Posts Tagged ‘NKP 765’

NKP Steamer 765 Will have Pulled 4,500 Passengers by the End of Labor Day Weekend

September 2, 2015

About 4,500 passengers will have ridden behind Nickel Plate Road No. 765 by the end of the Labor Day weekend with upcoming trips in Northeast Ohio on the docket.

The Lima-built Berkshire began its 2015 excursion season in July and has since pulled all-day trips out of Fort Wayne, Indiana; Youngstown; Buffalo, New York; and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

All of those trips have been in conjunction with the 21st Century Steam program of Norfolk Southern.

This week will see the 765 sitting in a roundhouse at the Steamtown National Historical Site alongside NKP 759, which is part of the Steamtown collection in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

No. 765 will be pulling trips on Sept. 5, from Scranton to the Delaware Water Gap and on Sept. 7 from Scranton to East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.

This has been No. 765’s busiest mainline steam performance in terms of miles operated and states visited, said Kelly Lynch, the communications director of the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, which owns and maintains the 765.

“We’re the most exhausted steam-excursion crew out there,” Lynch told Trains magazine.

The engine crew will do a 31-day inspection in Scranton this week.

The 2-8-4 locomotive has pulled consists of 20 cars over routes that have not seen a steam locomotive in a quarter of a century.

The longest run the locomotive has made was the more than 250 miles that it covered between Buffalo and Corning, New York.

Other highlights of the 765’s travels has been a meet-up with the Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern’s 1925 Pacific, No. 425, and crossing the soon-to-be-replaced 240-foot-high Portageville bridge over the Genesee River in New York’s Letchworth State Park.

After the Steamtown excursions this weekend, the 765 will head for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad for three consecutive weekends of excursions that begin on Sept. 19.

NKP 765 NE Pennsylvania Trips Canceled

August 26, 2015

The sponsor of two mid-September public excursions in northeast Pennsylvania behind Nickel Plate Road No. 765 is blaming insurance problems for canceling the trips.

A statement issued by the Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley Chapter of the NRHS blamed Canadian Pacific for imposing “insurmountable insurance obstacles” on the group and the trips.

In a posting on Trainsorders.com, Rich Melvin, the 765 operations manager of the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, said a complicating factor was the delayed sale of the route to be used from CP to Norfolk Southern.

Melvin wrote that the L&W Chapter had anticipated that the track would be owned by NS by the time the excursions were to operate. But closing on that sale has been delayed by several months.

“CP is responsible to our shareholders and our customers, and so we must safeguard our operation. Our liability insurance ask is consistent with that of other railroads and reflects legal settlements from passenger train incidents in recent years,” CP spokesman Jeremy Berry told Trains magazine. “While we are willing to run these types of trips; we simply must safeguard our operation as we do this.”

The 2-8-4 Berkshire was to pull trips on Sept. 12 and 13 from Scranton, Pennsylvania, and the Tunkhannock Viaduct near Nicholson.

The trips would have used CP tracks. The chapter had planned to use money earned from the trips to help pay for the restoration of Boston & Maine 4-6-2 No. 3713 at Steamtown National Historic Site.

The 765 trips is still expected to pull a trip on Sept. 5 from Steamtown to Delaware Water Gap and on Sept. 7 from Steamtown to East Stroudsburg.

The Lima-built locomotive will also pull trips in September and early October on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad before returning home to its base in New Haven, Indiana.

They Make the NKP 765 Go

August 9, 2015
Nickel Plate Road 765 engineer Gary Bensmen talks with a fellow crew member from the cab window. A report on Trainordres.com said that Bensmen has been with the Fort Wayne group since the 1970s and is one of the most experienced steam locomotive engineers in the country.

Nickel Plate Road 765 engineer Gary Bensmen talks with a fellow crew member from the cab window. A report on Trainordres.com said that Bensmen has been with the Fort Wayne group since the 1970s and is one of the most experienced steam locomotive engineers in the country.

Most photographs of Nickel Plate Road No. 765 feature the locomotive. I make plenty of those images, too, because a steam locomotive in action can offer a dramatic scene.

Yet I also make it a point when I can to get images of the crew working on the locomotive or the train because those add a human interest touch.

The photographs shown in this sequence were all made in Ashtabula during a ferry move of the 765 in late July from Cleveland to Youngstown.

The 765 and its train had gone into a siding to take on a new Norfolk Southern operating crew and to allow westbound train No. 145 to pass by.

Once the latter was out of the way, the 765 then moved onto the Youngstown Line.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

NS employees and 765 crew members conduct a job briefing before the new pilot crew gets on the locomotive.

NS employees and 765 crew members conduct a job briefing before the new pilot crew gets on the locomotive.

In a ritual as old as railroading itself, the crew walks toward the locomotive as it goes to work. But chances are this is the first time the members of this NS pilot crew has ever gone to work aboard a steam locomotive.

In a ritual as old as railroading itself, the crew walks toward the locomotive as it goes to work. But chances are this is the first time the members of this NS pilot crew has ever gone to work aboard a steam locomotive.

Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society volunteer Rachel Weibel looks out the door of the tool car at the approaching NS train 145, which had the Virginian heritage locomotive on the lead.

Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society volunteer Rachel Weibel looks out the door of the tool car at the approaching NS train 145, which had the Virginian heritage locomotive on the lead.

The bright sunlight washed out the color in the safety vest of this Norfolk Southern supervisor, but the reflection on the tender of the 765 captures the colors well.

The bright sunlight washed out the color in the safety vest of this Norfolk Southern supervisor, but the reflection on the tender of the 765 captures the colors well.

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.

 

Chasing NKP 765 Was Easiest in Youngstown

July 27, 2015
The 765 trails on the backup move to Hubbard on Saturday. This is my favorite photo of the two days as it reminds me of the many photos Dave McKay used to take in the Youngstown area.   Taken from an overpass just east Covelli Center

The 765 trails on the backup move to Hubbard on Saturday. This is my favorite photo of the two days as it reminds me of the many photos Dave McKay used to take in the Youngstown area. Taken from an overpass just east Covelli Center

In chasing the Nickel Plate Road 765 Ashtabula trips last weekend I discovered two things.

First, it is not very easy to chase this line.  Second, the majority of good photos were in Youngstown.

Yes, there are some nice locations along the line but at the speeds that the 765 was travelling it was difficult to keep up.  No four lane highway directly parallels the Youngstown Line as ws the case for the Indiana trip chase.

However, in Youngstown there were several good spots in close proximity.  Even better, the train made several reverse moves to access the loading facility at the Covelli Center.

In the afternoon, the sequence was as follows.  The train would pull in from Ashtabula with the 765 leading.  Then it would back in on the line to unload.

After unloading, the 765 would pull east. The train would reverse to Hubbard where a wye is located.

The train would turn here and then back into the Haselton Yard to stay overnight.  An SD40-2 was provided to assist with these and stayed with the train to help at Ashtabula.

All these moves were at slow speed and provided many good opportunities for photographs and video.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

Heading north at Bell Wick Road at Hubbard on Sunday morning.  The railroad turns east west for a distance here with good sun in both directions.

Heading north at Bell Wick Road at Hubbard on Sunday morning. The railroad turns east west for a distance here with good sun in both directions.

Pulling out of Covelli Center after unloading on Sunday.

Pulling out of Covelli Center after unloading on Sunday.

Leading Sunday's train into Youngstown.

Leading Sunday’s train into Youngstown.

A coal train followed shortly after.

A coal train followed shortly after.

The 765 charges out of town Sunday morning.

The 765 charges out of town Sunday morning.

The steam locmotive wasn't the only thing of interest this weekend.  Rick Rowlands showed up with this old hi-rail truck lettered for Conrail.

The steam locmotive wasn’t the only thing of interest this weekend. Rick Rowlands showed up with this old hi-rail truck lettered for Conrail.

NS 3479 leads the backup move to Hubbard on Saturday

NKP 765 Assaulting Carson Hill in Ashtabula

July 26, 2015
Hearing the seeing the Nickel Plate Road 765 work up Carson hill in Ashtabula was quite an experience. This is my favorite photo of the day.

Hearing and seeing the Nickel Plate Road 765 work up Carson hill in Ashtabula was quite an experience. This is my favorite photo of the day.

While photographing Nickel Plate Road No. 765 on Thursday in Ashtabula as it made a service stop, I heard Rich Melvin of the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society talk about there being a “hell of a hill” on the Youngstown Line of Norfolk Southern leaving town.

On Saturday afternoon I decided to check it out as the 2-8-4 Lima-built Berkshire assaulted the hill with a load of passengers on the return leg of a public excursion between Youngstown and Ashtabula.

I decided to forego going into town to look for the train in favor of scouting photo locations. I liked Plymouth Road because the tracks curve to the south here and the location is fairly open and parking would not be difficult.

A handful of other fans were on hand, including Drayton Blackgrove, a Michigan college student I had met while chasing the 765 last year on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. He runs an outfit named Delay in Block Productions and posts videos on YouTube.com.

This year he had a drone and it was the first time that I got to see someone up close operate one of those things. I was amazed at how quickly that thing can take off.

Although I heard the 765 talking on the radio when it was ready to leave, what I was really listening for was the sound of a steam locomotive working upgrade.

I was not disappointed. Melvin was at the throttle as the 765 ascended Carson hill, putting on a show that was a pure delight for the eyes and the ears alike.

I later caught the 765 just south of Dorset, although I got there a little too late, and again at the U.S. 322 crossing at Wick. With that I decided to head for home. It had been a most enjoyable day chasing the 765.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Coming into the curve on Carson hill near the hamlet of Plymouth Center.

Coming into the curve on Carson hill near the hamlet of Plymouth Center.

Blowing the whistle for Plymouth Road. Until about five to 10  minutes before the train arrived, two NS signal maintainer were working to get the grade crossing flashers back in working order.

Blowing the whistle for Plymouth Road. Until about five to 10 minutes before the train arrived, two NS signal maintainer were working to get the grade crossing flashers back in working order.

NKP 765 and its train are 26 miles out of Ashtabula on a former New York Central line that now known as the Youngstown Line of Norfolk Southern. The train is approaching Wick.

NKP 765 and its train are 26 miles out of Ashtabula on a former New York Central line that now known as the Youngstown Line of Norfolk Southern. The train is approaching Wick.

About to cross U.S. 322 at Wick en route back to Youngstown.

About to cross U.S. 322 at Wick en route back to Youngstown.

Easing past the cemetery south of Dorset. Cloudy conditions were a challenge here.

Easing past the cemetery south of Dorset. Cloudy conditions were a challenge here.

The crew of the helper locomotive greets the locals as the train rolls through Wick.

The crew of the helper locomotive greets the locals as the train rolls through Wick.

Early Evening in Brookfield Center with NKP 765

July 25, 2015

DSC_0399-EditF1200FF

It was 6:24 p.m. on Thursday when Nickel Plate Road No. 765 arrived at Brookfield Center, Ohio. The skies had cleared, the light was still good and there was enough open space to not just park but to be blessed by decent images. Even though there was a 10 mph slow order, the crew put out some black smoke for the photographers. Coming and going, she and her whole train were beautiful. Thank you NKP 765, your crew, Norfolk Southern and all the others who made this possible.

Article and Photograph by Robert Farkas

DSC_0400-EditF1200F

DSC_0403-EditF1200F

DSC_0404-EditF1200FF

Heritage Meet in Ashtabula: NKP 765, NS 1069

July 24, 2015
The engineer of the 765 waves at the crew of the 145. The two locomotives then exchanged whistle greetings.

The engineer of the 765 waves at the crew of the 145. The two locomotives then exchanged whistle greetings.

Nose to nose in the image that I really wanted to make.

Nose to nose in the image that I really wanted to make.

The nose of NS 1069 reflects on the tender of the NKP 765

The nose of NS 1069 reflects on the tender of the NKP 765

In the back of my mind I knew it was possible, although it seemed unlikely. The Virginian heritage locomotive of Norfolk Southern was leading the 145 westward on the former Nickel Plate Road route between Cleveland and Buffalo, New York.

NKP 765 would use that line between Cleveland and Ashtabula, Ohio, on Thursday as part of its ferry move to Youngstown for a pair of weekend excursions.

But with the 26R, 22K, 206 and 310 immediately preceeding the 765 ferry move eastbound — which carried symbol 958 — the 145 was marooned in Conneaut, Ohio.

For that matter, the 23K was stuck in the siding in Unionville waiting for all five trains to pass.

After shooting the 765 crossing the Grand River on the trestle in Painesville, fellow Akron Railroad Club member Peter Bowler and I gave chase, but were unable to catch the 958 until right before Ashtabula.

We heard on the radio that the 958 would re-crew at Woodman Road and that it was going into the siding.

As we drove down Woodman, the 145 was talking to the Youngstown Line dispatcher. Maybe there was a chance. As it turned out, the 958 would wait for the 145 to pass before proceeding toward the connection to the Youngstown Line.

The 145 went into emergency about half-mile to the east, a separated air hose the culprit. After everything was repaired, it was on its way.  It was the photo opportunity of the day.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

NKP 765 on the Move to Youngstown

July 24, 2015

FullSizeRender

IMG_1889

FullSizeRender (1)

Nickel Plate Road No. 765 is in Northeast Ohio this weekend to pull two public excursions between Youngstown and Ashtabula. The big Berkshire left its home in New Haven, Indiana, on Wednesday morning and traveled over the former Wabash mainline from Fort Wayne to Butler, Indiana, where it joined the Chicago Line for the trip to Cleveland.

After spending the night in Rockport Yard, the 765 left Thursday morning for the next leg of the trip into Youngstown. Although it left the yard at 10:21 a.m., the 765 didn’t get far.

It had to wait for three eastbound Norfolk Southern freight trains to clear. Once it got track, it was clearly sailing to Ashtabula for a crew change and mini service stop. Then it was on to Youngstown.

The 765 will be back in action on Saturday and Sunday pulling trips that originate in downtown Youngstown.

In the above photographs, the 765 is shown on Thursday in Cleveland and at an undisclosed location on the Youngstown Line.

Photographs by Todd Dillon


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 74 other followers