Posts Tagged ‘Leviathan No. 63’

Steam Sunday: 21st Century 4-4-0

June 13, 2021

Yesterday we looked at a 4-4-0 locomotive built in the 20th century that was still in operation in March 2014 when I visited Walt Disney World. A month later in April 2014  I ran across yet another 4-4-0 locomotive that had been built in the 21st Century.

It was the Leviathan, which was pulling excursion trains on tourist railroad Lorain & West Virginia in Wellington. A replica of a famous 19th century steamer, this rendition of the Leviathan was completed in 2009.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Steam Saturday: Owosso 2009 Memories

March 13, 2021

Train Festival 2009 in Owosso, Michigan, was noted for the variety of live steam locomotives present.

These ranged from the recently constructed 4-4-0 Leviathan, which represented the oldest steamer from the 19th century, to Southern Pacific 4-8-4 No. 4449, which traveled the greatest distance from Portland, Oregon, to attend.

These steamers were amazing sights to see. Here are a few of my favorite photos made during the festival.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Remembering the Owosso Train Festival of July 2009

July 28, 2019

Southern Pacific Daylight 4449 returns to Owosso in late afternoon after an day trip to Alma and back on the former Ann Arbor Railroad.

It was 10 years ago this month that 36,000 people flocked to Train Festival 2009 held in Owosso, Michigan.

There was something for everyone, ranging from three mainline steam locomotives in steam to excursions to a Lego model railroad layout.

The event, held at the home of the Steam Railroading Institute, had its share of glitches, including rain, long lines to tour the steam locomotive cabs and a mechanical breakdown of SRI’s own steamer, Pere Marquette No. 1225.

Aside from Railfair 1999 in Sacramento, California, it was one of the most comprehensive railfan-oriented events I’ve ever attended.

A number of Akron Railroad Club members attended the event, which was held July 23-26.

I originally wasn’t going to attend the festival until I figured out a way to do it on the cheap.

My wife had a cousin who lived near Flint, Michigan, which is about 30 to 45 minutes from Owosso.

Dan was agreeable to going with me to the festival and I could stay at his house, thus avoiding lodging expenses.

The festival officially opened on July 24, but everything was up and running on July 23, a Thursday, and the day I was there.

After parking, Dan and I walked to a location north of the festival so I could photograph the day excursion being pulled by former Southern Pacific Daylight 4-8-4 No. 4449.

Getting open view of the Daylight and its train wasn’t a problem, but rain and overcast skies were.

I was still using slide film and I didn’t have enough film speed to make good images. My photographs turned out dark and a little blurry.

Then it was on to the festival itself, which featured the 1225, Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765, Leviathan 4-4-0  No. 63, three 0-4-0T switchers (Flagg Coal Company 75, Little River Railroad No. 1 and Viscose Company No. 6), and Little River Railroad 4-6-2 No. 110.

The latter provided motive power at one end of the one-hour excursion trains that operated throughout the day while the tank engines took turns taking a spin on the SRI turntable.

You could also purchase throttle time behind some of the tank engines and look inside their cabs.

The Leviathan had just been completed and was making its “world premier” at the festival.

Another notable visitor was Southern Railway FP-7 No. 6133, which traveled from the North Carolina Transportation Museum. It did not operate during the festival but you could visit its cab.

There was a large-scale model of Norfolk & Western 4-8-4 No. 611 on static display and a few live steamers taking passengers for rides on temporary track.

There were diesels pulling the 7.5-inch gauge trains and I spotted Akron Railroad Club member Paul Emch at the throttle of one of those.

Also on display was a Great Lakes Central freight locomotive and various pieces of rolling stock from the SRI collection.

I wanted to maximize my time seeing the exhibits and steam locomotives so I didn’t chase any of the excursions.

Another factor was that I didn’t know the territory where the excursions were operating and didn’t want to try to learn it on the fly.

But ARRC members Peter Bowler and Paul Woodring did chase. Peter, in particular, was all-in on the festival, chasing multiple trips and taking part in the night photo shoot.

Another ARRC member on hand for the festival was the late Richard Jacobs.

For some reason, the line to see the cab of the 1225 was far shorter than that of the 765, so I focused on it.

That turned out to be a good thing because the 1225 later in the day developed a problem with a flue and had to be shut down. It missed its assigned turn pulling the day excursion on Saturday.

By late afternoon the clouds had begun to break and sunlight began peeking through.

That meant the SP Daylight and its train would return in sunlight and I could, at last, get decent images of it.

The challenge, though, was the sun angle. The 4449 and its train would be coming almost directly out of the sun. At best I could get good light on the side of the locomotive.

On the flip side of that equation, it meant good light for the pair of former Milwaukee Road passengers, including a Skytop lounge-observation car, in their striking traditional passenger livery.

I hung around a little while longer to get more photographs of the 4449 after it had cut off from its train and returned to the festival grounds.

The next morning I had a long drive ahead of me. The ARRC was meeting that night and I planned to get back in time to preside at the meeting.

But I spent time that morning photographing Canadian National trains in Durand and Amtrak trains in Ann Arbor before driving home to Ohio.

As far as I remember, most ARRC members who attended the festival stayed around a few more days.

Paul tells the story of how he spent most of his time chasing the excursion trains and making video, but he did visit the festival grounds on the last day.

At one point during a chase, he became annoyed at an airplane that was circling the excursion train and making a lot of noise in doing so.

If the festival were being held today, he noted, the party that chartered the plane to get overhead video would use a less noisy drone.

“I’m glad I got to go,” Paul wrote “It will probably be the only time I’ll ever get to see the SP Daylight.”

He said a prominent memory of the festival was arriving at the motel in Owosso at which he had made a reservation months earlier and upon arriving to check in being told he didn’t have a room.

Paul said he had been quoted a great rate when he made the reservation, but the motel didn’t give him a confirmation number and he had not asked the name of the man who took his reservation.

He thinks that what happened was that once the motel owners found out about the train festival they jacked up their rates.

“So, I staged a sit-in in the lobby loudly complaining to anyone who would listen what they did to me, until they gave me a room not normally given out because it really wasn’t in very good shape.

“However, I didn’t have much choice at that point because there weren’t any other rooms available all the way to Lansing.

Paul said he learned a lesson about doing everything possible to confirm room and rate when making motel reservations.

Memories, photographs and video of the Owosso train festival were the focus of the January 2010 ARRC program.

Four of us were to present with Paul showing video of his steam train chases, Peter showing still images of the steam excursions and night photo shoot, and Jake and myself showing images of the festival displays.

The program went off as scheduled, but I never got to show my images. Two weeks before the ARRC meeting I tore the retina in my left eye in three places and had to have surgery.

I was still recovering from that surgery and couldn’t attend the ARRC meeting. So Jake, Peter and Paul presented their segments in what was the first use of the tag team program format during an ARRC program.

So with this post I am finally showing, nearly 10 years later some of the images I would have shown on that cold January night had I been able to attend the ARRC meeting.

A view of the engineer’s seat inside Pere Marquette 1225. A mechanical problem later that day would mean the Berkshire would only be in steam for just one day during the festival.

A view from cab level of Pere Marquette 1225.

The former Milwaukee Road passengers cars on the rear of the long steam excursions was a most pleasing sight.

At one end of the hour-long excursions that operated throughout the day was this Great Lakes Central GP35 while . . .

. . . Little River Railroad provided the motive power for the other end of the train.

The newly completed Leviathan made its “world premier” at the Owosso train festival.

Viscose Company No. 6 takes a spin on the turntable as seen from the cab of the Leviathan.

The 2009 train festival has proved thus far to be my only encounter with Flagg Coal Company No. 75. Ahead of it is Little River Railroad No. 1

A Southern FP7 from the North Carolina Railroad Museum made the trip to Michigan to be among the displays of railroad equipment.

Norfolk & Western 611 made an appearance in Owosso — well, at least a model of it.

Two CN trains meet on the double track in front of Durand Union Station on Friday morning.

An Amtrak Wolverine Service train arrives in Ann Arbor on July 24. It was my last railfanning experience during my visit to the 2009 train festival in Owosso.

Leviathan Goes to Pa. Events Center

June 29, 2018

Leviathan was displayed at the steam festival in Owosso, Michigan, in July 2009.

Wanted be married on a steam locomotive? You’ll get your chance if you say your vows at a wedding and special events venue in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, which is the new home of a replica of an 1860s steam locomotive.

Leviathan No. 63, is now being housed at Stone Gables Estate, a 275-acre farm that includes an 1872 Gothic barn and a working horse ranch.

No. 63, which was built by Dave Kloke, is a replica of an 1868 Central Pacific 4-4-0 American-type steam locomotive

It took Kloke 10 years to build the oil-burning locomotive at his construction company shop in Elgin, Illinois.

The locomotive has appeared with the Lincoln Funeral Car replica train and has traveled to tourist railroads, museums, and festivals across in the East and Midwest.

It has been stored in recent years at the the Age of Steam Roundhouse in Sugarcreek.

Kloke used plans from the replica Jupiter, now on display at the Golden Spike National Historic Site at Promontory Summit in Utah.

Leviathan is not an exact replica of the Central Pacific locomotive. It has air brakes, which the original did not have.

Also, the backhead has two water glasses to conform to modern safety standards.

Lincoln Funeral Train to Visit Troy, Ohio

July 30, 2015

A replica of the funeral car of the Lincoln funeral train will make a visit to Troy, Ohio, on Sept. 10-13.

The car will be open on Thursday and Friday from noon to 8 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Admission will be $5 for adults. Children, age 18 and under or in grade K through 12, will be admitted free.

Also on hand will be the Leviathan, a replica of a 19th century steam locomotive. The funeral car and locomotive will be placed on the west side of the Miami County Court House, 201 West Main Street.

Historical re-enactors will be on the courthouse lawn throughout the weekend.

The Lincoln funeral train car earlier this year visited Wellington and Painesville and is on a national tour.

Lincoln Funeral Train Visits Painesville

June 7, 2015

Amtrak No. 48 with the Phase I heritage locomotive on the point rushes past the Painesville depot and the Lincoln funeral train.

Amtrak No. 48 with the Phase I heritage locomotive on the point rushes past the Painesville depot and the Lincoln funeral train.

Large crowds turned out in Painesville on Saturday and Sunday to visit the Lincoln funeral train.

Akron Railroad Club Treasurer Edward Ribinskas and his wife, Ursula, reported that they arrived at the former New York Central station in Painesville at about 11:20 a.m. and had to wait just over an hour to get inside the replica of the railroad car that carried the body of Abraham Lincoln from Washington, D.C., to Springfield, Illinois, in 1865.

Also on hand was the Leviathan, a reproduction of a 19th century steam locomotive. Although the train sat next to a set of railroad tracks it actually arrived on site by truck.

An unplanned visitor to the site was Amtrak train No. 48, which was operating about an hour and 45 minutes late.

However, the Lake Shore Limited had P42DC No. 156 on the point, which is the Phase I heritage locomotive.

“With all the clutter it was the best I could do to incorporate the Leviathan and funeral car,” Ed reported.

Before arriving in Painesville, the Lincoln funeral train had already made stops in Ashland and Wellington.

The original Lincoln funeral train would have passed through Painesville in 1865. The train made 26 stops on a 1,600-mile journey that included Cleveland on April 28.

A special pagoda structure was erected on Public Square so mourners could pay their respects.

After Cleveland, the train proceeded down the Big Four to Columbus.

Ed reported that he was told that 2,400 people visited the funeral train in Painesville on Saturday and he said it appeared that a similar-size crowd turned out on Sunday.

Visitors were asked to make a $5 donation that will go toward the expense of restoring the ex-NYC Painesville station.

Sponsors of the Painesville visit included the Painesville Railroad Museum, which owns the depot; Division 5 of the National Model Railroad Association, the Cuyahoga Valley S Gaugers, and the Lake County Visitors Bureau.

Also on hand were actors portraying Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas












Lincoln Funeral Train Visit Planned for Painesville

May 4, 2015

A reproduction of the railroad car that carried the body of President Abraham Lincoln will make a stop in Painesville on June 6 and 7.

The Lincoln Funeral Train will be at the former New York Central station. The original Lincoln funeral train made a stop here on April 28, 1865, as it carried the body of the slain president from Washington, D.C., to Springfield, Ill.

The June visit is being sponsored by the Painesville Railroad Museum, which is owned by the Western Reserve Railroad Association

Tickets are $5 per person with a $10 family ticket available. Hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on each day. The depot is located at 475 Railroad Street.

The Painesville visit is part of the 150th anniversary observance of the assassination of Lincoln in Washington.

Also on display will be the Leviathan No. 63, a replica 19th century 4-4-0 steam locomotive.

Proceeds from the event will go toward funding the depot restoration project and maintaining the grounds, which recently was designated by the city as a historic district.

For further information visit .

Leviathan Returning to Wellington for Excursions

April 23, 2015

The Leviathan is returning to Wellington over the Memorial Day weekend and will be joined by a replica of a Lincoln Funeral train car.

Illinois construction contractor David Kloke built the 4-4-0 No. 63 as well as a replica of the car that carried the body of assassinated President Abraham Lincoln from Washington, D.C., to Springfield, Ill., in April-May 1865.

That train’s route took it through Wellington during the early morning hours of April 29 after it left Cleveland at midnight and arrived in Columbus at 7 a.m.

Between Cleveland and Columbus the train traveled tracks now owned by CSX and previously owned by the Big Four.

The Lake Shore Railway Association of Wellington will operate the Leviathan and the Lincoln Funeral Car over six miles of former Lorain & West Virginia trackage.

The excursion trains will include air conditioned coaches, a caboose, and an open air car (weather permitting).

Trains will operate May 23-25 at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., and 5 p.m. A night photo session will be held at 8 p.m. on May 23 that will feature the Leviathan, the Lincoln Funeral Car and Civil War re-enactors.

Tickets are $30 for adults, $15 for children under 12 and $25 for seniors. Night photo session tickets are $50 and limited to 40 people.

Aside from building the Leviathan, Kloke also built the York, another 4-4-0 replica based in Pennsylvania at the Steam into History attraction near York.

He created the Lincoln funeral train car to mark the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s death. Kloke plans to begin tours with the car in May that will continue into the fall.

The tour of the Lincoln funeral train car will begin in Springfield, Ill., and visit many of the cities where the 1865 Lincoln funeral train stopped.

The touring replica funeral train car will have two lanterns that were used on the original funeral train.

For more information about the visit of the Leviathan and Lincoln funeral train car to Wellington, go to

Lack of Money Halts Leviathan’s Columbus Plans

April 23, 2014

Leviathan No. 63 won’t be making a planned stop in Columbus because the organizers of the visit failed to raise enough money to display the replica locomotive at the Ohio Statehouse.

The organizing group also ran out of time to secure the needed permits to move the 4-4-0 locomotive via truck to Columbus.

About $2,000 had been donated to help bring the Leviathan to the Statehouse. Instead, that money will be applied toward bringing the locomotive to Columbus in 2015 as part of the 150th-anniversary re-enactment of Lincoln’s funeral train tour.

The group said it needed $9,000 to display the Leviathan on the Statehouse grounds as well as permits to move the engine via highways.

The visit of the Leviathan was to be sponsored by the 2015 Lincoln Funeral Train project, a nonprofit group planning an event that spans seven states and uses no government funding.

The group is also working on building a replica of the funeral car that carried the Lincoln’s body by rail back to his hometown of Springfield, Ill.

Lincoln’s body lay in state in the Ohio Statehouse rotunda on April 29, 1865, before the train continued its journey.

The Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board is planning an observance of the anniversary of Lincoln’s death and the display of his body at the Statehouse for next year.

Another Colorful Easter Egg Hunt

April 22, 2014


This year’s Easter egg hunt started early on Thursday evening and finished on Sunday evening.

On Thursday I went to Bellevue in hopes of catching the NMRA locomotive.  After several trains had passed, the NS 3215 led a train toward Toledo.

I gave chase and caught it a few times, but the shot that I wanted and what was clearly the best was at the crossing of the Portage River in Oak Harbor.

Friday morning, I was working at Port Clinton and was on my way back when I caught an NS train off the Ohio Route 2 overpass at Danbury.

Near Huron, I saw another NS train with Canadian Pacific power that I photographed at Amherst.

Later in the day, I went to Wellington and caught the Leviathan making some trips. However, I missed the Union Pacific 2002 winter Olympic engine.

Saturday brought the Southern heritage unit leading a train at the drawbridge in downtown Cleveland and a return to Wellington to get some more photos of Leviathan and the Virginian Heritage unit on a CSX train.

Lastly, Sunday brought the New York Central heritage unit to Brady Lake after taking nearly all afternoon getting across the Cleveland area.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon