as you ride through Chatham, home of Chatham Hall and the Hargrave Military Academy.

We turn west at Hurt on the rails built in 1982 to connect the N&W and Southern. Our journey continues on through remote countryside on the tracks of the former Virginian Railway, which has seldom been used for excursions and is a rare treat for our riders. We will follow the old Virginian mainline to Vinton.

Along the way you will see portions of Leesville and Smith Mountain Lakes, built as a pumped storage impoundment project to create electricity for American Electric Power. We turn right at Vinton on the connector to the old N&W and come in just east of Furnace Crossing and the Roanoke Shops.

As we arrive in Roanoke, we’ll pass the famous N&W East End Shops where the 611 and her thirteen sisters were built. During your layover in Roanoke, antique buses from the Commonwealth Coach and Trolley Museum will take you right into the famous City Market where there are many restaurants and shops to visit. The buses will shuttle during your entire time in the Star City, and will be making stops at the Virginia Museum of Transportation—the home of the 611 and other great examples of N&W steam. Take the time to enjoy other Roanoke attractions, such as the O. Winston Link Museum. Enjoy a stroll on the Railwalk along the NS Mainline before reboarding for your return trip to Greensboro.

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