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A special 1998 edition of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”
Saturday, June 22, 2013
Roanoke, as it turns out, has an obscure railway connection ... to Harry Potter.
Children’s book author and former “What’s On Your Mind?” columnist Tom Angleberger sent us an image of J.K. Rowlings’ first Potter book, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” — titled “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” because it’s a British edition — that appeared to feature a black-and-white photograph of the Norfolk & Western J-Class 611 on its cover. Angleberger wondered if it was a new cover for the mega-bestseller.
Turns out it’s not a new cover, but a special 1998 edition that was marketed to adults, who maybe didn’t want to be seen taking the tube to London with a brightly colored children’s book in their hands.
And it turns out it’s not the 611, but a sister engine, the J-Class 602.
Dave Stephenson, a volunteer archivist for the Norfolk and Western Historical Society, identified the photo as one O. Winston Link took in 1958 as the 602 was rolling through Williamson, W.Va. And of course the 602, like all the other J-Class steam engines, was built in Roanoke. “602 was part of the first batch, ca Nov/Dec 1941,” Stephenson wrote in an email.
So there you have it, Muggles. A steam engine built in Roanoke and photographed by Link once stood in for the train that takes Harry Potter to Hogwarts.
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