Say goodbye to Nickel Plate Road No. 765 and hello to NKP No. 767. At least for now.
The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society on Friday announced that it has renumbered its 2-8-4 Berkshire and it will be sporting No. 767 when it runs on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad next month.
The number change was made in conjunction with an announcement of plans for the Headwaters Junction in downtown Fort Wayne, a railroad themed park.
Why No. 767? Because that was the number of the Nickel Plate steam locomotive that was hand in October 1955 to help Fort Wayne officials celebrate the opening of a $9 million track elevation project.
NKP 767 broke a ceremonial ribbon more than 60 years ago for the track elevation project.
When the NKP was retiring its steam locomotives, Fort Wayne interests asked the railroad to donate No. 767 for display in the city’s Lawton Park
Instead, Fort Wayne received No. 765 because railroad managers believe it to be in be condition for preservation. Railroad officials said the 767 was in rough condition.
No. 765 had regularly operated between Fort Wayne and Chicago and was a favorite among NKP crews.
However, when the 765 was placed in the park, its number board and number plate had been switched with the 767 and shop forces had repainted No. 767 on the locomotive and tender.
Number 767 remained in place until 1974 when the Fort Wayne society began restoring the Lawton Park locomotive to operating condition.
Wanting to be historically accurate, the society renumbered it 765 to accurately reflect what it had been when built in Lima, Ohio, in 1944.
Society spokesman Kelly Lynch said the 767 number will stay on for the remainder of 2016.
The locomotive will have a 767 number plate and lighted number board. Magnetic numbers have been added to the sides of the cab and rear of the tender.
Also new on the locomotive is an oscillating red Mars light to the front of the smokebox and above the headlight.
Lynch noted that NKP Berkshires operated with such lights in the 1950s. The Mars light on the 765 was removed during its 1975 restoration work.
No. 767 will pull trips on the CVSR on Sept. 17, 18, 24 and 25 and tickets are now on sale for those excursions.