The crowds trackside were unreal and only increased the nearer we got to Roanoke which remains proud of their steam locomotive heritage. I would imagine that the reaction is catching the attention of the higher-ups at Norfolk Southern!
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From: Kevin Gilliam <email@example.com>
Sent: Monday, June 25, 2012 2:14 PM
Subject: RE: [Tweetsie] 630 spotted
From: mailto:Tweetsie%40yahoogroups.com [mailto:mailto:Tweetsie%40yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of David Pressley
Sent: Monday, June 25, 2012 7:16 AM
Subject: Re: [Tweetsie] 630 spotted
There are other intangibles - in the last 18 years I had gradually forgotten just how much fun a good, ole-fashioned (Norfolk) Southern steam excursion could be. There were lot's of railfans chasing us with much better (or at least much smaller better) camera equipment than what we had in 1994. We created lot's of traffic jams as many motorists tried to pace the locomotive. The stunned looks of local citizens in who had no idea a steam locomotive was coming as we whistled through their backyards or past their church parking lots...... it was all too much fun.
I found that out last fall when they were running in Tennessee. Been a long time since riding on a steam excursion, and it was a lot of fun. Mom, Dad, kids, grandparents, and a bunch of railfans just going out and seeing the countryside for the day.
As far as traffic was concerned, I'd conservatively estimate the chase pack between 50-70 cars going north out of Winston up 311. I'd been wondering the past few weekends where all the railfans were. They showed up yesterday. I missed it by running ahead, but apparently the entire town of Basset, VA turned out to see the steam train. They were on both sides of the tracks in lawn chairs. From a friend, it looked like the county fair. A similar scene happened also in Boones Mill, VA where it appeared the whole turn turned up at the depot to see the 630 come by.
If nothing else, Norfolk Southern is getting a tremendous amount of positive PR out of this whole thing.