Weekend open house celebrates Engine No. 765 and Fort Wayne rail history
By Kevin Kilbane of The News-Sentinel
The thing is a beast.
Fifteen feet tall, more than 400 tons of steel, wheels nearly 6 feet in diameter, and belching smoke and hissing steam while capable of running more than 60 mph.
Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive Engine No. 765 is a monster, but one you can see up close during the Engine 765 Day Weekend Celebration open house 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday through Sunday at the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, 15808 Edgerton Road, east of New Haven.
â€œIt’s just something out of a movie for a lot of people,â€ said Kelly Lynch, the rail society’s communications director.
Admission is free. Rides in a caboose pulled by a historic diesel locomotive are $4 per person.
A Rail Center
Engine No. 765 is an amazing connection to a rich era of Fort Wayne’s history, Lynch said.
â€œWhat this locomotive represents is what Fort Wayne did for over a century â€” we built locomotives, passenger cars and freight cars here,â€ Lynch said.
The rail society keeps it busy during the summer, again pulling excursion and sightseeing trips, he said.
On most of those trips, the engine hauls about 3,000 people a day, Lynch said. They carried a combined total of about 40,000 people during a several-day excursion outing this past July in Rock Island, Ill.
At the Engine No. 765 Day Celebration, visitors will be able to climb up to see the cab where the engineeer and fireman sit to drive the engine, Lynch said. They also may get to blow the engine’s whistle and shovel coal.
â€œWhat we have is more of a restoration shop now than a museum,â€ Lynch said.
But they hope to increase opportunities for people to see and enjoy Engine No. 765 and the society’s other pieces of rail history.
â€œThe key to making people care about this stuff is to operate it,â€ he said.