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“No. 765 Thrills Again”

By October 28, 2013January 31st, 2015News, Press Coverage

Press coverage of steam locomotive no. 765 in her hometown was at an all-time high during the Wabash Cannonball trips, with multiple newspapers and television stations covering the historic journey of the locomotive and train.

The locomotive appeared on the front page Fort Wayne’s two local newspapers, a daily paper in neighboring Auburn, Indiana, and each major television news station spent time spreading the news of the sell-out excursion train, and covered the impact of the train on its passengers and in the towns near the route. For links to stories and videos, read on.

The Journal Gazette’s front page story took visitors on a trip aboard Saturday’s run with great photos and video  aboard the locomotive and train from photographers Chad Ryan and Cathie Rowand, and this article interviewing passengers and crew by Rosa Rodriguez. The Journal Gazette’s Frank Gray also covered the sell-out response to our trips last September here.

No. 765 THRILLS AGAIN. All along the track to Lafayette, onlookers by the hundreds wave at the train from their SUVs, or pause on top of their tractors or combines and stare. People snap pictures from cameras mounted on tripods set up at the end of one-lane gravel lanes and stand at a depot with cellphones raised as the 14-wheeled chugging monster of an engine, all 400 tons of it, passes and then lets out a series of long, low-pitched whistles crossing the Wabash River in Logansport.

In a first, local NPR affiliate WBOI’s Virginia Alvino was aboard the train and recorded musician Fernando Tarango, a local musician the society hired to entertain passengers. To listen, click here.


The band played on, for 15 cars. INFortWayne’s photo gallery tells the story from on board.

WANE 15’s Alyssa Ivanson previewed the 765 being prepared for the trips on Friday. Watch their video here.

TRAIN RIDE BRINGS HISTORY ALIVE. This weekend’s trip is the last event for the 765 this year. Earlier in the year, it took trips in Maine, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Those attracted riders from across the United States, Canada and even Argentina.
“Trains have an innate appeal to everybody, especially kids because they are so big, so loud and so larger than life. [The historical society] exists to operate this machine to inspire, educate and entertain people.”
The 765 and the Nickel Plate Railroad are a big part of Fort Wayne’s history. They hope they will also be a part of the city’s future through the proposed Headwaters Junction plan. It’s a concept that would include the locomotive in downtown riverfront development efforts.
“We want to take this Polar Express and give it a home downtown where the success and magnetism and attraction of the locomotive can be experienced year-round along the riverfront.”

Indiana’s News Center took the opportunity to cover how the success of this excursion may influence passenger rail development out of the city with their story, complete with the correct photo of a Wabash Railroad passenger engine here.

The News-Sentinel created an interactive online map with their story denoting railroad crossing intersections along the route where folks could see the train, resulting in significant crowds outside Fort Wayne.

STEAM ENGINE NO. 765 READY TO ROLL. The railroad historical society has used Engine No. 765 to pull excursion trains over the years, including hauling more than 7,000 Norfolk Southern railroad employees last year as part of that company’s 40th anniversary celebration. For various reasons, the last excursions from Fort Wayne took place in 1993.
The rail society calls the trips this weekend the Wabash Cannonball, which was a train the Wabash Railroad operated from 1949 to 1971 between St. Louis and Detroit. The Cannonball stopped in Fort Wayne near Grand Street, a short street between Calhoun and Harrison streets just south of the railroad tracks south of Baker Street. It also stopped in Lafayette.


The News-Sentinel also covered the event Sunday, posting a video of the 765’s departure from Fort Wayne and interviews with passengers before boarding.

High above the tracks on Edsall Avenue in southeast Fort Wayne local photo enthusiasts lined up with their tripods ready; it’s not every day these guys get to shoot a real Wabash Cannonball steam locomotive. Most of the crowd had been there Saturday morning as well and warned that the bridge shakes when the train thunders under. And thunder it did. The wooden deck on the old bridge vibrated and for an instant a cloud of locomotive-generated steam enveloped the train watchers. And then with a kiss of cold mist to the cheek the vapor cleared and the train vanished down the track.

INFortWayne online magazine rode Saturday’s trip and posted their own photo essay here.


In another first, local Fox affiliate’s Tara Petitt visited the boarding site early Saturday morning and shot this news story.

Local bloggers Steve Franks and Nicole Rose blogged about their experiences on board the train.

Local podcast Fort Wayne Speaks has recorded an hour-long podcast aboard the train, featuring interviews with passengers and crew. Listen to it here.

Lafayette news outlets WLFI and Fox 28 also carried local coverage.