Steam Saturday: Not That Long Ago, Right?

It’s Aug. 21, 2012 and Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 is cruising westbound through Canton en route to Bellevue.

The Berkshire type has recently pulled some excursions in Pennsylvania and is ferrying westward.

Those of us who chased the 765 on this move or during its time in Ohio that year probably don’t think this happened that long ago.

It was just few years ago, right? Actually it was almost eight years ago.

The tracks here used to be the mainline of the Pennsylvania Railroad between Chicago and New York.

The NKP was a nominal competitor with the Pennsy in the Chicago-New York passenger market even though the Nickel Plate didn’t have it own track east of Buffalo, New York.

But more that five decades after the PRR last operated its own passenger trains on the run that history has been lost to all except those with an interest in railroad history.

Behind the auxiliary tender of the 765 is the NKP heritage unit of Norfolk Southern.

There is some PRR heritage to be seen here in the signal bridges with Pennsy-style position light signal heads to protect the crossing at WANDLE between the NS Fort Wayne Line and the Wheeling & Lake Erie’s Canton Subdivision. Those signal bridges have since been removed.

It is far from certain that NKP 765 will ever operate on these rails again.

But NS 8100, the NKP heritage unit, could well be helping to pull a regular NS freight train.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

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