Skip to main content

Listen for the Whistle: Now Available

By News, video

From a city park in Fort Wayne, Indiana to the world-famous Horseshoe Curve, ride along with the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society and its incredible time machine as it inspires and educates thousands throughout the Midwest.

Created from over 4,000 hours of footage from 42 years of railroad preservation, LISTEN FOR THE WHISTLE is the first installment in a new series of videos from the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, featuring exclusive on-board and behind-the-scenes access to steam locomotive no. 765.

[imic_button colour=”btn-primary” type=”enabled” link=”” target=”_blank” extraclass=”” size=””]Buy now on DVD, Blu-Ray, and CD[/imic_button]

“This is not just another train video,” said Bill Otter, president of the railroad historical society. “This is a multimedia experience for train and history lovers, but especially those with a connection to the 765.”

Produced in part with a grant from the Dailey Foundation, LISTEN FOR THE WHISTLE takes viewers through the history of the 765, starting with its construction in 1944, the railroad elevation project that sealed the engine’s fate, the 765’s original restoration in the 1970s, and its dramatic climb over Horseshoe Curve in 2012. With never-before-seen footage of the 765’s original restoration, to on-board cameras and interviews with the 765’s crew, LISTEN FOR THE WHISTLE is one of the most modern and in-depth films ever produced on a steam locomotive.

“The story of the 765 is incredibly compelling,” explained Kelly Lynch, Communications Director for the society and the film’s director. “It’s about a force that continues to weave through so many lives each year, exiting and enriching thousands along the way. This project is just a glimpse at what this theatrical machine is capable of and an example of how we hope to produce more engaging multimedia to help tell this story to a 21st Century audience.”

LISTEN FOR THE WHISTLE also features the railroad historical society’s short film Travel Refreshed and the Blu-Ray edition features 20 extra minutes of behind the scenes footage from the 765’s first moves in 1979.

In addition, the railroad historical society is offering a brand-new audio project CD entitled LISTEN FOR THE WHISTLE: THE SOUNDTRACK. Available on CD or digital download, it features over 40 minutes of historic steam locomotive sounds and original songs about steam locomotive no. 765. Using audio of the 765 and vintage whistles from long-scrapped locomotives, the sounds of a historic era in railroading come back to life.

Travel Refreshed

By News, video

To celebrate the upcoming release of Listen for the Whistle, we’re premiering Travel Refreshed, a special short film that brings a classic, vintage advertisement to life with the power of the 765.

Travel Refreshed represents an era when the railroad was the country’s icon of industry and innovation; ubiquitous in advertisements as much as they were in daily life as they quarterbacked an entire economy through the Great Depression, two wars, and into the present day.

The drink that keeps you feeling fitLike many companies during the railroad’s golden era, Coca-Cola often used railroad iconography in their advertising.

Travel Refreshed is what is called a speculative or “spec” project — which is to say, it’s not a real commercial. It’s a platform for an idea that this machine is capable of more than what her creators in 1944 intended. She is our goodwill ambassador and we’d welcome support from a corporate sponsor to help share the magic of this machine even further.

Sit back and listen for the whistle through your bedroom window and enjoy like so many still do, not only a pause that refreshes, but one that inspires.

If you’d like to support these incredible sights and sounds, consider joining as a member or making a donation.

Special thanks to the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum, Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, and Lynchpin Creative for their assistance in filming.

Click here for our behind the scenes photos on Flickr and learn more about the making of it here.


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.

Legacy Fort Wayne Calls Railroad, Riverfront Idea “Bold, Transformative”

By Headwaters Junction, News, Press Coverage, Projects, video

FORT WAYNE, INDIANA – Legacy Fort Wayne, a program of community investment started by Mayor Tom Henry, released its official recommendation for the initial use of up to $20 million in Legacy funds, naming the Headwaters Junction proposal as “big, bold, and transformative” and an idea that “should not be overlooked when developing a vision for our riverfront.” Community officials submitted their recommendations to city council, which approved funding for a riverfront wide feasibility study in December.

Headwaters Junction is a mixed use gateway and downtown attraction concept combining river, rail, and trail development on what is known locally as the North River property and the surrounding areas. Key to the enterprise is city steam locomotive no. 765, at one time a city monument on display in Lawton Park that was restored to operation in 1979 after being preserved by the City of Fort Wayne in 1963.

Headwaters Junction proposes including the train, which experiences anywhere from 900-3,000 people a day when it operates, as part of an attraction with annual programming and events that include dinner and tourist trains operating between area attractions and on regional excursions. In addition, the proposal suggests construction of a multi-use interpretive center that includes park and green space, mixed use components, and a for-profit short line railroad that serves area businesses. The Junction would provide the the anchor to commercial, educational, and recreational actives near downtown, tying into river and trail development, and create the “vibrant, regional attraction” recommended by 2007’s North River Now and 2005’s BluePrint Plus community plans.

Read More

765 Test Runs

By video

After a 12 year absence, the 765 is unleashed on the mainline in a series of break-in runs after an exhaustive five year rebuilding.