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Queen of the Fleet N&W 611 DVD
 4.3 of 5 (3)

Queen of the Fleet N&W 611 DVD Hopewell Productions HV-611
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Note: Cover image may differ from actual product

This is the story of the rebirth of Norfolk & Western "J" class 4-8-4 steam engine No 611.

You'll follow her from her birthplace, Roanoke, Virginia, all the way to Fort Wayne, Indiana. Exciting runbys, aerial shots and some 75 mph pacing scenes highlight this program.

A great story about a locomotive that will probably never run again.

52 minutes

TVD Price:$ 13.49
List Price:$ 14.95
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DVD Item#:HV-611
Runtime:52 Mins ($0.26/min)
Producer:Hopewell Productions
Aspect Ratio:Full Screen
Shrink Wrapped?:Yes
Disc Type:DVD
Region Code:0 Worldwide NTSC

  • This producer has been known to change the cover design, so the cover image you see here may differ from the actual product.
Queen of the Fleet N&W 611 DVD
Darrell (Lowellville, Ohio) on 2013-07-01 16:45:58.

People who found this review helpful: 4

  •  4 of 5

Great video. great sights and sounds. picture quaility is a good as can be expected from 30 year old video

Additional remarks by Darrell:
Narration: Just enough.
Would kids enjoy this? Maybe.
Image quality: Good.
DVD Value: Good Value
Recommend to others? Definitely.

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Queen of the Fleet N&W 611 DVD
MP_37 (Southeastern US) on 2015-02-08 15:21:39.

People who found this review helpful: 3

  •  4 of 5

This is a super fun to watch video of the N&W J-class #611 in it's early in its excursion era career. As in other Hopewell videos of the early 80s, the video quality is surprisingly good. They must have sprung for the best camera you could get then.

What we see here is a travelogue of a very energetic and thorough chase of several excursions and ferry moves, as enthusiastic narration fills us in on various details; informative, often humorous but not obstrusive. What I really like about this is that being filmed in 1982/1983, this was before the era of the RR imposed 40 mph limit for steam, and so this engine really really struts its stuff, running at 60 mph or more. It was also when the deep steamboat whistle was mounted differently and had more a beautiful, mellow, almost haunting tone to it than it did after its overhaul in 1991 or so.

My favorite part is a long pacing sequence of 611 in western Ohio, with the train doing 75mph plus. This part alone is worth the price of the DVD.

Additional remarks by MP_37:
Narration: Just enough.
Would kids enjoy this? Definitely!
Image quality: Good.
DVD Value: Excellent Value!
Recommend to others? A "Must Have"!

Did you find this review useful?

Queen of the Fleet N&W 611 DVD
Steamboy (Revere MA US) on 2020-05-18 12:20:57.

People who found this review helpful: 2

  •  5 of 5

In this program, it starts with a look at the J itself in Glen Lyn or blue ridge grade during the opening titles, followed by an early morning sunrise at Roanoke as a coal train passes by the N&W Roanoke shops where 611 & 1218 were built. Outside the shops, 611 is being serviced, then there are some black and white photographs from O. Winston Link which includes an interview with the photographer himself. Back outside, the J is leaving Roanoke as it goes not only under the highway bridge, but also the original cantilever signals. Listen to the iconic bell located on the fireman side of the piston valve over the front pilot wheels, as well as the whistle itself. Highballing out of Roanoke, 611 still whistles by the chasers as a repeat from the opening scene is shown. Afterwards, The J is still whistling at Villamont, then it goes under the bridge at Montvale. In Bedford, everyone wanted to get a good look at the restored locomotive itself as 611 makes a nice departure with a whistle show, and goes under the bridge once again. Away from Bedford, the J negotiates a bend at Goode, then it highballs under another pedestrian bridge at Concord. At the since abandoned brick built station in pamplin Virginia, 611 whistles by the depot as it switches tracks. Moments later, it'll have to make a service stop at Crewe. The engineer sure loves to tug on that whistle cord. In early Norfolk southern years, there are some early diesels from The N&W. The volunteer fire department helps out with the water, while the team has to get some repairs done. Everyone wanted to get a good look at the locomotive itself. With service completed, the eastbound trip resumes, as a highway sign with a reference number on the J is shown as the 4-8-4 goes under the county road overpass. Moments later, 611 negotiates the bends at Sutherland, whistles for the crossing off screen, and passes by the brick built station in Waverly. Some people are chatting off screen as 611 passes by the Chesapeake yard. At last, the J has arrived in Norfolk as there were crowds of people looking at this unique piece of machinery itself, even the local news from channels 10 & 13.

On the return trip the following day, a pair of U-Boats pull the special back to Roanoke due to 611 never turning around because of the removal of the turntable and the sharpness of the balloon loop. A 3 unit diesel powered freight is shown as the special makes a meet. Next, the U-Boats are negotiating an S curve in mountaway Virginia.

The Next day finds 611 on an excursion from Roanoke to Alexandria via Lynchburg. North of Lynchburg, the J crosses over the James river trestle bridge. At red hill, 611 whistles under the signals and climbs uphill at the same time. Again, listen to the whistle. From here it transforms from single track to double track. A small house sits next to tracks in Montpelier as 611 whistles by. This is the location where Canadian Pacific royal hudson 2839 passes by the same location on the return trip in 1979. You can barely see the coaling tower in the background as 611 goes under the pedestrian bridge at nokesville.

On another trip, the J is crossing over the james river viaduct. In Petersburg, 611 makes a meet with A 3 unit freight as the lead unit is longhood forward. With the caboose of the mixed freight out of the way, 611 whistles through the crossing. At Nottoway, the J negotiates an S curve, followed by a quick going away shot from the pedestrian bridge. Still roaring at top speed, 611 passes through pamplin city with the brick built station. Next we are at Lynchburg as the J goes over different bridges and also cross the highway at the same time. We're back at 611's home base in Roanoke as some small crowds welcome the J back home. With service completed, 611 heads west to Bluefield as it goes through The tunnel at Montgomery. Another tunnel is shown, this time it's at Pembroke. There are 2 camera crews: one inside the tunnel, and another is at the western portal. Moments later, the J whistles at the narrows. At sunset, 611 is whistling in Oakvale as it approaches the crossing and also for its assigned destination: Bluefield. It's less than 2 hours before midnight as 611 arrives at Bluefield.

The following day, we are at Cooper West Virginia (one of Greg Scholl's favorite N&W locations) as a trio of helpers with one diesel from The union Pacific pushed a downhill coal train before 611 leaves the tunnel and crosses over the bridge on the 1.6% grade. The destination: Portsmouth ohio. Another tunnel is shown along the way, this time it's at roderfield. A coal train is on the middle track as 611 is passing through The Ieager West yard limits. Another coal train is shown during the panning sequence. Yet another tunnel and bridge scene is shown this time it's at sprigg. During the Bluefield to Portsmouth trip, note the gondola between the coaches. Next it picks up speed at Goodman. Still blowing on the whistle, the J is at Crum. West of the previous scene, 611 whistles under 2 bridges and passes by some maintenance of way equipment like the burro crane for example, concluding the Bluefield to Portsmouth chase.

The following day, 611 is being serviced in the fog as everyone wanted to get a good look at the J itself. The day long chase would be from Portsmouth to Columbus, Bellevue, & Sandusky. On the way north, 611 crosses over Johnson's bridge. A slow order was made at circleville as the J whistles by the power plant. Next, it passes by the state fair grounds at Columbus and crawls to a stop. Cars and buses are parked as people wanted to see the J arrive. Afterwards, 611 whistles through Cooke road. Which includes an extreme close up look at the bullet nosed beauty herself. At the hot spot of Marion Ohio, the J passes by the A.C. Tower. Today the double track diamond is an all freight only location with Norfolk southern and CSX. All of the people wanted to witness the J whistle by while taking slow orders. As the camera zooms out, note the helicopter in the sky. At last, 611 arrives at Bellevue where it'll be serviced and turned West to Sandusky. A mention of NKP 765 is heard which is obviously the engine that is operated by the narrator of this program himself: Rich Melvin. Some automobiles ignored the safety whistle on the J as the locomotive itself is getting some preparations ready for the 60 mph trip West to Sandusky. The engineer for the Bellevue to Sandusky trip is W. Graham Claytor. As soon as the crossings are cleared, the highball will be given. Not only are people interested in trains, but sometimes on rare occasions, the dogs get frightened by the noise. The sun is setting as 611 is at a top speed for 60 mph as it roars down the line from Acadia Ohio to fort Wayne Indiana. Here's an example at McCoon ohio. At the hot spot of Leipsic ohio, there are slow orders while 611 crosses the diamond. A passenger stop was made at continental in milepost 883. From here, it's all green signals to fort Wayne. The J performs a nice whistle show as the sun is starting to set. Afterwards, there is a really great pacing sequence with Mr. Claytor notching on the throttle & tugging on the whistle. This is the fastest speed that 611 has ever encountered: 60 to 75 miles per hour. The
With pacing completed, the J has uncoupled her coaches at fort Wayne as it approaches the east Wayne yard.

This scene not only concludes the main program, but there is also a bonus epilogue: while 611 is being serviced in Bellevue for the trip back to roanoke, 765 is on the turntable as the lima ohio built Berkshire concluded it's own specials for the 1983 season. A whistle blow from the 765 is shown, and makes a head on shot with the J. Almost a year later, both 611 & 765 would doublehead to Cincinnati for the 1984 NRHS convention, but that's another story on 2 more titles: bridges to buffalo & life begins at 40. With a rare photo session finished, the 1944 built 2-8-4 heads for the roundhouse. Each camera crew was in the cab: one on 611, and another on 765. Some diesel powered freights roll by the Bellevue yard limits. With 765 parked on the storage track, it's 611's turn to take a spin on the turntable. Once spotted, note that 765 is wearing the red mars light as it was used for the 1982 & 1983 seasons.

Today in 2020, it marks the 70th birthday of one of the most iconic steam giants of america: 611.

In the closing credits, 2 crew members from Berkshire productions: Grant G. Geist who later worked on the Ohio central & Anthony M. Picone were the camera operators for this over 35 year old program.

Additional remarks by Steamboy:
Narration: Just enough.
Would kids enjoy this? Definitely!
Image quality: Good.
DVD Value: Excellent Value!
Recommend to others? Definitely.

Did you find this review useful?