September will mark the return of steam to Norfolk Southern rails as Norfolk Southern Corporation and Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum launch a limited schedule of steam locomotive passenger excursions Labor Day weekend.
The excursion program, "21st Century Steam," will operate two trains each day Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 3 and 4, powered by recently restored Southern Railway Locomotive 630. Launch of the excursion program coincides with TVRM's Railfest commemorating the museum's 50th anniversary.
"For everyone interested in the history and romance of the railroads, the return of steam-powered excursions is like a dream come true," said Norfolk Southern CEO Wick Moorman. "People are fascinated by Norfolk Southern's past and the infinite possibilities for our future in supporting jobs, a clean environment, competition, and the economy." Moorman will be the featured speaker during TVRM's 50th anniversary banquet to be held at the Chattanooga Choo Choo at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 1.
"TVRM is proud to bring steam back to Norfolk Southern. For 50 years, we have provided our guests the opportunity to experience the golden age of passenger travel behind steam. This new venture with Norfolk Southern will extend that opportunity to people throughout their system," said TVRM President Tim Andrews.
Tickets for the inaugural trains at Chattanooga are available through TVRM's website at www.tvrail.com as part of the Railfest package. Future steam excursions will be announced as they are scheduled.
Norfolk Southern has launched a new website at www.21stcenturysteam.com, loaded with information about the excursion program as well as the rich legacy and modern contributions of today's railroads.
The company's band, the Norfolk Southern Lawmen, marks the steam program's debut with a music video performance of an original song, "Rollin' Out Again," written by Briz. The Lawmen will perform the song live during TVRM Railfest appearances at 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 5. The song and video will be available soon on iTunes.
Norfolk Southern and TVRM last year announced plans to launch "21st Century Steam," saying it would highlight milestones in rail history and provide an opportunity for audiences to learn about today's safe and service-oriented freight railroads. In addition to the 630, the program contemplates operation of two additional steam locomotives, Southern Railway 4501 and Tennessee Valley Railroad 610. The 4501 now is being rebuilt in the same TVRM Chattanooga shops where the 630 was restored.
Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum was founded in 1961 in Chattanooga to create an interpretive operating museum of historic equipment and artifacts in an authentic setting. Today it operates an extensive schedule of historic and scenic trains in Southeast Tennessee and Northwest Georgia, supported by its East Chattanooga locomotive and car shop complex. TVRM is the largest operating historical excursion railroad in the Southeast.
Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) is one of the nation's premier transportation companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway subsidiary operates approximately 20,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serves every major container port in the eastern United States, and provides efficient connections to other rail carriers. Norfolk Southern operates the most extensive intermodal network in the East and is a major transporter of coal and industrial products.