Steam Saturday: Chessie Steam Special in Marion

We’re standing where the Chesapeake & Ohio passenger platform used to be at Marion Union Station. The date is Aug. 12, 1978.

Today is special because the Chessie Steam Special will be in town, albeit briefly.

Reading 4-8-4 No. 2102 with its colorful Chessie livery will be coming up from Columbus en route to Cleveland on a ferry move.

It’s the second season of the Chessie Steam Special and it will be the last.

The T-1 and its train had actually been through Marion earlier this month on these rails. On July 31, 1978, it passed through on a ferry move from Detroit to Columbus.

It pulled a series of trips out of Columbus including to Ashland and Toledo.

Now it’s time to head for Cleveland where it will operate two roundtrip excursions to Willard before moving on to Pittsburgh.

The purpose of the Chessie Steam Special had been to celebrate an anniversary of the Baltimore & Ohio.

That played out over two seasons then steam had an encore in 1980-1981 with the Chessie Safety Express tour.

Today CSX — the “C” in the carrier’s name is for Chessie — is adamantly opposed to hosting steam excursions.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

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