Posts Tagged ‘765’

NKP 765 Schedule Release Expected Within Month

February 14, 2018

The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society expects to release within the next month its excursion schedule for this year involving Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765.

In an earlier report at the website of Trains magazine, the society had indicated that it was eyeing trips in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri.

For the past several years the Berkshire-type locomotive has appeared on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in September.

In the meantime, the society is using the downtime between excursions to carry out a required boiler inspection.

Federal Railroad Administration rules require operating steam locomotives to undergo a boiler inspection and rebuild every 15 years or 1,472 service days.

Typically, that process is done at one time, but the FtWRHS won FRA approval to conduct it in stages over a two-year period so as to not miss an excursion season.

FtWRHS Vice President Kelly Lynch said the inspection and rebuild is expensive and time consuming, and the society devotes a portion of is excursion revenue toward that endeavor.

During the current winter, society personnel have been conducting an external and ultrasound boiler inspection of the boiler.

The ultrasound survey is about 99 percent done, Lynch said, and crews have found that 765’s boiler is in good condition with little or no deterioration of its steel.


Warm Memories of NKP 765 on the CVSR

January 10, 2018

Nickel Plate Road No. 765 cruises along the Cuyahoga River where it runs parallel to the tracks along Riverside Road north of Boston Mill station. Alas, the vegetation is obscuring most of the river.

I have many motivations for making photographs, but chief among them is to relive later something about which I have fond memories.

There are some experiences in life that seem warmer when you look back on them than they did at the time you actually experienced them.

It wasn’t that you didn’t enjoy it at the time, but some experiences have that ability to bring sunshine to a cloudy day, warmth to a cold day, and happiness to a trying day.

Such is the case with memories of Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 plying the rails of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

The big Berkshire has run on the CVSR enough times that many railfans in Northeast Ohio have grown complacent about it. It is no longer a “must see and photograph” event for them.

Maybe so, but every time it comes I remind myself that it might not happen again. And how often can you see a mainline steam locomotive in operation?

This galley of photographs includes images that didn’t quite fit the story line of my previous postings about the NKP 765 that I wrote last September.

I purposely saved them for winter when cold temperatures and snow storms would have us pining for the warmer days of late summer and early fall.

All of these images take me back to an outing I won’t soon forget and will always remember with fondness.

Along Riverside Road during the Akron Railroad Club picnic at the Valley Picnic Area on the other side of the road.

Southbound at Hillside Road during the second excursion of the day from Rockside Road station.

Arriving at the CVSR’s Rockside Road station. Ultimately, it’s all about having an experience that can’t easily be had anymore.

The photo line captures memories to be cherished later as the NKP 765 arrives at Rockside Road station.

Greetings from the fireman’s side. Note the tribute to the late Jerry Jacobson.

The NKP 765 crew waves to the crowd waiting to board at Rockside Road station.

NKP 765 Ferry Move: 2

September 13, 2017

Akron Railroad Club member Todd Dillon also went out to photograph the ferry move of Nickel Plate Road No. 765 after it reached Northeast Ohio. Here are three of his photographs.

Top photo: Crossing the Vermilion River in Vermilion as seen from the South Street boat launch.

Middle Photo: Passing the signals near milepost 192 on the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern and across from Cleveland Hopkins Airport.

Bottom photo: Moving through the switches at CP Max as seen from Interstate 480 as the train enters Rockport Yard.


Burgers, Dogs and Steam in the Valley

September 26, 2016
The photo line is in place as Nickel Plate Road No. 767 tails on the afternoon trip from Akron.

The photo line is in place as Nickel Plate Road No. 767 trails on the afternoon trip from Akron.

Twenty-seven Akron Railroad Club members and guests ate hamburgers and hot dogs on Sunday afternoon while watching the passage of Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 767.

The Ohio-built Berkshire-type locomotive pulled its final schedule of trips to wrap up a two-week stay on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

The ARRC held a picnic at the Valley Picnic Area in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park south of Peninsula and those who were there for the full four to five hours of the picnic got to see the 767 pass by three times. They also saw the CVSR Scenic train roll past an equal number of times.

It was the club’s first autumn picnic and the weather could not have been any better. There were sunny skies with temperatures in the 70s and low humidity.

We were prompted in part to hold the picnic as a way to eat down leftover inventory from the July picnic and as a way to celebrate the visit of the steam locomotive.

No. 767 is actually NKP 765, which has visited the CVSR in 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

The 767 number was attached to the locomotive earlier this summer when it was the feature attraction at an event at its New Haven, Indiana, home to publicize the proposed Headwaters Junction rail-themed park that will be built in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana.

In the 1950s, NKP 767 participated in a ceremony to mark the completion of the elevation of the Nickel Plate tracks through downtown Fort Wayne.

The city asked the railroad to donate the 767 for display in Lawton Park, but the railroad sent No. 765 instead, albeit with its numbers changed to 767.

When the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society restored the locomotive to operating condition in the late 1970s, it reinstated the 765 number.

The CVSR excursions if this month were the first to feature NKP 765 running as NKP 767.

The weekend excursions were reported to have been sold out and fans came from far and wide to see the 765 operate as 767.

ARRC member Paul Woodring reported that he spoke with two railfans from Denmark who were making their fifth railfanning trip to the United States.

Such was the attraction of seeing a mainline steam locomotive show what it could do.

If Nickel Plate Road 765 comes back to the CVSR in 2017 will we have another picnic? We just might no matter what roster number the 2-8-4 operates with.

Lining up at the serving table to dress the burgers and pick up a few other food items.

Lining up at the serving table to dress the burgers and pick up a few other food items.

Larry Luther (left) and Jeff Troutman (right) check out the images that Ed Ribinskas made of the Nickel Plate Road 767 earlier in the day.

Larry Luther (left) and Jeff Troutman (right) check out the images that Ed Ribinskas made of the Nickel Plate Road 767 earlier in the day.

Chef Marte, a.k.a. Marty Surdyk works his magic with the grill.

Chef Marte, a.k.a. Marty Surdyk works his magic with the grill.

Don Woods also made a photograph or two of the picnic bunch.

Don Woods also made a photograph or two of the picnic bunch.

Paul Wooding (left) and Steve Heister compare notes about railroads.

Paul Wooding (left) and Steve Heister compare notes about railroads.

Some of those at the picnic posed for a group photograph. They are (from left) Denny Tharp, Paul Tait, Tom Goughnour, Todd Dillon, Todd Vander Sluis, Ed Ribinskas (kneeling), Jeff Troutman, Marty Surdyk, Craig Sanders, Rick Houck Roger Durfee, Paul Woodring and Steve Heister. (Photograph by Larry Luther)

Last Day for Steam in the Valley 2016

September 25, 2016
Nickel Plate Road No. 767 is smoking it up as it gets underway for the second trip of the day on Saturday, Sept. 24 from Rockside Road. The view is from the East Pleasant Valley Road bridge.

Nickel Plate Road No. 767 is smoking it up as it gets underway for the second trip of the day on Saturday, Sept. 24 from Rockside Road. The view is from the East Pleasant Valley Road bridge.

Nickel Plate Road No. 765, operating as NKP 767 will be back in action today and the Akron Railroad Club is going to have a picnic to celebrate.

Chef Marte (a.k.a. Marty Surdyk) will be serving up hamburgers and hot dogs at the Valley Picnic Area between noon and 3 p.m. It is located south of Peninsula on the west side of Riverview Road along the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad tracks.

NKP 767 will be pulling trips out of Akron departing at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. It will be the last weekend for steam excursions behind the 767 this year on the CVSR.

Photograph by Craig Sanders

Taking the Farkas Challenge: Final Akron Memory

August 16, 2016


How does one end a challenge? Some would end it simply by thanking those who took the challenge, but that is not enough.

How do I thank some of you for moving out of your comfort zones? You may never have posted on the Akron Railroad Club blog prior to the challenge.

It took both hard work to get your image right and courage to write the blog entry. You did it once, you can do it again (and again and again.) You have so much to share, so please continue to do so.

For others, you have contributed to the blog before the challenge. Thank you for the time-machine glimpses of a past many of us haven’t lived.

You chose an image for the challenge, wrote the entry, and again brought Akron’s past back to life. Keep up your blog entries.

Thank you, Craig, for putting this together in your own unique way. For some members, you were their voice when they had no words.

Last of all, I’d like to thank the readers of this blog. Each of us who participated in the challenge touched your lives with a photo or memory, and you touched our lives with your comments both spoken and written.

Here is one last memory. It is June 27, 1983, at the Norfolk & Western (ex-Akron, Canton & Youngstown) yard, and Nickel Plate Road No. 765 is preparing to leave for Fort Wayne.

The past, present, and (hopefully) the future meet in this image. What memories this brings. When I first started railfanning, this was the N&W’s ex-AC&Y engine facility and blue or yellow FMs and ALCOs still lettered for the AC&Y sat ready to move the tires and other freight Akron was known for producing in the mid-1960’s.

Friendships were started. Thanks to ARRC member Paul Woodring and Mark Perri, I had a chance to see NKP 765’s first public showing under steam in September 1979. We even had short cab rides.

Who would have believed that NKP 765 wouldn’t become a stranger but would instead grace many days of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad’s Steam in the Valley excursions, but she has done so and is scheduled to do the same this year.

The names have changed from AC&Y to N&W to Norfolk Southern and finally to Wheeling & Lake Erie.

The paint schemes have changed even more, but the fun of railfanning and the great friendships brought on by it haven’t changed at all.

Thanks again to all of you. By the way, does anyone have a new challenge?

Article and Photograph by Robert Farkas


On Photography That ‘National Geographic’ Approach to Photographing the NKP 765

October 3, 2015

September 20 765 05-x

September 20 765 07-x

A couple of years ago a friend sent me a link to a gallery of photographs that documented Amtrak operations in the middle 1970s.

The photographer had received a grant that he used to pay to travel aboard Amtrak to show life on board and to charter a helicopter to make aerial images of Amtrak trains cruising on the Santa Fe through small towns in Kansas and Oklahoma.

The latter were accompanied with a short commentary that explained why he made the images in the manner that he did.

He acknowledged that his approach differed from how a typical railfan would approached photographing the trains. Railfans tend to hone in on the train, particularly, the locomotive.

But in these images of Amtrak SDP40F locomotives on the point of the Chicago-Houston Lone Star and the Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Limited, the photographer pulled back to show a wider perspective.

It was a tactic he said is frequently practiced by photographers working for National Geographic. The objective is to  lace the subject of the image in an environment by showing the context in which something was captured.

In this case, the photographer wanted to show Amtrak trains traveling through rural Kansas, a state known for its Great Plains topography and small towns.

I was impressed with the photographer’s compositions and unsuccessfully did a Google search to find out more about the National Geographic approach to photography.

The magazine is world renowned for its photography and articles. If you can get your work published in National Geographic, you are among the elite.

The National Geographic approach was on my mind as I stood atop the Ohio Route 82 bridge over the Cuyahoga River valley in Brecksville recently as I captured the passage of Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive No. 765.

It is not common to be able to get enough elevation in Northeast Ohio to provide a wide perspective. It doesn’t help that our region’s numerous trees tend to reduce the available vistas.

So in photographing the 765 at Brecksville, I made sure to zoom out and get some images such as the ones that you see here.

The top one is my favorite because of the clouds that seem to hover just over the tops of the trees on the horizon.

Both images convey a sense of the railroad and the train being located in a broad valley. We often use the word “valley” when talking about the Cuyahoga. The railroad and the national park even incorporate “valley” in their respective names.

There are many places to make photographs that convey a sense of place in the Cuyahoga Valley.

Yet most of the time the photographs we make of CVSR trains or even of the features of the CVNP fail to convey a sense of this being a wide river valley.

There are a few vistas in the CVNP that enable photographers to get enough elevation combined with enough openness to convey a sense in their images of this being a “valley.”

One of those I need to visit this fall when the foliage is at its peak. But the only place I know of in which you can photograph the CVSR and show that it is in the Cuyahoga Valley is on the Route 82 bridge.

There is nothing wrong with zeroing in on a train or its locomotive to capture its detail. Steam locomotives in particular have much to study and linger over.

Yet there are times when stepping back, even if it feels like you are moving out of the scene, can yield a rich image that helps to tell the story you are seeking to convey.

Commentary and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Steam Returns to the Cuyahoga Valley

September 21, 2015




Cloud dodging made Sunday’s photographing of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad’s “Steam in the Valley” more interesting because of the variety of shadows and exposures that were needed to be dealt with for these images.

My top image shows Nickel Plate Road No. heading south over the Deep Lock Quarry bridge over the Cuyahoga River south of Peninsula.

The middle image shows the 765 being towed northbound, which gave me a chance to take a roster shot at Everett Road in Akron.

In the bottom image, NKP 765 is highballing south into beautiful light north of Boston Mills.

Even better was that the CVSR was using Montreal Locomotive Works FPA-4s on both ends of their regular passenger train on Sunday. What a first-class operation the CVSR is!

Article and Photographs by Robert Farkas

Western New York Turns out in Droves for 765

August 3, 2015

It was a weekend of firsts for the Nickel Plate Road No. 765 and the Norfolk Southern 21st Century Steam program.

The 765 ran over some new territory when it pulled a pair of excursions on Saturday and Sunday over the Southern Tier route between Buffalo and Corning, New York.

The train carried 933 passengers on Saturday, which was a sellout, and 869 on Sunday.

The Lima-built Berkshire drew applause when it crossed the Portageville Viaduct in Letchworth State Park.

The steel trestle, erected in 1875, will soon be replaced by NS with construction set to begin later this year.

Passengers also received sparkling views of the Genesee River and the lush hills of Western New York.

A box lunch was put aboard the train at Hornell and made a two-hour layover in Corning. Some passengers took advantage of the service stop to make an optional tour of the Corning Glass Museum.

The Saturday train arrived in Buffalo nearly 90 minutes late. Some of the delay was attributed to the train slowing at grade crossings for safety reasons due to the large crowds of spectactors and photographers on hand.

The next excursion for No. 765 will be the Allentown-Pittston, Pennsylvania, Lehigh Gorge Special on Aug. 22 and 23.

6 Hours of Waiting for 3 Minutes of Action

July 28, 2015
Its a Nickel Plate steam locomotive on the former Nickel Plate Road. The 765 must have crossed this bridge countless times in the late 1940 and the 1950s.

It’s a Nickel Plate steam locomotive on the former Nickel Plate Road. The 765 must have crossed this bridge countless times in the late 1940 and the 1950s.

When Peter Bowler and I arrived on Riverside Drive just east of the Painesville trestle of Norfolk Southern last Thursday morning, we nearly had the place to ourselves. Just one other railfan was parked there.

It was nearly 7:30 a.m. and had the ferry move of Nickel Plate Road 765 followed the best case scenario, it would be showing up in about a half hour to an hour.

But ferry moves seldom, if ever, follow the best case scenario.

The 765 crew had tweeted the night before that the Berkshire would be leaving Rockport Yard in Cleveland between 7 and 11 a.m.

As the morning drug on, the crowd got larger and more diverse. There were the usual railroad enthusiasm suspects as well as the proverbial daisy pickers.

Countless numbers of people stopped and asked what everyone was doing here.

A report filtered through the crowd that westbound Norfolk Southern train No. 145 had the Virginian heritage locomotive in the lead.

Then came another report around mid morning that the 765 was waiting for the 26R and the 206 to go by and it would follow them eastward.

The NS line east of Cleveland is at best moderately busy. It can go quiet for hours, but that was not the case today.

NS put by us two westbound intermodal trains and two eastbound trains, a manifest freight and an auto rack.

I chatted with fellow Akron Railroad Club members Edward Ribinskas and Jeff Troutman, both Painesville residents. I also spoke with a couple other fans I knew.

At 10:21 a.m., the 765 crew tweeted that it was leaving Rockport Yard. Maybe it would get here by 11:30, but noon was more likely.

But that wasn’t to be. There was a 23K coming westward and what the Youngstown Line dispatcher told that train was discouraging.

The 23K would be waiting in the siding at Unionville for five eastbound trains, the 26R, the 22K, the 206, the 310 and the 955.

The latter was the symbol for the NKP 765 ferry move, although that symbol was later changed to 958.

The 145 with the NS 1069 on the lead was stuck in Conneaut and would be there for a while until all of those eastbounds got out of the way. So much for seeing the Virginian H unit today.

We counted down the number of NS eastbounds passing by. As one wag commented, we would be getting a lot of “catfish” on the Painesville trestle – a slang term for an NS locomotive – and a lot of practice making photographs of where we wanted to catch the 765.

One some outings you might not get any NS trains on the trestle. On this day I got eight of ‘em.

Some photographers worried openly about the sun angles by the time the 765 showed up.

Throughout the morning, we watched the skies turn from to partly cloudy, to sun and clouds, to partly sunny and then back to clear again.

We even watched a funeral procession pass by to a nearby cemetery and spotted a guy tooling around in a vintage automobile that was a good two to three decades older than the 765.

The crowd continued to grow in numbers to the 50 to 100 range. There was the expected barking at those who the more vocal members of the photo line thought were going to get into their photos.

I heard the 958 call a clear signal at Daniels, located about five railroad signal blocks to the west. I took my place on the photo line.

Someone said the 765 had called Jackson Street and cameras were raised and/or fixed onto tripods. The long-awaited show was about to begin.

It was 1:45 p.m. Peter and I had rendezvoused near I-271 in the eastern Cleveland suburbs at 5:30 a.m. before setting out for Painesville. We could have stayed in bed longer.

Four minutes later there was smoke, the sound of a steam locomotive whistle and then a headlight on the Painesville trestle.

Six hours of waiting were about to pay off. Three minutes later, the 765 and its train were gone.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Grand 02-x

Grand 03-x


The photo line eyes the 765 as it approaches RIverside Drive.

The photo line eyes the 765 as it approaches RIverside Drive.

The passenger cars came from Norfolk Southern and various private owners.

The passenger cars came from Norfolk Southern and various private owners.