Had some time to kill between appointments in Roanoke Monday, so I visited the Virginia Museum of Transportation down by the rail tracks.

My mother and I arrived in Roanoke in 1952 aboard a Norfolk and Western trail pulled by one of the legendary 611 streamlined locomotives (right) after a long train ride and several connections from Tampa, Florida. I remember that steam locomotive well, a belching monsters that both terrified and excited a five-year-old.

Also on display is the huge 1218 locomotive (above), a favorite of railroad photographer O. Winston Link. A visit to the Link museum in the old N&W passenger station is also worth the time.

A gallery dedicated to cars and road travel (below) wasn’t open on my last visit a few years ago but I got a chance to tour it this time around.  In it, you will find vintage cars, billboards even a series of Burma Shave signs.

The Transportation Museum has struggled financially and depends on donations and community support to stay afloat. If you’re in Roanoke, take time to visit. It’s worth the effort.