Posts Tagged ‘Nickel Plate 765’

Riding That 765 Train (Part 2)

October 4, 2017

Nickel Plate Road 765 backs up at Rockside Road station. I got better images of the Berkshire-type engine here than I did at the photo runby site at Boston Mills.

Second of two parts

A handful of Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad personnel were on the ground as the excursion train pulled by RS18 1822 came into Boston Mills station and stopped.

At last I would get to experience life inside the cattle pen as Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 executed its photo runbys.

Having that experience wasn’t my primary reason for buying a ticket to ride behind the 765. But I did wonder what it would be like.

On the CVSR website, would-be passengers are told that they will get to watch the 765 do a runby at a secure location.

If you are standing outside the photo runby site fence, you’ve learned the meaning of the word “secure.”

If you dare cross Riverview Road to stand on the fringe of the orange plastic fence, either a CVSR official or a police officer will shoo you back to the other side of the road.

As I stood in the cattle pen, I saw a couple guys cross the road toward the far north end of the ski resort.

A Peninsula police officer saw it, too, and raced to the scene in his cruiser with the emergency lights on.

Although my train was not sold out, it did have a large crowd and it takes time to unload a few hundred people.

I was among the first people off the train, in part because my car had a small number of passengers.

A CVSR volunteer instructed us to stand behind a line of small orange cones.

That was the extent of the instructions that we received. For that matter, there was no announcement over the PA or by the car host about the photo runby. It was as though CVSR personnel figured that everyone knew what was going on.

The line of orange cones stretched back toward the Boston Mills station and was set up on an angle.

I avoided the far north end of the line, which was where many people congregated.

I heard the CVSR volunteer tell those there that the 765 would make two runbys. She asked those toward the front to get down and after the first runby to trade places with those in the back.

People were nearly shoulder to shoulder where I was standing, but I didn’t feel overly crowded.

I didn’t expect to get great photographs during the runby. One reason I had wanted to ride the afternoon trip was because the lighting would be better. The sun would be on the west side of the tracks.

Although the runbys for my excursion were performed at about 11:15 a.m., the lighting still favored the east side of the tracks.

But the west side of the train was not in deep enough shadows to mar the images by making it difficult to see the detail of the locomotive.

Many who got off the train were not photographing, just watching. Among those who did photograph, many of the images – and maybe most of them – were made with smart phones.

It used to be that “ordinary” people made photographs with point and shoot digital cameras. Now they use smart phones.

Not as many people clustered around the cab of the 765 as I expected. Instead, most people found a place in the photo line and stayed there.

There was a construction project underway across the road and shortly before the 765 began backing up for the first runby I heard that safety squawk that construction vehicles make in reverse.

I wasn’t doing video so it didn’t bother me. But I know guys who would have gone ballistic upon hearing that sound.

The beep, beep, beep was short lived and not repeated during either runby.

The runbys were nice, but not overly spectacular. I thought the 765 put on a better show when pulling into Rockside Road station earlier that morning.

I’ve also seen better smoke displays from the locomotive at other places along the CVSR.

But most of those in the photo line weren’t looking for a spectacular display of steam and smoke.

They wanted to see the big engine run by, which is what it did, twice. Many have probably never seen such a sight.

About the only advantage to being inside the Boston Mills cattle pen from a photography standpoint is being able to see the 765 coming straight at you.

There is a curve north of Boston Mills and inside the viewing area is the best place to see that without any obstruction.

Boston Mills also offers an open field, but that’s nothing that you can’t find in other places along the CVSR if you know the territory.

I didn’t have any trouble with heads or arms getting in the way of my views and everyone was well behaved.

The runbys complete, it was time to get in line and back on the train.

The rest of the trip was routine. We stopped at Fitzwater Yard to pick up the afternoon on-board crew members.

I lingered on the platform after disembarking at Rockside Road station.

The 765 and its train would go north of the station to make room for the Scenic inbound from Akron.

By now it was almost 12:30 p.m. Clouds were forming, but it was still sunny as I got my last photographs of the 765 as it backed northward.

As it turned out, the afternoon trip was 25 minutes late leaving Rockside due to late passengers and other issues I wasn’t on hand to observe.

That trip only went as far south as Peninsula and by the time the photo runbys at Boston Mills were executed, the skies had turned mostly cloudy.

It had been an enjoyable experience riding behind the 765 even if I never saw it while it was pulling the train. But I knew it was there.

The CVSR is one of the few places where the 765 can operate. Every year there is talk about the 765 going to various unspecified places, but those trips seldom seem to materialize.

This year the 765 has run on Metra in Chicago and on the CVSR. No fall excursions have been announced of which I am aware.

Many Northeast Ohio railfans have probably become indifferent toward the 765 running on the CVSR. Been there, done that.

The Berkshire-type locomotive has been a regular fixture on the CVSR since 2010 except for a couple of years.

Yet I always treat each appearance of the 2-8-4 as its last because some day that might be the case.

Disembarking at Boston Mills for the photo runbys. I’ve made many photographs over the years of people getting off from the outside perspective, but never from the on the train perspective.

Getting a photograph of the NKP 765 backing up for the first of two photo runbys at Boston Mills.

Here comes the first photo runby.

Not everyone disembarked at Boston Mills for the photo runbys. They enjoyed waving and taking in the scene.

The second photo runby is getting underway as the 765 charges southward toward the waiting crowd.

Blowing the whistle at Boston Mills. The 765 crew paid tribute to the late Jerry Jacobson by placing his name on both sides of the cab.

Time to get back on board the train following the runbys. We’ll need that step box.

He’s wearing a NKP hat, sitting in a former NKP coach and riding behind a NKP steam locomotive.

Reviewing the video that they made on their smart phones of the 765.

A pair of youthful photographers watch for the steam engine at Hillside Road.

Lending a helping hand to a detraining passenger at Rockside Road.

A wave from my car host as the train leaves the station at Rockside Road.

Advertisements

Riding that 765 Train (Part 1)

October 3, 2017

Nickel Plate Road 765 backs up beneath Rockside Road to make way for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad train scheduled into Rockside Road station in about 15 minutes.

First of two parts

The idea seemed to come out of nowhere. I was thinking ahead to chasing Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 during its first weekend on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

What could I do with the 765 that I haven’t done before? Why not ride behind it?

Actually, I have ridden behind the 765, but that had been in September 2010 out of Akron. I had not ridden behind the 765 on the north end of the CVSR.

I knew from writing stories for the Akron Railroad Club blog that coach tickets were $25, which is not much more than the fare to ride the CVSR’s National Park Scenic.

Besides, I wanted to experience what it was like to be inside the Boston Mills cattle pen during the photo runbys of the Berkshire-type locomotive.

In the early years of steam returns to the Valley, you could walk into the station area and mingle among the paying passengers.

But in the past few years security has been tight, keeping the riff raff away from the station and confining non-passengers to Boston Park or the parking area of the Boston Mill ski resort on the west side of Riverview Road.

It was late in the week when I went onto the CVSR website to buy my ticket. I planned to ride the afternoon trip out of Rockside Road station, but it was sold out.

There were plenty of tickets for the morning trip, scheduled to depart at 9:30 a.m., a half-hour after the departure of the first run of the Scenic.

The 765 trip had five coaches and I deliberately chose No. 5. My thinking was that most people would buy tickets in the first car that came up.

Presuming that the morning trip didn’t sell out, I figured that coach 5 would be the least crowded.

As it turned out, my reasoning that coach 5 would be less crowded proved to be correct.

I arrived at the Rockside Road station at 8:15 a.m.,which was just in time to see the steam train slowly rolling past the station and north of Rockside Road to clear up for the Scenic.

I found a parking space close to the tracks and was trackside in plenty of time to photograph the 765 being towed northward on its ferry move. The early morning light was nice.

CVSR personnel do not allow passengers on the platform before the arrival of a train, so my views of the inbound ferry move of the Scenic from Fitzwater yard were limited and hindered by a wood fence.

The Scenic arrived at 8:45 a.m. and departed on schedule at 9. The 765 rolled into the station about 10 minutes later.

Rockside has two gates to the platform and I had stationed myself at the northernmost one. A CVSR trainman said coach 5 would board from there.

It turned out, though, that coach 5 was spotted south of the southernmost gate. So I had to walk nearly the length of the platform to board.

The advantage of being at the northernmost gate, though, was a more open view of the steam locomotive as it came into the station.

Longtime Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society member Rich Melvin retired as a steam locomotive engineer last year, but is still part of the operating crew.

He handled the radio communications during Saturday’s trips and appeared to be performing a supervisory role.

He directed the engineer to make lots of smoke and steam as the 765 entered the station.

The CVSR trainman opened the north gate to the platform shortly after the steam train halted.

However, the south gate remained closed and a long line of people stood behind it.

I was the sole person on the platform other than CVSR personnel as I walked toward the vestibule for coach 5.

It turned out that nearly all of the premium fare passengers, those in the open-window coaches, the Saint Lucie Sound and the dome car Silver Bronco, would board through the same vestibule that I did.

That was because those cars were beyond the south end of the platform. I was the first passenger to board coach 5. I elected to sit toward the rear of the car.

The next car to the north was the concession car and the doors between coach 5 and that car were open, allowing the scent of fresh popcorn to waft through my car.

I sat on the west side of the train because the lighting would be better for from-the-train photographs. It also meant I would not see as many trackside photographers because most would be on the east side of the tracks to take advantage of the best light angles.

We left shortly after our scheduled departure time of 9:30 a.m. The operating plan was to go as far south as Botzum, reverse direction and stop at Boston Mills for the photo runbys.

I would later learn, though, that going to Botzum was just a suggestion and maybe even a subterfuge to mess with photographers listening on the radio. In actual practice, the crew would run as far as they could until 10:30 a.m., stop and reverse direction.

It takes a few minutes to do the latter because control of the train is transferred from the 765 to the diesel on the north end – in this case RS18u No. 1822 – and a brake test must be completed.

We didn’t make it to Botzum, instead getting as far as Indigo Lake. I would later learn that some photographers had heard the highball for Botzum  and were waiting at Howe Meadow. They never saw the 765 pass their position.

Not far into our journey, the conductor radioed the 765 to say we needed to make a stop at Brecksville station to pick up three passengers.

I was surprised that at no point during our journey were there ever any announcements made to welcome us aboard or to provide instructions for the photo runby. In fact, there no announcements about anything.

Nor did the car host check our tickets. Not once during my trip did any CVSR personnel ask to see my ticket.

The run down to Indigo Lake was uneventful. There were photographers and train watchers along the route, but not a high number of them.

On the return leg, the train made an unexpected stop in Peninsula. In response to a question from the engineer of the 1822, Rich Melvin had said he would spot the train at Boston Mills.

But as the train came into Peninsula the 1822 engineer confused it with Boston Mills and halted the train.

The conducted immediately asked the 1822 on the radio “what’s going on?”

The engineer said he was waiting for the 765 to spot him, but stopped when that did not happen.

The conductor told the engineer that was to be at Boston Mills, not Peninsula.

Melvin chimed in with a similar retort. The engineer admitted his confusion and we continued northward.

Gotta sell tee shirts and sweat shirts to earn money to buy coal.

A CVSR trainman ponders his duties once the 765 and its train arrive at Rockside Road. In the background is the Scenic train.

Capturing the move of the 765 into the station on a tablet.

The 765 engineer heeded Rich Melvin’s command to make smoke and steam as the engine arrived into the station at Rockside Road. What a nice show.

Rich Melvin surveys the platform at Rockside Road as the train arrives.

For a brief time I had the platform virtually to myself and was the first to board at the south end.

Outside the windows of CVSR coach 166 a line has formed to board.

Camera are out at Jaite.

Crossing the Cuyahoga River.

If I wasn’t riding I, too, might be watching and photographing at Deep Lock Quarry.

On its Way Back Home to Indiana

September 27, 2017

Here are four images of Nickel Plate Road No. 765’s westward ferry movement through the Bellevue area on Tuesday.

The top image is east of Bellevue at a place referred to as Kimball.

The remaining images were taken in Bellevue as the 765 headed west on the wye to the Fostoria District of Norfolk Southern.

A big thank you goes out to the crew of NKP 765 and all who brought the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad’s  2017 “Steam in the Valley” together. With the sweltering heat of the last couple weeks it must have been brutal!

Article and Photographs by Robert Farkas

Parting Images of NKP 765

September 26, 2017

We could not have asked for a better day from a weather standpoint than what we had this past Sunday.

Although Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 was making its final public trips on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad that day, chasing the Berkshire-type locomotive was not in my plans.

Instead, I was going to explore some new territory for me in Northeast Ohio.

But I made it a point to at least get down to the CVSR to catch the morning ferry move to Akron.

I was hoping for foggy conditions as had occurred last year, but that wasn’t to be. Although the temperatures for Sunday were going to climb into the 80s, it was still somewhat cool in the morning.

I know from previous years that cool mornings in September often yield a nice smoke and steam show from the 765 during its first outing of the day.

The ferry move left Fitzwater shops and yard just before 9 a.m. I was waiting in Brecksville just south of the station.

The 765 did not disappoint. It put forth one fine show as it chugged past, sounding as good as it looked.

NKP 765 Puts on Another Great Show

September 25, 2017

 

Here are three images of Nickel Plate Road No. 765 southbound on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad this past Saturday. All three photos were taken in Jaite with the top and middle images taken in the morning and the bottom image taken in the afternoon.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Best of the Rest (From the Picnic)

September 21, 2017

To borrow a line used by Paul Woodring to title a couple of his programs at Akron Railroad Club meetings, here are the best of the rest of the photographs that I made during the ARRC picnic this past Sunday.

I ended up spending all day at the picnic site, which is located along Riverview Road south of Peninsula in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

I didn’t do any chasing of the Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765. Sometimes, it’s nice to let the steam locomotive come to you. And it did, four times.

The regular National Park Scenic train of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad also passed by three times. So I photographed it, too.

So here are the best of the rest of my images from last Sunday.

FPA-4 No. 6771 wears its snazzy livery and pulled the Scenic northward during the weekend.

The first of two southbound passages of the Scenic past the Valley Picnic Area in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

The second of two southbound runs of the Scenic.

The Scenic heads north for the final time of the day. About 20 minutes later the steam train would come charging north behind it.

Passengers in the Saint Lucie Sound look us over as their train rolls northbound in the afternoon. NKP 765 was trailing at this point, not pulling the train.

 

Wonderful Day for a Picnic and Steam

September 18, 2017

The photo line is out as Nickel Plate Road No. 765 passes the Valley Picnic Area en route back to Akron with the first excursion of the day.

It was a perfect day for a picnic. Under sunny skies with temperatures in the upper 70s, 17 Akron Railroad Club members and guests descended on the Valley Picnic Area in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park to watch Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 pass by four times as it carried excursionists out of Akron on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

The Berkshire locomotive built in Lima, Ohio, performed flawlessly and cameras were out to record its passage.

At least one ARRC member, Vice President Emeritus J. Gary Dillon, was aboard the train, riding in car 165 on the afternoon trip with his niece Lisa.

As always, Chef Martè fired up the grill and served up hamburgers and hot dogs.

It was the second time the ARRC has held a September picnic in the CVNP in conjunction with a visit by the 765.

Last year we also held a picnic at the same location when the 765 was operating as the 767. Attendance at that picnic was 27 and may have been boosted by the novelty factor of NKP 765 operating with a different number.

We observed that there didn’t seem to be quite as many photographers out chasing the 765 as there had been last year or in some previous years.

To be sure, there were still a lot of people in the park with cameras. But the posse chasing 765 along Riverview Road as the steam train passed by wasn’t as long as in previous years and we didn’t recognize anyone we knew.

However, the steam trains appeared to be well patronized and as in past years the premium seats in the open window and dome cars were sold out.

Between runs of the steam train we also observed the passage of the regular CVSR train, the National Park Scenic, three times.

It had FPA-4 No. 6771 on the north end and Alco C424 No. 4241 on the south end. Most of the CVSR’s feature cars were on the steam train so the Scenic had an abbreviated consist that included a caboose.

For the record the steam train had RS18u No. 1822 on its north end.

If you missed the 765 this past weekend, it will be pulling another slate of trips on Sept. 23 out of Rockside Road station and on Sept. 24 out of Akron.

The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society is paying tribute to the late Jerry Joe Jacobson, a lifetime ARRC member, by placing his name beneath the cab widows on both sides of the 765 above the number.

Jacobson, who died on Sept. 13, was the developer of the Age of Steam Roundhouse as well as a friend of the steam locomotive preservation community.

The chef has another round of burgers on the grill while hungry members go through the serving table.

When two old railroaders get together they are going to talk a little shop. Paul Woodring (left) and Bob Rohal try to solve the problems of the industry while agreeing it’s not what it used to be.

The engineer of NKP 765 gives us some whistle as the train passes the ARRC picnic. The locomotive paid tribute to Jerry Jacobson on the cab.

A few ARRC members can be seen at right photographing the northbound excursion in mid afternoon.

The sunlight was still barely over the tree line as the last excursion of the day headed for Akron along Riverview Road.

NKP 765 on the CVSR on Saturday

September 17, 2017

Here are three images of Nickel Plate Road No. 765 on Saturday on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad for 2017’s “Steam in the Valley.” The top and middle images are the 2-8-4  heading south in Brecksville and being towed north Peninsula, respectively. The bottom image is of the 765 heading through Brecksville after the clouds have begun to move in.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Steam is Back in the Valley

September 15, 2017

Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 made kicked off a two week stay on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad late Friday afternoon with an excursion for CVSR members and volunteers.

The steamer left Rockside Road Station at 5:30 p.m. for a three-hour trip that included a cash bar, snacks and a chance to see the big Berkshire up close before sun set.

The photographs above were made of the south trip south of Brecksville.

The 765 will be back in action with two public excursions from Rockside Road station on Saturday and two trips from Akron on Sunday.

ARRC Picnic a Highball for Sunday

September 15, 2017

With the weather forecast for the weekend showing sunny skies and only a 10 percent chance of precipitation, the Akron Railroad Club will hold its picnic in the valley this Sunday (Sept. 17).

The event will be held at the Valley Picnic area south of Peninsula along Riverview Road on the west side of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad tracks.

Chef Martè (a.k.a. Marty Surdyk) will fire up the grill at approximately noon and serve up burgers and hot dogs.

The club will supply buns, condiments, and a limited supply of snacks and beverages. Members are asked to bring some side dishes and desserts.

The chef will be serving up hot food until the last passage of Nickel Plate Road No. 765, which is expected to be late afternoon.

Depending on what time you arrive, you can expect to see the 2-8-4 and its train pass the picnic site four times, twice going north and twice going south.

The excursion trains are expected to leave Akron at 11:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m., which is 20 and 25 minutes respectively after the scheduled departure of the CVSR National Park Scenic trains.

The Scenic is scheduled to arrive in Peninsula on Sunday southbound at 9:50 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. and northbound at 11:45 a.m. and 3:40 p.m.

Assuming that the NKP 765 and its train have the same running time as the Scenic of about 45 minutes to reach the picnic area, it should pass the picnic area at approximately noon and 4 p.m.

The steam trips are advertised as two-hour excursions and include a photo runby at Boston Mill station.

The southbound trips, which will have NKP 765 leading, should make their return trips between about 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. for the first trip of the day, and between 4:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. for the second excursion.

Please note that parking at the picnic site is limited.