Skip to main content

“No. 765 Thrills Again”

By News, 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.

Read More

Historic 765 has money-making power

By Headwaters Junction, News, Press Coverage

The Journal Gazette’s columnist Frank Gray writes in this September 7th piece:

“I wondered, though, how did ticket sales go for the October trips for the city? Usually, tickets for the train’s excursions sell out in a couple of days.

Well, in Fort Wayne, tickets went on sale Sunday and sold out in an hour and a half.

Four hundred people are on a waiting list if more cars are added to the train. Passengers include people from as far away as Florida, Texas and New Jersey. Right now, there’s some talk of running excursions to Chicago and other cities next year.

One inconvenient aspect, though, is that there is no suitable boarding spot in Fort Wayne. For the October excursions, for example, passengers will have to board at the Do it Best headquarters between Fort Wayne and New Haven.

There is a push to establish a home for the train near downtown Fort Wayne, possibly using some of the Legacy money. The train would have access to all possible routes.

The train, after all, is permitted to use all 22,000 miles of Norfolk-Southern track.

The problem is that creating a new base for the train would be expensive, upward of $15 million.

Fort Wayne is always looking for new ideas that will draw people into the city and get them to stay in the hotels and eat in the restaurants and see the sights.

This train is unique, and it’s proved its ability to draw crowds.

“We have an amazing zoo,” Lynch said. The train, he said, is like having the last tyrannosaurus rex and no zoo to put it in.

Young volunteers adopt steam locomotive

By News, Projects, video

The railroad historical society’s youngest volunteers have chosen one of the oldest steam locomotives in the state as their project. Troy Kleman, Bryson Sleppy, and Jerett Godeke talk us through the early stages of cosmetic repair on one of two remaining Wabash Railroad steam locomotives in the world.

Formerly Wabash no. 534 and later Lake Erie & Fort Wayne no. 1, the switch engine spent much of its life in Fort Wayne working the yards and steel mills near Fairfield and Taylor Streets before being put on display in nearby Sweeney Park in 1957. It was donated to the railroad historical society in 1984 and is in the early stages of restoration assessment.

Cosmetic work like wire brushing and needle scaling rust away will aid the volunteers in determining the type of work the locomotive will need. Projects like this enable younger volunteers to take ownership of a project and gain experience in working around railroad equipment.

“400 tons of Americana”

By News, Press Coverage


Stories from our Rocky River and Cleveland area trips and our positioning move to Altoona, Pennsylvania.

“Nickel Plate Railroad engine steams into town, thrilling passengers, onlookers”

Story from West Life Community News:

If not for the cellphones and digital cameras, the scene at the old Rocky River railroad station on Mother’s Day might have been reminiscent of another time.

As during the heyday of the Nickel Plate Railroad, in the 1930s and 1940s passengers mingled with onlookers as they awaited steam locomotive No. 765, pulling the “Nickel Plate Limited” on a 110-mile round trip to Bellevue, Ohio, and back.

According to Beachcliff Market Square marketing manager Bill Brink, one of the passengers, tickets for the excursion, which ran from $99 to $249, sold out within three days. “They started with over 300 and soon had that many on the wait list,” Brink said. More restored cars were added, and the final passenger roster topped 650.

For Bellevue residents Dennis and Angie Ruck, it was a back-and-forth kind of day, as they got up at 5:30 a.m., made the hour-and-a-half trip to Rocky River to ride the train home, then back to Rocky River, where another drive to Bellevue awaited. “We’ve always wanted to take the train,” said Dennis Ruck, adding that this was to be their first trip on a steam engine. He added that he has lived in Bellevue for 18 years and has never visited the Mad River & Nickel Plate Railroad Museum – the destination for the day, where a box lunch would be served.

“That puff of steam is so awe-inspiring,” commented Perrin Vezi, who along with her husband Dave is a veteran train traveler. “The steam engine is so animated,” Dave Vezi commented.

Read More

“A Legacy for Steam Power”

By Headwaters Junction, News, Press Coverage, Projects



No. 765 is a rolling Hollywood production, creating, as Walt Disney called it, “a happening” in every town it travels through. This is no ordinary history lesson. It’s an icon of Midwest industry and innovation. It is Fort Wayne incarnate.

Few cities can claim they have their own train, let alone one with a proven, 30-year following. No. 765 experienced 50,000 visitors from all 50 states and five countries in 16 days alone in 2011. The engine traveled more than 3,000 miles in 2012, where up to 3,000 people daily enjoyed the sights and sounds of our rocket ship on wheels.

But how can the success of this people-magnet help Fort Wayne?

Enter Headwaters Junction, an idea that has been endorsed and supported by a number of neighborhood and civic organizations for several years, thanks in no small part to the power of the train.

Recognized by the Legacy Fort Wayne initiative as a plan with “community support and catalytic potential,” Headwaters Junction is an effort to make mixed-use development along our riverfront unique, entertaining, educational and vibrant with the train.


Saturday’s News Sentinel features an editorial highlighting Headwaters Junction. Click here to read it.