611: American Icon DVD

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Product Description

611:  American Icon DVD

The Story of the Last Norfolk & Western Class J Steam Locomotive


It takes a lot of effort to chronicle the sixty-six year history of the Norfolk & Western Class J 611. There are so many stories to tell: of her original design and construction at the pinnacle of the steam era; of her restoration to operating condition after sitting cold for decades; and, finally, of her triumphant return to the rails in 2015 to the delight of thousands. The documentary will preserve all the memories that linger in the heart long after the locomotive thunders by, and the steam fades from view.

The Virginia Museum of Transportation has been working on this documentary to tell those stories, and more, since 611’s most recent restoration was announced.

The documentary features rare historic footage and exclusive, close-up views of the mechanical work that were captured only by our camera crews. Interviews with noted authors and historians explain the performance superiority designed into every J, and the remarkable craftsmanship that went into building every one.

“No. 611's rebirth in 2015 was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, a joyous occasion for all of us who love railroads and the American experience. This video captures the essence of the restoration, the history, and the promise of this legendary locomotive.”  —Jim Wrinn, Editor, TRAINS Magazine

Watch 611 roll on, full of power and grace, decade after decade. 611: AMERICAN ICON was shot in 4K and will be available in HD for the very best color and picture quality. Runtime is approximately 75 minutes. Blu-ray and DVD are region free.

611: AMERICAN ICON was made possible by support from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, the Richard Gwathmey and Caroline T. Gwathmey Memorial Trust, and the American Electric Power Foundation.


To order in Blu-ray, please return to product menu on home screen.


  • 5
    A Wonderful Tribute to a Beautiful Work of the Mechanical Arts

    Posted by Edward Engle on 18th Aug 2016

    I am a steam enthusiast, but I think just about anyone would really enjoy this video. The history of Roanoke alone is worth watching, but when I heard that baritone steam whistle, I cried. I will admit it, and I am not ashamed. It's a sound from my youth, and one simply can't hear the like anymore - except for people like those who restored Old 611 to her original glory. God bless them, every one.

  • 5
    She is the Queen of Steam

    Posted by Jeremy on 18th Aug 2016

    I have really enjoyed the information that it has to tell. It has a lot of useful information. It is amazing how the 611 goes together and works. I love to watch it work as it rolls down the tracks.

  • 5
    Lots of good info and pictures

    Posted by Linda on 14th Aug 2016

    So far my husband is very happy with the DVD. He likes the information given, but is also happy that there is not someone talking all of the time. He likes relaxing to the train on the move.

  • 5
    Rebirth of a Magnificent Lady

    Posted by Susan Claessen on 1st Aug 2016

    Excellent video. Some thing for the casual viewer and the enthusiast. This is a well produced video that is both thoughtful and insightful. You won't be disappointed with 611: An American Icon.

  • 5
    Rebirth of a Magnificent Lady

    Posted by Ed Claessen on 1st Aug 2016

    Excellent video. Some thing for the casual viewer and the enthusiast. This is a well produced video that is both thoughtful and insightful. You won't be disappointed with 611: An American Icon.

  • 3
    611 deserves better

    Posted by Vincent Bellafiore on 31st Jul 2016

    Very good explanation of restoration. No "fluff" run-bys padding the video.

    Yet, what is missing is the excitement and understanding from being in the cab while the 611 gets underway, at speed, working up a grade such a Linden Hill on wet track, use of throttle, cut off, injectors, stoker, calling signals, etc.
    Have interviews with cab crew so as to inform us about running such a locomotive. See Rich Melvine / 765 / "Running that New River Train" Melvin and fireman wore small microphones and provided a running commentary. VMT can top that ! Next DVD: "Running the 611" Have more from Scott Lindsey, etc.

  • 5
    Great tribute to an American, Virginian and Roanoke Icon! The 611!

    Posted by Les Stanley on 30th Jul 2016

    The writers did a great job, without getting too technical, in explaining the components of a steam engine. This video tells the story of the latest reconditioning of a steam locomotive that was used to pull up to 15 passenger cars for the Norfolk and Western Railway in the 1950's. There was a delicate dance done by each of the workers who contributed their time and craftsmanship to this project to see it completed on time. The sheer proficiency and skill of those who first built it, those who reconditioned it in the 1980's and now currently doing the painstaking detail required to bring the 611 back to life. They also relished being able to pass their knowledge down to a new generation to carry on their love of steam. The pride I felt in watching this powerful engine pull into Roanoke again and the joy of hearing that low baritone whistle once again was heartwarming. God bless the craftsmen, those who made this project financially possible, and to those who put this great video together! Well done! Fire it up! 611!

  • 5

    Posted by Gary R. Hock on 30th Jul 2016

    This is one of the very best railroad videos I have ever purchased, and I have a few hundred.
    You see and hear the pride of the volunteers who are working on this Locomotive.
    You see and hear the love they have for her.
    I grew up in the 50's and seen the last of steam on the GTW, I lived 1 block from the Port Huron, Michigan yard of GTW.
    The roundhouse was 1/2 mile away from home.
    I can still hear the sound of steam in my mind.
    I loved this video, because I spent 40 years in Heavy Industrial Maintenance as a Journeyman Electrician in a Coal Fired Power Plant.
    Over the years I have been involved in many of the same jobs, working in boilers, and on boiler tubes lapping, and setting safety valves, though my primary job was a Journeyman Electrician.
    We did what had to be done.
    I could relate to the skills employed here.
    Skilled trades in this country is becoming a lost art.
    I believe you have put together the very best locomotive restoration video that I own and I thank all involved for your very fine effort.
    I hope next year to come East to ride behind this beautiful masterpiece of Roanoke Engineering.
    Thank you again for a very fine effort, brought back memories and a few tears.

    Gary R. Hock
    Port Huron, Michigan

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