Fire Up 611 Fund Gets Boost - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Fire Up 611 Fund Gets Boost

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Support is growing for plans to renovate the old 611 locomotive at the Transportation Museum of Virginia.

In its heyday, the 611 locomotive was capable of speeds over 100 miles an hour, making it one of the most powerful locomotives ever.

Though it will never travel at those speeds in the future, the museum is raising $5 million to get it running again, and to build a structure to protect it from the elements.

The museum announced Monday it has received a $15,000 grant from the Tom E. Dailey fund, which follows on the heels a $25,000 grant from the Candelaria fund in San Francisco.

It's just the latest out-of-town support for the Fire up 611 project.

"This is an engine that's been beloved since the 1940s. People remember it. People have stories, photographs of it, models of it, and it's been a brand name and a much beloved icon from around the world sine the 1940s," said Development Director Fran Ferguson. "We have had a few donations from the Roanoke Valley, [and] hundreds and hundreds from other parts of Virginia, from 40 other states, and seven foreign countries."

The museum is trying to raise $3.5 million by the end of October to begin repairs on the 611, with the hopes of having it running by next year.

Business is good at the museum; Fran says the number of visitors is up by about 30 percent this year.