Another Weekend With NKP 765 in the Cuyahoga Valley. Will it Turn Out to Be the Last of 2015?

Getting an elevated view of the Nickel Plate Road 765 as it passes Brecksville Station on a ferry move to Boston Mill on Sunday morning.

Getting an elevated view of the Nickel Plate Road 765 as it passes Brecksville Station on a ferry move to Boston Mill on Sunday morning.

As I reviewed my photographs of the second weekend that Nickel Plate Road No. 765 spent on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, I wondered if this might be the last time that I will have photographed the 765 on the CVSR this year or the last time that I ever photograph the 765 on the CVSR.

The political gamesmanship being played in Congress over extending the federal debt limit might result in a shutdown of the government that would shutter the Cuyahoga Valley National Park as it did for two weeks in October 2013.

That in turn would sideline the CVSR and the 765. Then again, the politicos might strike a deal and the shutdown threat will be over for now. They say that they will, so we shall see.

The 2-8-4 Berkshire built in Lima, Ohio, is slated to run next weekend, pulling trips out of Akron on Saturday and Brecksville on Sunday. Then it returns to its home in New Haven, Indiana, and who knows if it will ever be back.

I’ve been wondering for the past couple of years how many encore performances the 765 will make on the CVSR. It has run here more often than I thought that it might.

I rather enjoy chasing this locomotive and the challenge of getting it in new places or finding new photo angles at old haunts.

I might have more images of the 765 in action than I do of all steam locomotives I’ve photographed combined.

The world of mainline steam locomotives is always uncertain and that has driven me to get out with a “get it while you can” approach.

With that in mind, I chased all three last Sunday out of Boston Mill. Originally billed as half-hour excursions, they wound up being hour and a half trips, perhaps because the ticket prices for the two-hour trips were the same as the half-hour trips. Maybe enough people noticed and complained.

The first and third trips of the day went south while the middle trip went north. That was the pattern last year. What was different, though, was that the 765 twice stood in Peninsula while the northbound Scenic ran around it. It also sat at Fitzwater for the southbound Scenic.

I captured the 765 in two new settings, although, arguably, the first of those wasn’t new as much as it was a new approach.

I’ve seen images of CVSR trains passing Brecksville that were made atop a hill on the south side of Chippewa Creek. This past Sunday I decided to climb the hill and get a new view.

The other setting was the bridge over the Cuyahoga River north of Peninsula. I’ve photographed trains several times on the bridge over the Cuyahoga located south of town, but never to the north.

I always thought that getting to a good vantage point for the north bridge would be too difficult and involve walking through, over and around brush and who knows what else.

Yet the trek to the river’s edge proved to be quite easy and left me wondering why I hadn’t tried it before.

Otherwise, it was another day of catching the 765 at the usual places, including near Deep Lock Quarry and in Peninsula.

I did try a new vantage point at the former, walking south along the tracks to just beyond milepost 52.

Although there were a few hints of autumn color, it seems likely that if the 765 runs next weekend there won’t be as much fall foliage to get as I had hoped when I learned that this year’s run of the 765 on the CVSR would extend into early October.

I would like to add to my 765 catalog some images of the steamer with brilliant fall foliage in the background at Peninsula.

If last weekend’s trips turns out to be the last trips for the 765 on the CVSR I can say that I made the most of the opportunity. You can’t do much better than that.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Sunday's trips were initially advertised as a half-hour, but by the time Sunday rolled around that had changed to an hour and a half. The ferry move passes the parking lot for the Brecksville station.

Sunday’s trips were initially advertised as a half-hour, but by the time Sunday rolled around that had changed to an hour and a half. The ferry move passes the parking lot for the Brecksville station on Sunday morning.

Between a rock and a milepost south of Deep Lock Quarry. I got a thumbs up from a crew member in the cab on the fireman's side.

Between a rock and a milepost south of Deep Lock Quarry. I got a thumbs up from a crew member in the cab on the fireman’s side.

It is starting to look a little like autumn, which is why I made this image of the 765 going backwards over the Cuyahoga River south of Peninsula.

It is starting to look a little like autumn, which is why I made this image of the 765 going backwards over the Cuyahoga River south of Peninsula.

Passengers on the 12:30 p.m. trip out of Boston Mill had more than a half-hour wait at Fitzwater Yard and Shops before following the Scenic train southward. The 765 leads its train through Brecksville beneath the Ohio Route 82 bridge.

Passengers on the 12:30 p.m. trip out of Boston Mill had more than a half-hour wait at Fitzwater Yard and Shops before following the Scenic train southward. The 765 leads its train through Brecksville beneath the Ohio Route 82 bridge.

Gliding over Chippewa Creek in Brecksville. Fellow ARRC members Peter Bowler and Ed Ribinskas were here with me.

Gliding over Chippewa Creek in Brecksville. Fellow ARRC members Peter Bowler and Ed Ribinskas were here with me.

Crossing the Cuyahoga River north of Peninsula. Two of the three trips out of Boston Mill on this day went south.

Crossing the Cuyahoga River north of Peninsula. Two of the three trips out of Boston Mill on this day went south.

Getting to the site to make this photo turned out to be much easier than I expected.

Getting to the site to make this photo turned out to be much easier than I expected.

Of course cameras were out and people stood and watched as the NKP 765 rolled into Peninsula.

Of course cameras were out and people stood and watched as the NKP 765 rolled into Peninsula.

It wasn't planned, but I'll take credit for the headlight of the 765 reflecting in the fourth window from the left of the far right CVSR passenger car.

It wasn’t planned, but I’ll take credit for the headlight of the 765 reflecting in the fourth window from the left of the far right CVSR passenger car.

This time the 765 was sitting still as the northbound CVSR Scenic passed in Peninsula.

This time the 765 was sitting still as the northbound CVSR Scenic passed in Peninsula. This same ritual had played out in the morning during the first southbound trip of the day pulled by the 765

Trailing out of Peninsula as the last excursion of the day winds down.

Trailing out of Peninsula as the last excursion of the day winds down.

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