‘That’s a beautiful sound.’ Train enthusiasts line up to blow whistle on ‘Queen of Steam’

Published: Jun. 3, 2023 at 8:05 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Roanoke City welcomed the Queen of Steam back Saturday with open arms.

‘That’s a beautiful sound,” said Landon Gregory.

Gregory worked for the railroad for 37 years and four months before he retired in 1993.

“After I retired, I started volunteering with the excursion runs from here to Norfolk, from here to Petersburg, from here to Richmond, from here to Blue Field, from here to Shenandoah, (and) Winston Salem, North Carolina” explained Gregory. “All the way.

Tourists had the chance to blow the whistle on the 611 steam engine Saturday at the Virginia Museum of Transportation.

“To me, it’s a part of Roanoke heritage. It’s about where we came from as a city and having it back in Roanoke is a part of where we are going,” said Tom Fitzpatrick.

The locomotive was in Pennsylvania for the past four years but returned to Roanoke Friday.

Fitzpatrick rode the 611 in 2015 when during an excursion.

“I am really looking forward to... they’re talking about doing excursions this fall and that would be really wonderful,” added Fitzpatrick.

The transportation museum is discussing bringing steam excursions back to Virginia later this year.