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“The Engine That Still Can”

By | News, Press Coverage

“Train Buffs Bring Special Locomotive to Town” – St. Louis Disptach
September 9th, 2012

The volunteers who move the Nickel Plate Road No. 765 steam engine conduct a 400-ton symphony on rails. On Saturday morning, it was that whistle that alerted Kyle Timmerman, 21, of Pacific, that the 765 was approaching the Missouri River. He heard it before he saw the plume of white smoke on the horizon.

“Historic Train Stops in Attica; Steam Engine Gets Premier Service” – WLFI 18
September 5th, 2012

“Historic Steam Engine Rumbles Across Western Pennsylvania Rails” – TribLive
August 20th, 2012

“I said, ‘That’s not a diesel. That’s a locomotive coming,’ ” said Pettko, 41, of Mt. Lebanon. “That was something special.”

Taylor saw the black smoke and white steam of the No. 765 as it passed through Pittsburgh last week on its way to Harrisburg.

His wife tracked its progress through the website for the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Railroad Historical Society, which owns the mainline engine, to make sure the family did not miss its return.

The family last year visited the Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton.

“But this had more novelty,” said Taylor. “It’s not every day that a steam engine passes through your neighborhood.”

“Steam Engine Chugs Through Galitzen” – Tribune Democrat
August 20th, 2012

Railroad enthusiasts lining the tracks included lots of elementary school-age boys and girls and even more older fellows who recalled the days when a steam train, especially through this area, was a way of life.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. You may not ever see it again,” said Bob Freidhoff, a Vinco native now living in Pittsburgh.

“Steam Engine Passing through Altoona” – Altoona Mirror
August 18th, 2012

“Past to Make Whistle Stop as Steam Train Returns to Pittsburgh” – TribLive
August 16th, 2012

“It’s in first-class shape,” said Bruce Manwiller, 65, of Beaver Falls, a member of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, who chased the engine last week from Ohio to Altoona. “It’s always put on a good show. It’s always been a dependable machine.”

“Spectators Great Train on Trip Through Altoona” – Altoona Mirror
August 14th, 2012

“Chasing History” – Altoona Mirror
August 21st, 2012

Residents from all over had been peppering the newsroom with calls about when to expect the engine, which was “deadheading” to Pittsburgh after weekend excursions in Harrisburg. The interest was intense.

“Train Spotters Thrilled by Historic Steam Locomotive” – WHPTV 21 News
August 20th, 2012

“Dozens Gather to See Piece of Region’s Railroad History” – Toledo Blade
July 29th, 2012

Locals and out-of-towners from gathering along the tracks, many with cameras and video tripods, to watch and hear the steam engine and wave at its passengers as it proceeded on its journey.

For some, Saturday’s viewing was a chance encounter. Erin Steinhurst of Toledo happened to see the train while running errands in Maumee, and went to the Miami Street bridge to show her father the train because she “had never seen anything like it before.”

Trig Simon of Toledo saw Saturday’s crowd gathered on the bridge’s sidewalk and stopped after deciding there must be something worth seeing.

“It’s about the nostalgia and the history behind Toledo and its railroad heyday, and remembering what Toledo used to be as a railroad town,” Mr. Rude said.

Mr. Gorshoff said he thought the steam engine’s trip through Toledo would energize the city.

“I couldn’t believe it at first,” he said of hearing that the train would pass through Toledo. “I think it’s really going to give Toledo a shot in the arm — I think Toledo needs a lot of this.”

“Lima-built Steam Locomotive to Return to Area for Special Trips” – Toledo Blade
July 16th, 2012

“Steaming with Excitement” – Fostoria Review Times
July 17th, 2012

FRPS board member Ellen Gatrell said the occasion would boost the city’s rail tourism.

“It’s another reason to come by the tracks and watch trains,” Gatrell said. “When that steam train whistle goes off, you’re going to be able to hear it from all over.”

 

 

Steam Driven Giant a Blast from the Past

By | News, Press Coverage

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.

“It’s just something out of a movie for a lot of people,” 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.

“What this locomotive represents is what Fort Wayne did for over a century — we built locomotives, passenger cars and freight cars here,” 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.

Hands-on Experience

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.

“What we have is more of a restoration shop now than a museum,” 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.

“The key to making people care about this stuff is to operate it,” he said.

Read the entire article online here.

Old Locomotive Chugs to Life

By | News, Press Coverage

As Engine No. 765 belched a plume of black, soot-laden smoke into the clear October sky, 6-year-old Levi Jones’ eyes widened and a big grin spread across his face.

“That was neat,” he said, staring at the massive black machine parked not 15 feet from him.

The old, and beautifully restored, steam engine was on display Saturday at the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society’s TrainTown in rural New Haven. As society members and railroad aficionados stood around in the cold air and watched, children clambered up and down the steps into the engine’s cabin or climbed into the second story of the old caboose in the workshop.

The open house marked the end of the first successful season in 16 years for the classic train, which was taken off the line for a painstaking and expensive restoration, one of the most complete rebuilds of its type, said Kelly Lynch, communications manager for the railroad society.

For Levi’s grandfather, Harry Jones, the train brings back memories of his childhood in Richmond – taking a trip with his Cub Scout pack to catch a game at Wrigley Field in Chicago and going with his father to take the mail to the train station, where it was sorted.

“I remember seeing the train come in,” he said. “The ground just shook.”

No. 765 wasn’t shaking the ground much Saturday afternoon, but as it sat there, looking almost alive with the steam bellowing out from underneath it and its whistle occasionally piercing the air, it garnered most of the visitors’ attention.

In the steam engine world, No. 765 is a celebrity, one of the first of its type to be rebuilt and go out on passenger excursions in the 1980s, Lynch said.
Until earlier this year, the engine hadn’t pulled passenger cars since 1993.

Built in 1944 at the Lima Locomotive Works, the Berkshire-type steam engine weighs 404 tons and stands 15 feet high.

For more than a decade, the train sat in a Fort Wayne park, rusting in the rain. In the early 1970s, restoration work began.

In the early 1980s, No. 765 traveled through the Midwest and the East Coast as an excursion train. It was again retired in the early 1990s and rebuilt to its 1944 specifications, according to the historical society.

This past Memorial Day, the engine began the second phase of its career as an excursion train, and its return to New Haven this week marked the end of the season.

Society volunteers have some upgrades planned for the old engine over the winter, Lynch said. And the plan is to continue to run it as long as they can and as long as it can earn its keep.

Coal costs about $120 a ton, and the engine uses its capacity of 22 tons to go about 150 to 200 miles, pulling the coal into its firebox using an auger under the cabin, Lynch said.

It can cost about $4,000 to $8,000 a day to operate it, not counting insurance and other costs, he said.

The more mundane maintenance of the engine was lost on Levi Jones and his siblings as they stood next to No. 765, clearly awed by the monster machine.
“I like it when it rains on me,” said 4-year-old Natalie Jones, her blue hood dotted with the soot from the steam, the remains of a day spent with the train.

Click here to read the original article online.