VMT Announces N&W 611 Restoration Team

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VMT Announces N&W 611 Restoration Team
January 29th, 2014

The Virginia Museum of Transportation and the Fire Up 611 Committee are pleased to announce the mechanical team for the restoration of the Class J 611 Steam Passenger Locomotive. "This is our dream team," said Beverly T. Fitzpatrick, Jr., executive director of the Virginia Museum of Transportation. "The individuals selected know the Class J 611 better than anyone. We are positive that the Class J 611 is in good hands with this incredible team." The Mechanical Team includes people who worked for the Norfolk Southern Steam Department during 611's last excursion runs in the 1990s. "The mechanical team has the experience, knowledge and dedication to bring the Norfolk & Western Class J 611 back to life," said J. Preston Claytor, Fire Up 611! Commitee Chairman.

Douglas S. Karhan -- Chief Mechanical Officer, Emeritus
Doug began his steam locomotive career with volunteer work on the Southern Railway excursion locomotives in the mid-1970s. In 1975, also as a volunteer, he participated in the rebuild of ex - Reading 2101 for the American Freedom Train. Hired by Southern Railway in 1976 as General Foreman - Steam under W. J. Purdie, he was promoted to Master Mechanic - Steam in 1982. Doug retired from Norfolk Southern in 2000. Since retiring, in the winters Doug lends his valuable experience to the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum in the rebuilding of Southern 630 and 4501. During the restoration of 611, Doug will provide advice and counsel to the rebuild team, drawing heavily upon his 20-plus years with the Norfolk Southern Steam Department.

D. Scott Lindsay -- Project Leader and Running Gear Specialist
Scott began his steam career in 1977 with the Chessie Steam Specials. In 1982, Scott joined the NS Steam Department and played a major role in the rebuilding, operation, and maintenance of the N&W J 611, N&W A 1218, Southern 4501, and Savannah & Atlanta 750. Scott traveled with most of the locomotives operated by Norfolk Southern during the 1980s and 90s, returning home to the Birmingham Steam Shop during the off seasons. Scott formed Steam Operations Corporation in 1993 to provide steam mechanical services to museums and tourist railways. Scott will be the project coordinator for 611 and he will lead the mechanical team that will rebuild the locomotive at the North Carolina Transportation Museum.

Robert Yuill -- Boiler Specialist
Bob's steam locomotive career began in 1972 when a group near his hometown in Pennsylvania was restoring a locomotive to operation for mainline excursions. By 1975, Bob was a contractor with a company that was restoring steam locomotives including mechanical work for the Adirondack Railway that operated during the Lake Placid 1980 Winter Olympics. In 1980, Bob headed south to the Southern Railway Steam Department. Robert became General Foreman, a position he held until the end of the program in 1995. As the General Foreman, he saw to the day-to-day repairs on the fleet of locomotives. He performed all the purchasing of materials and supplies, scheduled maintenance work, and as time allowed, spent time on the floor machining or doing boiler work . He also was responsible for the design work of new parts from drawing board to machine shop. In 1996, Bob struck out on his own forming Historic Machinery Services Corporation (HMS) and built a dedicated facility. Repair, restoration and conservation services are provided to railroads specializing in steam locomotives as well as museums and individuals with a need for detailed period restoration for specialized equipment and industrial machinery. HMS can fabricate, machine, and in some cases hot forge required components in-house when parts are otherwise not readily available. HMS has performed over a dozen boiler inspections/surveys as required by the new Federal Railroad Administration rules for testing and inspecting steam locomotives.

Robert Saxtan -- Safety Appliance, Airbrake & Support Systems Specialist
Bob began his steam experience with the Steam Locomotive Corporation of America in 1978 and joined the NS Steam Department in 1982. Bob was promoted to Assistant Road Foreman of Engines Steam in 1985, taking full responsibility as System General Road Foreman of Engines Steam in 1987 when Frank Collins retired. Bob was one of the regularly assigned locomotive engineers for NS, and closed the throttle for what was thought to be the final time in December of 1994. Following the closure of the Steam Department in 1995, Bob transferred to the NS Operating Department. Currently he is Senior General Foreman for NS, where he acts as the liaison between operators and NS aboard 21st Century Steam trips.

--Railfan & Railroad via Virginia Museum of Transportation

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