Posts Tagged ‘Nickel Plate Road No. 765’

What to Make of More Stringent 765 Security

September 28, 2018

It probably was inevitable that after a woman was struck and killed in Colorado last July by Union Pacific 4-8-4 No. 844 that security surrounding the visit of Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in September would be tight.

The woman who was killed was standing on the ties as the Northern-type steamer passed through Henderson, Colorado. An Adams County sheriff’s investigation concluded that the woman appeared to be more focused on her phone’s screen than watching for an oncoming train.

What happened in Colorado could happen in Ohio, so the CVSR, the National Park Service, the Summit County Metroparks and the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society ratcheted up security to levels never seen during previous visits of steam locomotives.

Volunteers from the CVSR and FtWRHS were stationed at grade crossings.

Temporary no parking signs were posted on Riverview Road between Columbia Run Road and Everett.

White plastic chain rope was set up at popular viewing locations such as Brecksville and Jaite. Those chains were present at Boston Mill in the area reserved for passengers to watch the runbys, thus making it difficult to get clear views of the steamer.

At the Deep Lock Quarry trail south of Peninsula, two Summit County Metropark rangers kept photographers from crossing the tracks and standing on the east side.

No one wants to see someone killed who is standing too close to the tracks out of ignorance or recklessness.

Although that has never happened during a visit of the 765 to the CVSR, some people, I suppose, have to be saved from themselves.

Nonetheless, I keep thinking about my favorite Robert Frost poem, The Oven Bird and its last lines: “The question that he frames in all but words. Is what to make of a diminished thing.”

It was nice to see the Nickel Plate Berkshire again and we in Northeast Ohio are fortunate to be one of two places where the 765 will operate this year.

Yet I couldn’t help but remember how during previous years security was not as tight and photographers had more freedom to stake out photo locations.

Those involved in security for the NKP 765 excursions would say it is all about safety, but if you could get them to go beyond their broad talking points, they would acknowledge that their sense of risk aversion has increased over what it was in the past.

When it comes to safety, authorities like to paint with broad rather than fine brushes. I understand that. The CVSR, park agencies and FtWRHS have much to lose if there is an incident in which the 765 strikes someone, resulting in death or a crippling injury.

Yet something has been lost and chasing after the 765 was not as enjoyable as it used to be.

Enforcement of the security measures was inconsistent and at times baffling.

At Deep Lock Quarry, I started to stand next to a photographer with a long telephoto lens who was up against the wood fence.

A Metroparks official motioned me over and said, “stand on this side” as he pointed toward the edge of the paved trail. I don’t know what that was about but it wasn’t about safety.

As has happened in previous years, a Peninsula cop sat in his cruiser on the east shoulder of Riverview Road at Boston Mill and sped northward whenever someone crossed the highway to stand near the guard rail closest to the tracks toward the north end of the ski resort.

Watching that cop shoot down Riverview to pounce on some unsuspecting photographer was comical at times.

But there was nothing funny about what happened to a teen on Sunday afternoon who crossed the road to make photographs.

The cop raced down the road and yelled at him over his SUV’s external loudspeaker in a voice loud enough to be heard clearly several hundred feet away.

Get back in the far parking lot! It was not a polite but firm “please get back on the other side of the road” command. The officer acted as though this teen’s transgression was a personal affront.

I will never forget the look on the young man’s face as he trudged back to his mother’s car.

Moments earlier an officer was camped on the west shoulder of Riverview just north of the Columbia Run picnic area and keeping photographers from crossing the road to photograph from the grassy area between the east shoulder of Riverview and the tracks. On Saturday it had been OK to stand in that grassy area.

As the 765 was abeam his patrol vehicle, he took off southbound on Riverview, getting into the images of some photographers. He could have delayed moving for 10 or 15 seconds, but didn’t.

Safety is a conundrum for the CVSR, which operates in a public park on tracks it doesn’t own.

The railroad seeks to balance the needs of safety with the desire of more than a thousand people to watch something they rarely get to see.

Fact is the CVSR, the FtWRHS and the park agencies want people to come out to watch the steam locomotive. But they also want to restrict how they can do that.

The level of security that came with this year’s 765 visit probably will be the norm for future 765 visits as well as excursions behind mainline steam locomotives elsewhere.

There were still locations where you could get clear views of the 765 and its train without getting hassled or feeling as though you were under surveillance.

The plastic chains at Jaite afforded photographers good views of the 765 coming or going to the north. During my visit to Jaite, CVSR and FtWRHS personnel watched the crowd, but no one told anyone where to stand so long as you stayed behind the chains.

Two fans I spoke with during the weekend contrasted some of the behavior they observed with the behavior of Metra police officers when the 765 ran trips between Joliet and Chicago. Both fans described the Metra officers as friendly and courteous.

Railfan photographers understand the need for security and crowd control when a steam locomotive visits. They understand that legitimate safety and crowd control needs sometimes will impinge upon where and how photography can be done. But a little consideration still goes a long way.


Sampling Ed’s Sunday NKP 765 Chase Album

September 26, 2018

Akron Railroad Club member Edward Ribinskas was among several ARRC members who turned out last Sunday to photograph and watch Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 as it pulled excursions out of Akron.

The weather was much improved over Saturday’s mostly cloudy to overcast skies, but clouds continued to linger into the late morning hours.

Ed first caught NKP 765 in the Sand Run Metropark near the CVSR Big Bend station  in Akron as it was pulled backward during the day’s first excursion.

He and his wife Ursula watched the photo runbys at Boston Mill and then returned to Sand Run to catch the 765 pulling the return trip to Akron (top photo).

The National Park Scenic was also operating as scheduled so Ed made a few images of it as well.

For the afternoon excursion, Ed caught up with the 765 as he and Ursula were walking around in Peninsula. Here is a sampling of Ed’s Sunday photographs.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Riding in the Silver Lariat

September 25, 2018

I had the chance to ride the Silver Lariat on the afternoon trip in the Valley on Saturday with Ursula and our former brother in law but still good friend Karl and his wife Laura.

Even though we were herded like cattle for the photo runby, I still got some decent shots. It helped that we had three runbys and Nickel Plate Road No. 765 always looks and sounds great. It was a sold out train.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

One of three photo runbys executed at Boston Mill.

An on the ground view of Silver Lariat during the photo runby at Boston Mill.

The view of Boston Mill from the dome section of Silver Lariat.

Images From Friday’s NKP 765 Excursion

September 24, 2018

Nickel Plate Road No. 765 passes spectators on the platform of the Canal Exploration Center in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 is visiting the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad this month to pull a series of excursions.

The first of those ran last Friday and was limited to CVSR volunteers and members. Public excursions ran over the weekend and three more public excursions are set for the weekend of Sept. 28, 29 and 30.

I almost didn’t get down to the Valley for last Friday’s trip. Rain moved in about the time I was about to leave home and a glance at the radar showed that a relatively small, but intense, area of rain was moving into the region where I wanted to photograph.

I made the trip anyway and was glad that I did for an unexpected reason.

As I stood on the platform at the CVSR’s Canal Exploration Center station I saw Dave Beach and he told me that dome-observation car Silver Solarium had been uncovered on  the rear of the train as it backed up to Rockside Road station from the Fitzwater maintenance facility.

That raised the prospect that when the excursion train left Rockside, the Silver Solarium would be operating the way it was designed to run.

Sure enough that was the case, which made getting photographs of the NKP Berkshire feel of secondary importance.

I had not intended to chase the train after it passed CEC station, but I couldn’t resist getting more images of an uncovered Silver Solarium.

I figured — correctly as it turned out — that a diesel would be on the north end of the excursion train during the Saturday and Sunday trips.

This was a rare opportunity to make photographs of the fabled California Zephyr tail car.

CVSR had placed all three of its dome cars in consecutive order on the rear of the train. That might not necessarily be a common sight after next weekend’s steam excursions.

I caught up with the excursion train again along Riverview Road south of Peninsula near the Valley Picnic area.

It didn’t rain during my time photographing and chasing the train but it was cloudy. So photography conditions were less than ideal.

But so often with photography you need to work with what you have and do what you can with it.

Operating conditions on the CVSR being what they are, views such as of the Silver Solarium are likely to be rare.

The 765 puts on a show as it cruises along Riverview Road south of Peninsula.

All three CVSR dome cars were assigned to the steam excursion train. They are (left to right) Silver Solarium, Silver Lariat and Silver Bronco.

Steaming Along the Cuyahoga

September 23, 2018

Nickel Plate Road No. 765 began its two weekend slate of excursions on Saturday morning by pulling the first of two trips that departed from Rockside Road station in Independence on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

The 2-8-4 is shown along the Cuyahoga River near the Canal Exploration Center shortly after leaving on its first trip of the day.

Unlike the excursion of Friday night, dome observation car Silver Solarium was covered by an FPA-4 diesel. On Friday, it had operated southbound uncovered.

Two excursions from Akron are scheduled for today. The 765 will be back in operation on Sept. 28, 29 and 30 with trips from Rockside Road and Akron.

That California Zephyr Look

September 21, 2018

Nickel Plate Road No. 765 made its 2018 debut on Friday evening on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad by pulling an excursion for CVSR volunteers and members.

But the star the show wasn’t the 2-8-4 Berkshire but the two newest additions to the CVSR passenger cars fleet, a pair of dome cars that once operated on  the fabled California Zephyr.

The Silver Solarium and Silver Lariat were making their inaugural trip through the Cuyahoga Valley and the railroad did it up in style.

All three CVSR dome cars were placed end to end at the rear of the train. For the southbound run to Indigo Lake, the Silver Solarium operated uncovered just as it did when it carried the markers for the CZ.

NKP 765 and the dome cars will be back in action on Saturday and Sunday with four public trips, but it remains to be seen if the Silver Solarium will operate on those days as it did Friday night or if a diesel locomotive will be attached to it.

The train is seen departing from the Canal Exploration Center station.

NKP 765 Ferrying in Cleveland

September 21, 2018

Since the ferry move of Nickel Plate Road No. 765 was at night and through the wee hours of the morning I didn’t have to go out to Bellevue to get it.

This year was a different way to get to the valley. These photos are after the train was turned on the wye at Rockport. These photos are at Brookpark Road and the Chevy plant and B&O crossing.

The top photo shows the 765 crossing Brookpark on the connection from the Belt line to the B&O yard.

Photos two through five show the train backing on CSX (B&O/CL&W) to cross the belt line and continue on the CL&W where it parallels Interstate 71 to RD and connecting to the Valley still on CSX but facing the proper direction.

What was gratifying with the move was the cooperation of CSX and no diesel whatsoever.

Photos six through eight show the 765 backing on the CL&W to connect with the CT&V at RD at Jennings near Harvard, still on CSX.

The last photo shows the train at Willow (Brookpark Road and Interstate 77).

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas



NKP 765 Makes Ferry Move in Darkness

September 20, 2018

Nickel Plate Road No. 765 made its ferry move to Northeast Ohio today largely under the cover of darkness.

Reported sightings on indicate that the steamer left the facility of the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society in New Haven, Indiana, around 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

It had reached Latty, Ohio, by almost 9:30 p.m. Leipsic at 10:14 p.m., Fostoria at 11:30 p.m. and Bellevue at 12:25 a.m.

There may have been a service stop there because the 2-8-4 was reported there as late as 1:34 a.m.

The most recent sighting posted on the website was at 2:29 a.m. at Vermilion.

There was an unconfirmed report that the ferry move was to have been made on Wednesday but was delayed to due to signal problems on the NS Fostoria District.

The FtWRHS Twitter feed seemed to substantiate that report, saying Norfolk Southern was dealing with signal outages.

The Twitter feed also said the 765 arrived at Rockport Yard. The Tweet was sent at 8:14 a.m. A report on said the steamer was at Rockport Yard at 5:30 a.m.

NKP 765 is slated to pull excursions on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad over the next two weekends.

The first of those is scheduled to depart from Rockside Road station in Independence at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.

Various videos posted online and reposted on the FtWRHS Twitter feed showed the ferry move to Fort Wayne earlier this week.

In the consist were the two dome cars the CVSR recently purchased. The cars, the Silver Solarium and Silver Lariat, are all silver and have the California Zephyr name in their nameplate.

The Silver Lariat is slated to be in the consist for the steam trips being offered on the CVSR.

Group Submits Bid for Rail Tourism Project

September 1, 2018

An artist’s rendering of Headwaters Junction.

A Minnesota real estate company is making a bid to develop the Headwaters Junction rail theme venue in Fort Wayne, Indiana, which will become the permanent home of Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive No. 765

Continental Property Group submitted the only proposal that satisfied the city’s vision of the project.

The city will decide by late this year whether to accept the proposal, which calls for developing Headwaters Junction on the site of a former New York Central now owned by the city.

Kelly Lynch, the executive director of the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, said Headwaters Junction will be a rail tourism site featuring a roundhouse, interpretative displays, meeting space, and mixed use space for restaurants and retail businesses.

Continental also has proposed other mixed-used development in downtown Fort Wayne.

FtWRHS has raised $1 million in donations and conducted a feasibility that said Headwaters Junction could generate as much as $60 million in economic impact on a $15 million to $20 million investment.

NKP 765 is currently housed in a pole barn in nearby New Haven, Indiana.

Overseeing the Headwaters Junction project is a board of directors whose members include local leaders and rail preservationists.

NKP 765 Throttle Time For Sale on CVSR

August 6, 2018

You may not be able to make smoke and steam like this, but for almost $1,000 you can be the engineer of the Nickel Plate Road No. 765.

If you’ve ever wanted to put your hands on the throttle of a steam locomotive you’ll be able to do so with Nickel Plate Road No. 765 during its visit next month to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

As it did last year, the locomotive’s owner, the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, is selling the opportunity to be an engineer or fireman on the 765 for a six-mile trip that will last approximately a half-hour on Sept. 24.

Additional dates may be added. All trips will begin and end at the CVSR’s Fitzwater Yard. For more information contact

Tickets are $999 for 30 minutes of throttle time, $299 for 30 minutes of firing time and an add-on of 30 more minutes of throttle time for $99.

Participants will be assured three miles of running forward and three miles of running backward with a three-car train that will operate at a top speed of 15 mph.

Participants will observe firing and running practices for 30 minutes and then will fire or run for 30 minutes.

Ticket prices also include a professionally captured and edited video of the experience.

You  must be 18 years of age or older, have a valid driver’s license and be in good health.

No guests will be permitted in the cab. Friends and family members may watch your departure and arrival at Fitztwater Yard.

Aside from its two weeks on the CVSR, the 765 will be kept busy this month when it appears at an open house at the FtWRHS facility in New Haven, Indiana, between Aug. 17 and 19.

Admission is free and the 765 will be under steam. Guest locomotive Jeddo Coal No. 85 will be pulling caboose trains. Train ride tickets are $5.

On Sept. 15 and 16 the 765 will be pulling excursions on Metra tracks between Chicago and Joliet, Illinois.

The four-hour trips will include a cocktail reception, VIP layover, live entertainment and more aboard first class cars from the 1940s and 50s. Tickets start at $139.