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The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society is proud to announce that restored Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive no. 765 has been tapped to help celebrate Norfolk Southern's 30th Anniversary. The locomotive will pull a special business train, operating out of the railroad's terminals in Fort Wayne, Elkhart, and Muncie, Indiana as well as in Bellevue and Toledo, Ohio.



765_Temple-PACreated in 1982 with the merger of the Southern Railway and Norfolk and Western Railway, the railway operates 20,000 miles of track in 22 states with 28,000 employees. As part of its celebration, Norfolk Southern is honoring its corporate heritage by painting 18 of its locomotives in historic paint schemes that commemorate the dozens of railroad companies that were eventually merged into the system Norfolk Southern presently operates. Included will be a vintage livery that pays homage to the New York Chicago & St. Louis Railroad, otherwise known as the Nickel Plate Road, the railroad that the 765 was originally built for.

 
Founded in 1972, the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, Inc will also be celebrating its own 40th Anniversary in 2012. The railroad historical society was the first all volunteer, non-profit to restore and operate a mainline steam locomotive after removing no. 765 from Fort Wayne's Lawton Park in 1974 and rehabilitating it to operating condition in 1979. The 1944-built locomotive has traveled  over 50,000 miles in public exhibition and excursion service and was recently rebuilt in 2005.

 

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 Read about it on the 765's web site here.

 

 

 

 

 


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Last edited by Rich Melvin
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Originally Posted by OGR Webmaster:

No 60 mph. NS has a long-standing policy of 40 mph for steam trains.

If only it were that easy to go into my rulebook and change that "4" in 40 to a "6"...


I really would like to find a way to ride this trip. Not sure if they'd want a conductor from PA on board...... who knows.

Originally Posted by Jim Teeple:

they are not going to change the livery on the 765 are they.

 

 

N&W Repainted the NP 759, I can't see them doing the same to the 765. I was 12 when the 759 pulled the last passanger train out of Roanoke. I would love to see the 765 make the return trip.

 

I'm assuming that since the announcement is they are pulling the business train, general public excursions will not be offered.

 

Gilly

Originally Posted by Jdevleerjr:

Very cool, when will the dates be announced? 

 

I am an hour north of Toledo, I would love to take another trip behind her.

We are still working on the schedule with NS. These trips will probably run in July. However, these are not public trips. These are trips for NS company officers, safety committees, shippers, etc. as part of their 30th birthday celebration.

 

The 765 will remain in her NKP livery. The NKP has historical ties to Norfolk Southern.

 

I don't know whether we will meet any NS heritage units or not. That will depend on where they are and where we are...purely luck of the draw.In any case, we will not have an NS diesel in the consist. 765 will be doing all the work on these trips.

With two train sets required for the NS 30th Birthday Celebration and a third for the usual Operation Lifesaver trains that NS will run this summer, they have to field three passenger train consists.

 

We will be putting the train together for NS with cars leased from Mid America Railcar Leasing. The final consist has not been set, but it will likely be an 8 to 10 car train including a couple of domes.

 

Originally Posted by OGR Webmaster:

No 60 mph. NS has a long-standing policy of 40 mph for steam trains.

I just wonder if Mr. Mooreman (sp) MIGHT be inclined to "modify" that old policy? Once he gets a taste of high horsepower main line running, plus if the NS operating department expects to get their "special" across the railroad in a more timely manner, the just might want to con side 60MPH.

 

We were NOT limited to 40MPH with the 4449 trip to Michigan and back, in 2009. Mr. Bob Saxon even road with is, on the engine, during the return trip, and we ran 60MPH all the way. You would think that if 60MPH was good enough for an Amtrak Steam Special on NS, it would be good enough for their own Steam Specials.

Hey RP---That's great news, and especially that you won't have to haul around any GE scrap iron behing the tender.  There can be nothing much more insulting to Lima Superpower than to be accompanied by a d _ _ _ _ d piece of GE junk there just in case the Berk fails. 

 

On another note, replace the existing speed recorder with an old Chicago Pneumatic recorder and I'll show you how a rubber band strategically stretched over the top of the stylus can keep the tape showing only 40.  Always worked good for Finkelbaum!

Originally Posted by Scorch The Ballast:

Hey RP---That's great news, and especially that you won't have to haul around any GE scrap iron behing the tender.  There can be nothing much more insulting to Lima Superpower than to be accompanied by a d _ _ _ _ d piece of GE junk there just in case the Berk fails. 

 

On another note, replace the existing speed recorder with an old Chicago Pneumatic recorder and I'll show you how a rubber band strategically stretched over the top of the stylus can keep the tape showing only 40.  Always worked good for Finkelbaum!

That would not be the only thing to do. Anything Mechanical and computers can and are programmed to show whatever speed you wish the company to see.

 

On a serious question for OGR, who pays for the Fuel, Water, Sand etc for the special runs on NS tracks? Did'nt at some point say it costs upwards of 10,000 dollars to fill the tender?

I don't know where you got your numbers, Lee, but it does not cost $10,000 to fill the tender. The current price for coal delivered to Indiana is around $195 per ton. 22 tons at $195 per ton is only $4,290. If fuel prices continue to go up, that price will, too.

 

Now...let's put that number in context. The 765 burns a ton of coal every 10 miles. That means that just the cost of coal is $19.50 per mile! It takes a LOT of money to operate a big engine like the 765.

 

As Steve Lee, former head of the Union Pacific Steam Department once said, "Steam engines don't burn coal or oil. They burn money."

 

And I can assure you that Ichabod is just kidding about hacking the speedometer. The 765 is equipped with a GPS speedometer anyway.

Yes, Ichabod agrees that his favorite locomotive IS the GE U30C---and ONLY as a boat anchor!  It was a great day in my time as an engineer at Newport News when one of the C30-7's GE was shipping to China was dropped into Hampton Roads Harbor by the crane handling it onto the ship.  Only trouble was, they pulled it out instead of just leaving it buried at sea!

 

Back to the Berk---Do you anticipate any throttle-on-the-roof, low speed operation through upgrade tunnels?  I believe the old N&W territory still has some.  Quite an experience I understand, and likely one that can never be duplicated. 

 

Any commentary (suitable for print) to share? 

Originally Posted by Scorch The Ballast:

RP---Must have been quite a ride---the stuff from which legends are made.  And I know darned well you wouldn't trade that experience for anything.

At the time it wasn't a lot of fun, but I can look back on it now and at least I don't break out into a cold sweat.

 

Ichabod, I wish I could have introduced you to that crazy Chessie Road Foreman. He was nuts! You are a lot like him.

Rich, reading your stories, it is apparent that in those good old days, you had a lot of personal contacts in the local operations departments along the road and it looks like in many cases, you had known them for years and some even had steam experience.

 

I'm guessing today,  most of those old heads are retired and you have fewer contacts along the road.  If this is true, I sure hope you can use these trips to start to form new relationships.   Do you plan to invite key ops folks along for rides in order to better form those relationships? (or do they invite themselves!?)

 

Bob

Interesting comment, Bob. Yes, many of the "old heads" that knew steam back in the day are gone now, but there is a new cadre of young people coming up who will carry the torch.

 

The 765's crew is a good example...the 765 has two primary engineers. I've been running her since 1985 and still enjoy handling that assignment. I'm 65 now, but in good health so I'll continue to do this for a few more years. The 765's other engineer is in his 40's! Not only that, he is a Division Road Foreman on NS. The best of both worlds. His first exposure to the 765 was when he was assigned as the company officer on board out of Bellevue when we deadheaded from the CVSR to Michigan in 2010. Aaron quickly got up to speed with the 765 and handles her very well. He is now a very active member of our organization.

 

There is something else in play here as well. The people at the top who are running Norfolk Southern right now are RAILROADERS, who understand and appreciate the history that steam power represents in the railroad industry. They have demonstrated that appreciation through the establishment of the 21st Century Steam Program, and by using a little steam to help celebrate their 30th birthday.

 

I'm very pleased that the 765's organization in Fort Wayne was in the right place at the right time to be able to participate in the NS program in a small way. We intend to go out and do the best job we can on these NS 30th Birthday trips in the hope that it could lead to even more opportunities to work with NS in the future. Time will tell...

Like many who participated in the Southern Steam Program, I was fortunate to meet folks such as Engineer Walter Dove and Bill Purdie Master Mechanic of Steam for the entire Southern Railway from 1968 to 1982.

William "Bill" Purdie was amazing---a legend in the steam restoration and operation world and kept both home and visiting steam engines running all accross the System. Southern President Graham Claytor was quoted as saying that Bill Purdie had "the touch"when it came to making a a steam engine do its best. He was certainly the very best! Bill Purdie passed away in July 2010.

   

Last edited by Dewey Trogdon

I hope that this small company excursion will somehow blossom.
Sad thing these days is the fact that you don't have executives that started their careers when steam was king the generation that held that long lost love for the hey day of steam is gone.
It'll take trips like this to show NS exec's that there's a need for a Representative mainline steam engine from their company.

Hopefully the mindset will change over time and we'll see the 611 back on the tracks and maybe even the C&O 614 under steam again.
I know there's concern about liability but why do other railroads not think it's such a big deal?? You've got the NKP765 , the SP Daylight and the Challenger running all the time and it's not a big deal
I just don't see NS and CSX's way of thinking.

David

Originally Posted by DPC:

I hope that this small company excursion will somehow blossom

Hopefully the mindset will change over time and we'll see the 611 back on the tracks and maybe even the C&O 614 under steam again.
I know there's concern about liability but why do other railroads not think it's such a big deal?? You've got the NKP765 , the SP Daylight and the Challenger running all the time and it's not a big deal
I just don't see NS and CSX's way of thinking.

David

First, don't count on "excursions" blossoming! 

 

Second, don't count on N&W 611 nor C&O 614, being rebuilt for main line service any time soon. The CEO of NS has already spent extensive "research" on how the Union Pacific railroad operates THEIR "heritage steam program" versus how the BNSF handles steam operations. Norfolk Southern has obviously elected to go with how BNSF does things, i.e. contracting out for use of steam locomotives WHEN THEY THINK IT IS APPROPRIATE! THAT is the obvious way to go for a railroad newly entering "steam operations".

Wow!! I'm excited for you Rich. This is a great honor. I had been hoping that NS would have steam excursions  for its top shippers. The more NS does that the more likely we are to see steam. If NS does this in a way to market their company than steam could really compliment their corporation. I'd rathor see a few steam excursions occasionaly...then none at all.

 

Do you know if there are any plasn for NS excursions in the Washington, D.C. area? Or what NS will do in DC?  

In response to Hot Waters comment I said "I Hope" but I live in the Roanoke area and although the rest of the world doesn't look at this little tid bit as news it's an indicator of what NS thinks of passenger service in general.
Amtrak would like to bring back Passenger service back to Roanoke the closest cities served by them are Lynchburg and Danville Virginia . Norfolk Southern has fought this vehemently stating it would hamper it's freight service meaning they don't want anything on their tracks that isn't paying the bills
In other words if they don't want the hassle of working around Amtrak they sure don't want to fool with trying to juggle freight trains around a steam engine with a speed limit of 40 MPH.

David

Originally Posted by DPC:

It'll take trips like this to show NS exec's that there's a need for a Representative mainline steam engine from their company.

David, what part of 21st Century Steam Program do you not understand? NS Execs have ALREADY seen the need for a little steam on the railroad to honor the history and heritage they represent.

 

 

Originally Posted by DPC:

In other words if they don't want the hassle of working around Amtrak they sure don't want to fool with trying to juggle freight trains around a steam engine with a speed limit of 40 MPH.

It's apples and oranges, David.

 

A 40 mph steam train operates on any given division on the railroad for one day. The railroad is dealing with a small ownership organization that is very flexible and can accommodate changes to the schedule very quickly. The minor delays that a steam train may cause to freight traffic is easily fixed and everything is back on schedule within a day or two.

 

Amtrak would be on the railroad every day, or at least several times per week, every week. In Amtrak the railroad is dealing with a firmly entrenched, slow to react, unresponsive and inefficient bureaucracy that cannot accommodate much of anything out of the ordinary. It is an entirely different world from a one-off steam train and I can fully understand why NS would not want Amtrak in Roanoke.

Doubtless there are others reading this interesting forum that have had the privilege of working within our Country's great railroad system for long periods of time, and I'll bet there's a likelihood they'll be shaking their heads in agreement as they read my following commentary. 

 

I started in the early 70's on a Chessie entity and realize now that I got in on the last thread of the golden age.  I started as a brakeman, eventually qualified as a conductor, transferred into Engine Service and got set-up as an engineer eventually being promoted into a Company officer position.  Over that time I railroaded for Chessie (then CSX) in three widespread regions of its system and was fortunate to participate in the operations of the 2101, the Royal Hudson, the 614 and the 765 (The classiest).  Wouldn't trade those times for anything.  However, looking back, I am most astounded at the depth of support personnel and facilities that we HAD in those times that simply DO NOT exist now.  Makes me wonder how in the sam hill the Company made any money compared with the Saran Wrap thickness of depth there is NOW in field personnel and facilities. I could pontificate on that for hours but will stick to the mission at hand. 

 

Yes, it frustrates me just as it obviously does many of you who have posted comments, that the Class I's are not more willing to host special passenger movements let alone Amtrak, but, also keep in mind the quantity main track miles that have been removed and/or single-tracked in the name of saving the "Company" into prosperity.  Particularly here in the East.  Along with that, it is almost inconceivable the degree to which operations have been compressed---ten pounds into a five pound bag comes to mind---one terminal where several used to do the job for example. 

 

While I am not supportive of today's operating mind set, I'd say there's not much choice.  We (the taxpayers) provide (not by choice) a physical plant (the Federal Highway System) virtually free of charge for use by the railroad industry's chief competitor-long haul trucks.  The decals you see on the back of a semi trailer touting "This vehicle pays over $5,000 per year in road use taxes" may be true, but that figure is drop in the bucket compared to the capital that single semi would need to contribute in order to build and support a stand-alone route system upon which to operate as the railroads must do. 

 

Fierce competition for capital exists thus the publicly-traded Class I's must provide their stockholders with a suitable return on investment or they'll take their capital (share money) elsewhere.  And to provide that return in an environment lacking a level playing field with their chief competitor, the railroads must operate under circumstances that are well beyond the definition of lean, which precipitates a general (and understandable) unwillingness to do anything out of the norm because it simply upsets the apple cart in that delicately balanced set of circumstances.

 

So, as somewhat of an industry insider, I'd say count our blessing and give credit where credit it due.  Mr. Moorman is taking a bold first step with these 765 plans, and, who are we to say what may follow?  I've suffered several "steam droughts" here in the East but it has always had a renaissance, and this could well be the beginning of yet another.

 

As a post script, it would be understandable for one to ask if the UP can do it in the West, why can't NS or CSX do it here in the East?  First, because the UP has always been my favorite (If Almighty God had his own railroad, it would be The UP), I'd answer that it is because "they ARE The UP", but, in reality a somewhat different---and often better---set of economics has typically ruled the Western roads.   

Rich, now that I am released from the vow of silence concerning my spirit-boosting advance notice of all this,  I want to thank you again.  I am still here, and now will aim for the 765 in Muncie.  Given the present state of the tumors and side effects, July is a looong time away, but I will give it my best.  Congrats to all of you in Ft. Wayne for pulling off this seemingly impossible feat.  Hope to see you again.

 

Jim Tighe

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