Nickel Plate 765 May 18, 2013

My wife and I traveled to Altoona to see and photograph 765 on Saturday. The employee only excursions departed Altoona 10:30 and 2:30. We were at the Altoona station and Horseshoe Curve, 765 was truly awesome to see. The weather called for showers starting around 1:00 pm, that never happened. We watched the 765 depart Altoona at 2:30 then headed home for the 4 1/2 hour ride. I will post video on Youtube later.

The only downer was at Horseshoe Curve, normal charge for entrance to the curve is $6.25. I thought that was a little much, we went to pay then was told that today is Special Event Day the charge is $20.00 PER PERSON! It cost $40.00 plus TAX to see the curve. WHAT A RIP!!

I will not allow that to spoil a great trip for my wife and I, we had a wonderful time and 765 is fantastic to see.

 

Bob

 

 

Original Post

My family and I were there also to see the NKP.  I was more than alittle upset at the $20 per person price.  I understand they have to bring money in to keep the place going but tripling the normal price was IMO excessive.  Later we found out we could get a yearly pass for what we had already paid so that made it alittle better.  For us its less than a 2 hour drive so we will get our moneys worth.  The problem is if you live farther away it doesn't help much that you could get the yearly pass.  On to better things the NKP was unbelievable seeing and listening to that baby going around the curve.  WOW is all I can say. 

I just got home from todays trip. Even had a little wheel slip that was corrected as quick as it happened. Nice to see it back. Not to many at the curve today , My dad who is 74 was as excited as I have ever seen him, Well worth the 20 bucks that I am sure will go to good use.

 

"Assuming" the FWRHS sees at least some of the money you spent its well worth it.

 

Yes,at first consideration it seems like alot of money to watch a train go by. IMO, given the thousands of volunteer hours that have gone into restoring,rebuilding, maintaining, and operating 765 a couple $20's isn't too much to ask.

 

Rich and others can clarify, but I don't think anybody on the crew sees a dime for themselves,keeping that locomotive operating is no small task, and they do it because they want to.

" No matter how far we travel, the memories will follow in the baggage car."

the fwrhs likely doesnt see any of the money  "the curve" takes in for admission. the 765 expenses are paid by N.S. for use of pulling their train. whether the admission fees are put to good use would warrent its own topic.maybe they can get the trees andbrush cleared away  from the curve view.....like it should be.-jim

    Jim

Originally Posted by MLAT:

My family and I were there also to see the NKP.  I was more than alittle upset at the $20 per person price.  I understand they have to bring money in to keep the place going but tripling the normal price was IMO excessive.  Later we found out we could get a yearly pass for what we had already paid so that made it alittle better.  For us its less than a 2 hour drive so we will get our moneys worth.  The problem is if you live farther away it doesn't help much that you could get the yearly pass.  On to better things the NKP was unbelievable seeing and listening to that baby going around the curve.  WOW is all I can say. 

 

 

What a nice way to spend your Birthday!!! Happy Birthday Mike !!! 

Running CN, GTW & Santa Fe Power...Reg April 09,2006

 

 

The 765 crew does not get any of the money collected at the Horseshoe Curve visitors center.

 

On Sunday afternoon FWRHS PR guy and 765 fireman Kelly Lynch and I chose to go to the curve to see the 765 go by. Even though we were in uniform and I specifially asked if the $20 fee also applied to locomotive crew, it still cost us $20 each for the privilege. The negative word-of-mouth from this bad business decision will do more harm to the museum than the benefit derived from the meager extra dollars they collected this weekend.

Rich Melvin

That's what they charged last year.  I didn't mind it because of the event and figured if the money goes to the museum, that's ok.  It is a downer to hear they are doing it again this year... specially when you see how small the crowds were.  I am hoping to go next weekend if I can get away for the three hour drive.  I agree Rich, it is bad press for them at this point.

Nonetheless had a great day riding and chasing Lehigh Valley Coal Co. 126 at the Walkersville and Southern today.  Riding up front in the open car behind the engine might as well be a cab ride.  Highly recommended.
 
 
Lehigh Valley Coal Co 126 at Walkersville
 
 
Bob
 
Originally Posted by OGR Webmaster:

The 765 crew does not get any of the money collected at the Horseshoe Curve visitors center.

 

On Sunday afternoon FWRHS PR guy and 765 fireman Kelly Lynch and I chose to go to the curve to see the 765 go by. Even though we were in uniform and I specifially asked if the $20 fee also applied to locomotive crew, it still cost us $20 each for the privilege. The negative word-of-mouth from this bad business decision will do more harm to the museum than the benefit derived from the meager extra dollars they collected this weekend.

Originally Posted by OGR Webmaster:

On Sunday afternoon FWRHS PR guy and 765 fireman Kelly Lynch and I chose to go to the curve to see the 765 go by. Even though we were in uniform and I specifially asked if the $20 fee also applied to locomotive crew, it still cost us $20 each for the privilege.

What a sad story.

Doc

One of the other reasons for small crowds at the curve is because it is not a very good photo location any more. Mother Nature has continued her relentless growth of the trees and foliage in the area, with the  result that you really can't SEE the trains there very well any more. There is a good viewing angle of perhaps 90 to 110 degrees at the apex of the curve. Many years ago, before the growth of the foliage, the viewing angle exceeded 220 degrees.

 

Today the really GOOD spot for photos is just west of the curve, on the hillside north of the tracks. This seems to be where the "serious" photographers are going. While there is no charge to shoot here, it requires quite a hike to get in there. You get a really nice view of the curve from here, as you can see in this well-done video by OGR Forum Member Dave Slie.

 

 

By the way, the lifting of the first pop valve (there are three) as she went around the curve was done on purpose. Engineer Gary Bensman and Fireman Steve Winicker planned to do this. You'll notice that Steve hazed up the stack a little (made some smoke) as the engine first comes into sight. And a few seconds later the additional heat from the extra coal he put in the firebox does its job and lifts the first pop valve.

 

Nicely done.

Rich Melvin

Originally Posted by OGR Webmaster:

The 765 crew does not get any of the money collected at the Horseshoe Curve visitors center.

 

On Sunday afternoon FWRHS PR guy and 765 fireman Kelly Lynch and I chose to go to the curve to see the 765 go by. Even though we were in uniform and I specifially asked if the $20 fee also applied to locomotive crew, it still cost us $20 each for the privilege. The negative word-of-mouth from this bad business decision will do more harm to the museum than the benefit derived from the meager extra dollars they collected this weekend.

Isn't it interesting that the Altoona Railroader's Museum charges a MUCH higher rate to "view" at the curve, JUST because the 765 is in town. Yet, not a single dollar is donated to the FWRHS for all THEIR efforts!

 

Obviously I will NEVER visit THEM!

Originally Posted by bluecometk:

Hey Rich, that’s a great video! The 765 was really getting the job done, the crew had her rung up!

Was the heritage unit helping at all. From my uneducated ear it sounded like it was off idle?

 

they were using the diesel both days.  765 wouldn't be able to maintain that speed with that train on the grade without help.  Obviously, 765 was still putting on a good show even with the help.

Originally Posted by OGR Webmaster:

 

Today the really GOOD spot for photos is just west of the curve, on the hillside north of the tracks. This seems to be where the "serious" photographers are going. While there is no charge to shoot here, it requires quite a hike to get in there. You get a really nice view of the curve from here, as you can see in this well-done video by OGR Forum Member Dave Slie.

 

 

That hike isn't for the faint of heart, and it's very limited in the amount of people you can fit in there, but it IS a very nice view.  It's a much more difficult hike if you can't find the trail and go up the opposite slope up to the access road, and then have to hike the remainder along the edge of the ballast as I did the other day.  I did it and survived, but I wouldn't suggest anyone trying that way!  Just be sure to be there way ahead of time and wear some sturdy hiking shoes.

 

Must say the dreary and misty weather on Sunday was just about perfect for photography there much moreso than the intermittent sun on Saturday.  Just something about wet weather and steam that makes for some great shots.

Kevin

Originally Posted by bluecometk:

Was the heritage unit helping at all. From my uneducated ear it sounded like it was off idle?

 

Originally Posted by kgdjpubs:
765 wouldn't be able to maintain that speed with that train on the grade without help.  Obviously, 765 was still putting on a good show even with the help.

Yes, the diesel was helping a little, mostly in notch 3 and 4. The 765 could have handled the train unassisted, but not at that speed.

 

That is a very busy stretch of Norfolk Southern main line, with 80 to 100 trains per day moving over it. In fact, that is one of the busiest stretches of rail on the entire NS system. We could not tie up the railroad for an hour working up the mountain at only 15 mph when track speed is 30 and 35.

 

On the second trip on Saturday, the diesel crew shut off (throttled down to idle) shortly after passing the camera in the video I posted above. The 765 held 24-25 mph on the grade from there to the tunnel. About a mile before the tunnel, we communicated with the helper crew to get set for the tunnel. We had them gradually notch up as I was throttling down the 765, carefully bunching the slack in the process. They did most of the work shoving us through the tunnel with the 765 working a light throttle.

 

The 765 was wide open working at 100% power all the way up the hill. By the time we had moved two train lengths out of the Altoona Amtrak station I had her on the roof, and the throttle stayed there until we began to shut off for the tunnel.

Rich Melvin

 Thank you Rich and everybody for the information. Rich thank you for the in cab revue.

It is always great to hear about the 765's operations as they happen or within a few days. The FWRHS sure does a great  job and her/their performance always show it.

Thank you

 

 

Bluecometk.

I'll be heading out this weekend with Mr. Slie.  Anxious to shoot some more 3D footage as well as trying out my new WiFi GoPro camera.  Hopefully I can get it somewhere to take advantage of it's capabilities.

Marty Eibeck

 

Below the Signature...

""

 

Rich,

 

My father and I were on the second trip on Sunday afternoon.  Although it wasn't quite the "good ol'days" of 70+mph hanging out a vestibule tearing through Hurricane, WV, it was still a great time non the less!  We couldn't really hear from our car, but I'm sure she put on quite a show getting the train started again after that unscheduled stop at MG (the nerve of some dispatchers lol).

 

I will say that every single NS employee that I talked to really enjoyed the trip.  We all agree that this program is great and hope that it continues for years to come!

 

If I don't have to work this weekend I'll be track side somewhere around Altoona with my trusty iPhone looking to record some more controversial videos .  Otherwise I'll be manning the boards to keep the 765 running on Clears (at least east of Altoona anyways).

Originally Posted by Hot Water:
 

Isn't it interesting that the Altoona Railroader's Museum charges a MUCH higher rate to "view" at the curve, JUST because the 765 is in town. Yet, not a single dollar is donated to the FWRHS for all THEIR efforts!

 

Obviously I will NEVER visit THEM!

I stand corrected, never "assume" anything is right. What a shame, greedy s.o.b.'s. Is there any other attraction where the "star of the show" doesn't at least get a cut? Lets face it 765 is a littler more impressive than a monster truck.

 

 Its not like its coasting around the curve. Maybe next time, if there is one, they should just drag 765 cold behind the heritage unit........you get what you pay for

" No matter how far we travel, the memories will follow in the baggage car."

Originally Posted by OGR Webmaster:

 

By the way, the lifting of the first pop valve (there are three) as she went around the curve was done on purpose. Engineer Gary Bensman and Fireman Steve Winicker planned to do this. You'll notice that Steve hazed up the stack a little (made some smoke) as the engine first comes into sight. And a few seconds later the additional heat from the extra coal he put in the firebox does its job and lifts the first pop valve.

 

Nicely done.

Indeed, nothing like a fine machine and people who know how to user her. Love it. I can't wait to aboard and trackside this weekend!


Rob

Here's another video you might like. The video itself is not very well done, but the sound! Wow!

 

This is pulling out of the wye at Fairlane, Ohio on the employee trips out of Rockport Yard in Cleveland. There is a short but very steep grade coming out of the hole and back to the main line here.

 

Engineer Aaron Sherman has the throttle wide open and the reverse all the way down n the corner. The 765 is really down on her knees here, developing every possible pound of tractive effort that she can muster to drag that train up and out of there.

 

We don't often have the opportunity to see the 765 working like this. Gives new meaning to the term "Shotgun Exhaust."

 

Rich Melvin

I've watched/listened to this video several times; it's a gem.  I love the acceleration once she is on the main.  Also, notice the very young lady in purple on the other side who is backing away from the locomotive and the appears to jump out of her skin when the whistle goes off!

 

Bob

Originally Posted by OGR Webmaster:

Today the really GOOD spot for photos is just west of the curve, on the hillside north of the tracks. This seems to be where the "serious" photographers are going. While there is no charge to shoot here, it requires quite a hike to get in there. You get a really nice view of the curve from here, as you can see in this well-done video by OGR Forum Member Dave Slie.

 

 

 

By the way, the lifting of the first pop valve (there are three) as she went around the curve was done on purpose. Engineer Gary Bensman and Fireman Steve Winicker planned to do this. You'll notice that Steve hazed up the stack a little (made some smoke) as the engine first comes into sight. And a few seconds later the additional heat from the extra coal he put in the firebox does its job and lifts the first pop valve.

 

Nicely done.

I noticed on the first trip on Saturday the 18th, that the pops lifted about there and I thought it was the action of an over zealous fireman. (Who shall remain nameless! :-)

 

Now I see you guys were purposely giving everyone an extra show of steam.  Again "Nicely done."!

 

The park is a wonderful spot to enjoy trains but I would have would agree the park views are limited. I shot No. 765 last August from the park ($20 then too) so this time I did the hike to the GOOD spot. I would not recommend anyone going there unless they are active physically.The shooting area is small, difficult place to work in on a a steep hill. There were about 20 fans there and it was cozy. I would imagine the Memorial Day weekend it will be packed. And NS Police reaction to this activity is unknown.

 

Check out my shot of OGR'a favorite engineer and engine. I don't know who is grinning more, No. 765 or Rich.

 

More shots here at OGR:

 

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/t...41#17479526149517141

 

NKP No. 765 assaulting Horseshoe Curve with NS's Employee Appreciation Special.

I Foam Therefore I Am

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Originally Posted by Hot Water:
Isn't it interesting that the Altoona Railroader's Museum charges a MUCH higher rate to "view" at the curve, JUST because the 765 is in town. Yet, not a single dollar is donated to the FWRHS for all THEIR efforts!

 

Obviously I will NEVER visit THEM!


I agree, what a load of BS.  They won't get my $$$. 

 

Great videos also.

 

Chris

    Chris

 

Don't call me irrational you know that makes me crazy.

And come see my videos on modeling and rail fanning the prototypes.

 

 

These days, it's all about showmanship! 
 
Originally Posted by OGR Webmaster:

 

By the way, the lifting of the first pop valve (there are three) as she went around the curve was done on purpose. Engineer Gary Bensman and Fireman Steve Winicker planned to do this. You'll notice that Steve hazed up the stack a little (made some smoke) as the engine first comes into sight. And a few seconds later the additional heat from the extra coal he put in the firebox does its job and lifts the first pop valve.

 

Nicely done.

 

OLDGUYFROMNJ

About the ARMM--last year they told us life members didn't have to pay, but couldn't be guaranteed a spot, so we went elsewhere, and so did many others who would have paid the (I think ridiculous) entry fee had they been able to be SURE they would get in. We suggested last year that they set up a reservation system or the like if they were going to do it again, and no one listened. We also assumed they were going to donate part of the proceeds. Instead, they decided to fleece the engine crews...?

I'll be as polite as I can when I let them know how unacceptable this was, and I'd encourage everyone else to do the same. It's one thing to profit from a special event and another to handle it badly all around.

 

--Becky

Originally Posted by OGR Webmaster:
Yes, the diesel was helping a little, mostly in notch 3 and 4. The 765 could have handled the train unassisted, but not at that speed.

Rich,
IF you had the Berkshire's larger Lima built cousins, like a C&O T1 2-10-4 or a C&O H8 2-6-6-6, do you think you have maintained the maximum track on the Curve without assistance?

I know the PRR J1 class were essentially copies of the C&O T1 and the PRR worked their J1 hard on the Curve.

http://www.northeast.railfan.n...mages/tr_prr_hs2.jpg

Originally Posted by Bryan Smith:

Rich,
IF you had the Berkshire's larger Lima built cousins, like a C&O T1 2-10-4 or a C&O H8 2-6-6-6, do you think you have maintained the maximum track on the Curve without assistance?

I know the PRR J1 class were essentially copies of the C&O T1 and the PRR worked their J1 hard on the Curve.

Of course any of the locomotives you listed would have handled that train unassisted, since they each had far higher HP and greater tractive effort.

Don't be so quick to dismiss the NKP Berks.  There is a difference between simply making horsepower and "making power with speed". 
 
To use an automobile anology, a lot of people make the mistake of measuring a car's performance potential by only looking at the horsepower of a car.  In reality, it's the torque that you feel in the seat of your pants when your car accelerates.  When driving below 5,252 RPM, torque is actually moving you, not horsepower.
 
It's no accident that the 765 and it's cousins were still in service in 1958 while some of the locos mentioned had already been scrapped.  Granted, the NKP main line along Lake Erie was relatively flat and well suited to the adhesion factor of steam locomotives.
 
It's just my opinion, but I don't think there would be any MATERIAL difference between the 765 and any of the 2-10-4s mentioned.
 
I obviously defer to Rich on this....but had to chime in.
 
Originally Posted by Hot Water:
Originally Posted by Bryan Smith:

Rich,
IF you had the Berkshire's larger Lima built cousins, like a C&O T1 2-10-4 or a C&O H8 2-6-6-6, do you think you have maintained the maximum track on the Curve without assistance?

I know the PRR J1 class were essentially copies of the C&O T1 and the PRR worked their J1 hard on the Curve.

Of course any of the locomotives you listed would have handled that train unassisted, since they each had far higher HP and greater tractive effort.

 

Originally Posted by Berkshire President: 
It's just my opinion, but I don't think there would be any MATERIAL difference between the 765 and any of the 2-10-4s mentioned. 

You might want to do some additional research into tonnage ratings on 1.8% grades for various classes of 2-10-4s.

Originally Posted by Berkshire President:
...a lot of people make the mistake of measuring a car's performance potential by only looking at the horsepower of a car.  In reality, it's the torque that you feel in the seat of your pants when your car accelerates.  When driving below 5,252 RPM, torque is actually moving you, not horsepower.

I'm sorry, but what you have stated there is not correct. Horsepower is a combination of torque and RPM. The "5252" number comes from the formula for calculating horsepower. That formula is:

 

TORQUE X RPM divided by 5252

 

500 foot-pounds of torque at 5,000 RPM = 476 HP - a typical "crate engine" spec. The number 5252 is simply a mathematical constant used in the formula and has nothing to do with the RPM of the engine involved.

 

Horsepower is a measure of how FAST a given amount of work can be done. Torque is simply the twisting force on a shaft. Thousands of foot-pounds of torque mean nothing if you can't spin the shaft fast enough to get work done. This holds true whether you are talking about cars, diesel trucks or steam locomotives.

 

The 765 is capable of about 4,500 hp at the coupler, however that power level is not achieved until around 45 mph. At 30 mph she is well down on her power curve. I don't know how many HP the 765 can develop at 30 mph, but it is nowhere near 4,500.

 

Both of the locomotives you mentioned are more powerful than the 765. If I recall, the C&O T1 2-10-4 was capable of nearly 6,000 HP and the Allegheny developed 7,498 drawbar HP in testing on the C&O. Clearly they are much more powerful than the 765.

 

The 765 is no slouch, but she is a mid-sized Lima Super Power freight locomotive that was designed to pull 4,000 ton freight trains on level track at 70 mph, not a 1,500 ton passenger train at 30 mph on a 1.7% grade. By that I mean she is not a "drag" engine designed to make maximum HP at slow speeds. Her HP peak is reached at around 45 mph and extends to about 60 mph where the HP starts to fall off slightly.

Rich Melvin

Originally Posted by Berkshire President:
Don't be so quick to dismiss the NKP Berks.  There is a difference between simply making horsepower and "making power with speed". 
 
To use an automobile anology, a lot of people make the mistake of measuring a car's performance potential by only looking at the horsepower of a car.  In reality, it's the torque that you feel in the seat of your pants when your car accelerates.  When driving below 5,252 RPM, torque is actually moving you, not horsepower.
 
It's no accident that the 765 and it's cousins were still in service in 1958 while some of the locos mentioned had already been scrapped.  Granted, the NKP main line along Lake Erie was relatively flat and well suited to the adhesion factor of steam locomotives.
 
It's just my opinion, but I don't think there would be any MATERIAL difference between the 765 and any of the 2-10-4s mentioned.
 
I obviously defer to Rich on this....but had to chime in.
 

 

 

There is a difference between "power at speed" and "power on a steep grade".  You're not going to run 60mph up through Horseshoe Curve, so the slower-speed lugging capability is what matters.  The best engine for the hill (at least in today's standards of not delaying NS freights) is the engine that produces the most amount of horsepower at 25-30mph.  The C&O T1/PRR J1 are basically a Berkshire on steroids.  More tractive effort/more horsepower = more ability to move equivalent tonnage ratings at higher speed = faster ascent up a 1.8% grade with that train.  Same basic analogy with a C&O Allegheny.  You're well below the speed for the horsepower peak for an Allegheny, but there's so much power to start with that it doesn't matter for that amount of tonnage.

 

As far as the NKP Berks outlasting the other engines, this is considerably murkier water.  Without a doubt, the NKP Berks were some of the best utilized steam engines.  The Nickel Plate found what the engines were best at, and--unlike many railroads--used them in that service to their maximum potential.  They filled a void, and the Berkshire's ability to run at high speed with freight made them perfect for what the railroad needed.  This wasn't a case of shoehorning a round peg into a square hole, which is what a lot of railroads ended up doing.  The Berks did EXACTLY what they were purchased for.  With the perfect engine for the task, it made sense for the Nickel Plate to stick with steam until the economics for going to diesel were desirable.

 

Needless to say, conditions on the C&O weren't exactly the same.  Steeper grades made the necessity for a Berkshire on steroids (aka T1) desirable.  You get more power available with maybe a little loss on the top end speed.  Good engines, but not good enough to starve off the diesels.  Same thing goes for the C&O 2700s, which were essentially identical to the NKP Berks.  C&O went for diesels fairly early on, and when they could get enough of them by the mid 50s, steam was on its way out.

 

Now the Allegheny is enough for a novel.  Long story short, what the C&O needed was a big engine that provided a ton of power at slow speeds for getting heavy coal trains over the mountains.  That's not what they got.  In N&W terms, they needed a Y6 and got an A.  The Allegheny really fits in with the Challengers and N&W As, not with a slow-speed lugging monster like a Y6.  Of course, the C&O already had the lots-of-horsepower-at-high-speed merchandise freight engine with the T1.  Herein lies the problem.  It's not that the Allegheny was a bad design per se, but it was not needed by the C&O (and even less by the Virginian).

 

So instead of using the Allegheny where it could run at high speed (like a Challenger or an A), the C&O instead used them in pusher service over the mountains where the engines weren't being used anywhere near their optimum capabilities.  10-15mph is way too slow to get to the horsepower peak on that engine.  Needless to say, the C&O wasn't getting its money's worth out of the engines and dieselization was a no-brainer.  On the right railroad, the engines could have succeeded.  The C&O and Virginian weren't those railroads.

Kevin

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