Posts Tagged ‘NKP 765’

NKP 767 Goes Off Rails at its Shop in Indiana

August 22, 2016

Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 767 derailed on Sunday at slow speed while moving on a spur track at its home in New Haven, Indiana.

Fort Wayne Railroad Historical SocietyFormally known as NKP 765, the Berkshire left the rails due to an expansion of the gauge caused by a broken gauge rod in the track.

Trains magazine reported that the locomotive’s wheels climbed the rails with all wheels derailing except the first wheel on the fireman’s side.

Members of the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, which operates the 767, spent much of Sunday trying to get the locomotive back on track. They were expected to finish their work on Monday.

The incident occurred during a weekend when the FtWRHS conducted an open house and showed off drawings of a rail-oriented park to be built in downtown Fort Wayne.

Taking the Farkas Challenge: Final Akron Memory

August 16, 2016


How does one end a challenge? Some would end it simply by thanking those who took the challenge, but that is not enough.

How do I thank some of you for moving out of your comfort zones? You may never have posted on the Akron Railroad Club blog prior to the challenge.

It took both hard work to get your image right and courage to write the blog entry. You did it once, you can do it again (and again and again.) You have so much to share, so please continue to do so.

For others, you have contributed to the blog before the challenge. Thank you for the time-machine glimpses of a past many of us haven’t lived.

You chose an image for the challenge, wrote the entry, and again brought Akron’s past back to life. Keep up your blog entries.

Thank you, Craig, for putting this together in your own unique way. For some members, you were their voice when they had no words.

Last of all, I’d like to thank the readers of this blog. Each of us who participated in the challenge touched your lives with a photo or memory, and you touched our lives with your comments both spoken and written.

Here is one last memory. It is June 27, 1983, at the Norfolk & Western (ex-Akron, Canton & Youngstown) yard, and Nickel Plate Road No. 765 is preparing to leave for Fort Wayne.

The past, present, and (hopefully) the future meet in this image. What memories this brings. When I first started railfanning, this was the N&W’s ex-AC&Y engine facility and blue or yellow FMs and ALCOs still lettered for the AC&Y sat ready to move the tires and other freight Akron was known for producing in the mid-1960’s.

Friendships were started. Thanks to ARRC member Paul Woodring and Mark Perri, I had a chance to see NKP 765’s first public showing under steam in September 1979. We even had short cab rides.

Who would have believed that NKP 765 wouldn’t become a stranger but would instead grace many days of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad’s Steam in the Valley excursions, but she has done so and is scheduled to do the same this year.

The names have changed from AC&Y to N&W to Norfolk Southern and finally to Wheeling & Lake Erie.

The paint schemes have changed even more, but the fun of railfanning and the great friendships brought on by it haven’t changed at all.

Thanks again to all of you. By the way, does anyone have a new challenge?

Article and Photograph by Robert Farkas


NKP 765 Coming to CVSR in September

July 18, 2016

Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive No. 765 is coming to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in September for a series of eight trips.

Trips have been set for Sept. 17 and 24 from Rockside Road station in Independence and on Sept. 18 and 25 from Akron Northside station.

CVSRDepartures from Rockside Road are at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. while trains will depart from Akron at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Each trip is three hours in duration and features a photo runby, which will probably be held at Boston Mill station as in past years.

Tickets are $23 per person in standard coach and $25 for open window coach. Deluxe seating at a table in a dining car is $36 per person and includes a snack and beverage.

Tickets in the Silver Bronco dome car are $38 for a seat in the lower level and $50 in the dome section.

An executive class ticket for $60 includes seating in the lounge-observation car Saint Lucie Sound.

Tickets are nonrefundable and cannot be exchanged. To purchase a ticket online go to:

Taking the Farkas Challenge: My Best Akron Photo is One of My Best of All Time Anywhere

May 29, 2016


It didn’t take long to figure out my favorite train photo taken in Akron.

This backlighted photo of Nickel Plate Road No.765 crossing the old PA&W bridge is easily my best in Akron and maybe ever.

It’s from the ferry move in 2013. I had been chasing it from Norwalk and on this occasion it came into Akron with some daylight remaining. Previously it had always arrived after dark.

I had always wanted to get a train on this bridge and had with some Wheeling & Lake Erie trains but the results were less than satisfactory. Either the light wasn’t right or the train was moving in the wrong direction. It was always something.

On this night, the light was back lighted pretty well. Most people in order to get a good color photo would shoot it going away and I had even considered that myself. It would have made a great photo but instead I went for this angle and got an awesome photo instead.

I love how the sun lights up all the details that would normally be in shadow.

Article and Photograph by Todd Dillon 

NKP 765 To Operate Chicago Excursion in June

May 5, 2016

765 trip logo

Chicago was the western terminus for Nickel Plate Road passenger service, but NKP steam locomotive 765 hasn’t been there for a while.

That will change on June 11-12 when the 2-8-4 Berkshire pulls its first public excursion in Chicagoland in more than 20 years.

The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society announced on its website on Wednesday that the 765 will be on display between 19 a.m. and 3 p.m. on June 11 at the annual Railroad Day festival in suburban Franklin Park near Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

On June 12, the Berkshire will pull a public excursion between The Glen of North Glenview and Janesville, Wisconsin, using former Milwaukee Road tracks.

Fort Wayne Railroad Historical SocietyIn honor of that, the excursion has been named The Varsity after a Milwaukee Road passenger train that operated between Chicago and Madison, Wisconsin, until the coming of Amtrak in 1971.

The Varsity will make an intermediate stop at the Metra station in Fox Lake.

Tickets are now on sale and range in price between $349 and $148, depending on the class of accommodation.

Tickets can be ordered by calling 888-718-4253 or at the FtWRHS website at

The train will depart from North Glenview at 7 a.m. and from Fox Lake at 8 a.m. Lunch will be served onboard. The price of lunch is included in the fare.

Equipment for the excursion will include  “The Varsity” will feature vintage passenger cars from the 1930s-1950s. Accommodations include standard coach, deluxe coach, and first class and dome car.

The trip will be the first steam motive power to user portions of the route to be traveled since 1953.

It will be the first excursion of 2016 for the NKP 765 and the locomotive’s owner said that details about additional excursions this year will be announced later.

NKP 765 Undergoing Maintenance Work

March 25, 2016

Boiler tube and flue replacement on Nickel Plate Road No. 765 have been keeping members of the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society busy over the winter.

Workers have replaced 202 boiler tubes and 73 flues, which society officials say will reduce future downtown for the Berkshire locomotive. The tubes and flues were last replaced in 2004.

“Historically, work of this type could remove an engine from service for several years,” said FtWHS vice president Kelly Lynch. “We want to keep up the momentum and insure the 765 inspires thousands more again in 2016.”

Fort Wayne Railroad Historical SocietyIn 2015, the 765 pulled excursion trains in Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York that hosted more than 6,000 passengers with many of the trips being sold out.

The 765 was part of the Norfolk Southern 21st Century steam program, which the railroad ended after the conclusion of the 2015 excursion season.

“We’ve been very fortunate to have that partnership with Norfolk Southern and they’ve committed to helping us deliver the 765 to new and familiar destinations this year,” Lynch said.

He noted that the society expects to announce within the coming weeks its plans for excursions for the 765 in 2016.

The Fort Wayne group has installed a concrete floor at its restoration facility on Edgerton Road in Fort Wayne.

The shop was built in 1991 and has not undergone any major improvements since then.

Society officials said having a concrete floor will enable the construction of specific work areas dedicated to railroad preservation projects and create a better work environment.

The FtWRHS is currently seeking funding to buy a forklift with an 8,000 pound capacity and a 15-foot lift.

Donations for the project can be made at

NKP 765 Still Expects to Run in 2016

December 23, 2015

In a posting on, Rich Melvin said that Nickel Plate Road No. 765 is expected to operate in 2016 and it will have the ability to use Norfolk Southern tracks to make ferry moves.

Melvin, the operations manager for the NKP 765, said that an NS official said that in 2016,  “you guys can do almost anything you want to on NS next year, except run a passenger excursion.”

The Berkshire steam locomotive is owned by the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society and operated on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in 2015, 2014, 2013, 2011 and 2010.

“We have an excellent working relationship with NS and we can use NS to deadhead to any other venue we may need to reach,” Melvin wrote. “NKP 765 will have something to do in 2016, even without the opportunity to run passenger excursions on Norfolk Southern.”

Melvin said that NS paid more than $500,000 for the premium on its liability insurance to operate steam excursions this year.

He noted that the railroad business is down right now and the NS stock price is in the mid-80s range, which has resulted in a hostile takeover bid from Canadian Pacific.

“Norfolk Southern has a lot of very important things to work on right now that far out shadow the steam program,” Melvin wrote. “But NS still has the spirit. They recognized that VMT (Virginia Museum of Transportation) had only one year to operate the 611 and are giving them a chance to run up to four weekends of excursions in 2016. That’s a great opportunity for the 611 crew and for VMT. They will do well with it, I’m sure.”

On Photography: Using Foreground Shadows

November 10, 2015




Foreshadowing is a tactic used by story tellers, writers and film makers to hint at a plot twist or something that is going to happen later in a story.

It is a way to hold the interest of the listener, reader or viewer as well as move the story along.

It can also be used by photographers to add interest to their images by providing contrast and visual tension.

In the case of photography, the term might be better described as foreground shadowing because you are making use of a shadow in the foreground of the image.

Shown above are two techniques that use foreground shadows to enhance an image.

The top image was made at Boston Mill of Nickel Plate Road No. 765 during a photo runby on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

The shadow in the foreground resulted from the sun sinking behind the hills and trees behind me.

In this image, the shadow has the effect of covering what otherwise would be empty space.

The reader’s eye is naturally drawn over the shadow to the locomotive, which gleams brightly in contrast to the foreground shadow.

Many photographers would rather that their trains be pristine, meaning free of bystanders cluttering up the environment.

But the 765 was executing a photo runby and the people watching it are part of the story being told by this photo.

Most of those along the tracks watching are also spotlighted by the late day light.

Another way to use foreground shadowing is to allow clouds to provide it.

That is what is happening in the middle photo above that was made of a Wheeling & Lake Erie train awaiting a new crew west of Norwalk.

When I arrived on the scene, a cloud was covering the train in shadows. But the cloud began moving and the shadow moved with it.

What does this foreground shadow add? Compare the middle image with the bottom one.

In the bottom image there is some cloud shadow in the field about half-way between where I am standing and the train.

The foreground shadow of the middle image softens the harshness of the green of the corn crop. Although this image was made just after 4 p.m., the sunlight is still harsh because it is late June.

The foreground shadow also creates a slight illusion of shortening the distance between where I am standing and the train.

As in the case of the image of NKP 765, the foreground shadow also draws the viewer’s eye toward the train because your eyes pass over the shadow. The foreground shadow creates visual tension, which encourages eye movement.

Foreground shadowing is not necessarily something you can set out to create in your photographs.

In the case of the 765 shot, it was a matter of timing. The photo runby occurred when there was still enough direct sunlight to illuminate the train.

Had it occurred a few minutes later, the shadows would be covering the train. As it was, there are some shadows from the trees on the 765.

In the case of the W&LE train, I had the right cloud conditions. I would not have been able to use foreground shadowing in the W&LE train image had it been a clear day.

As is the case in making any image, shadows can hinder your shot or they can be your friend if used in the right way.

How the shadows fall is something to watch for in the environment next time you are out trackside on a sunny day.

Photographs and Commentary by Craig Sanders

765 Owners Looking to 2016 Excursion Season

October 20, 2015

Nickel Plate Road No. 765 is back home again in Indiana for a well-deserved break after rolling up just under 5,000 miles in excursion service in four states.

The 2-8-4 Berkshire won’t be resting for long as there are Santa Claus trains planned for its home in New Haven, which is just east of Fort Wayne.

It has been a busy season for the 765 and Kelly Lynch, the communications director for the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, told a Fort Wayne newspaper that the steamer is unlikely to engage in the series of back-to-back weekend excursion that it made this year.

The 765 would have been even more active had a weekend of trips in Pennsylvania not been canceled due to a dispute over access to tracks on a route that was in the process of being conveyed from Canadian Pacific to Norfolk Southern.

Lynch told the News-Sentinel that the busy schedule took a toll on the volunteers who work on the 765.

“One weekend is a touchdown, two weekends is even better, but by the end of the third weekend many of the volunteers are just looking for the next day to sleep in,” Lynch said. “It really takes a small army to operate the 765.”

That included a core group of 25-30 people that was made up of engineers, locomotive maintenance crew, managers, directors and passenger car hosts.

Various other volunteers joined what Lynch termed the “traveling circus” for a weekend or two in the various locations where the 765 operated.

The Fort Wayne group, which owns the 765, paid for the hotel expenses for 765’s workers.

Lynch said that members of his organization begin planning excursions as many as six months in advance by scouting for locations where the 765 can take on water and sidings on which the gondolas carrying coal can be parked.

“It is challenging to ask an industrial railroad facility of today to provide the type of things we ask,” Lynch said.  “My joke is once we spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on insurance, passenger cars and engine upkeep, the engine becomes pretty self-sustaining. We recreate an entire ecosystem that hasn’t been seen on the American railroad for 60 years.”

Lynch said many of the maintenance practices used by the 765 crew are based on standards that the Nickel Plate Road created in the 1940s and 1950s.

Lynch said next year’s excursion season is in the planning stages although he didn’t provide any specifics other than the 765 might go west.

The 765 pulled excursions in 2011 from the Quad Cities region of Illinois and Iowa, and from St. Louis in 2012.

“There is definitely an appetite [for the 765] out west and terminals out there we have yet to visit,” Lynch said. “The engine has fans everywhere. It all depends on how busy the railroads are. We wouldn’t be able to make all these things happen if the railroad didn’t help us.”

Over the winter, the Fort Wayne group will inspect the 765 and undertake any needed repair and maintenance work.

Lynch said the group had budgeted $250,000 for this work.

There’s a Lot of Work Involved in a Service Stop

October 10, 2015
Parked on the main by the yard. Few hung around, let along made photographs of, the rear of the train. The star was the head end.

Parked on the main by the yard. Few hung around, let along made photographs of, the rear of the train. The star was the head end.

It takes a lot of work to keep a steam locomotive going. The labor-intensive nature of the job is one reason why railroads were so eager to replace steamers with diesels.

There might not be any mainline steam locomotives around today if it were not for volunteers in groups such as the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society.

Not only do they maintain Nickel Plate Road No. 765 at the shop in New Haven, Indiana, but they must travel with the 2-8-4 Berkshire and tend to its needs at pre-determined intervals.

Some of those trips have taken the 765 far from its Indiana home. That was the case in early September when the 765 ventured to Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

It was a long and at time slow trek back to Ohio from Steamtown for the 765’s next appearance, which was on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

There were late night arrivals at terminals to tie up and service stops in between.

One of those was in Conneaut, which was once a Nickel Plate town. Conneaut hosted shops and a roundhouse that kept steamers such as the 765 in a state of good repair. The 765 no doubt visited here many times during the steam era.

The lure of photographing a former Nickel Plate steam locomotive working its way over the former Nickel Plate mainline was reason enough to venture out on Sept. 9 to intercept it at multiple locations.

But I also decided to check out the service stop in Conneaut. It occurred on the main adjacent to the yard.

I was somewhat surprised that railroad officials allowed onlookers to mill around back there. It is not a location I would hang out at while doing routine railfanning because it is on railroad property.

But a few dozen people turned out to watch the service stop activities and make photographs of the locomotive and its train of two passengers cars, a tool-crew car and several gondolas used to haul coal.

If any railroad officials were on hand they must have blanched at the site of people wearing open toe footwear as they walked about the scene.

The 765 crew has reached Buffalo earlier that morning at about 4 a.m. after getting hung up on the trip in from Scranton, Pennsylvania.

It would be pushing midnight before they were able to tie ‘er down in Bellevue on this night. The next day it would be onto the Wheeling & Lake Erie for the trip to Akron and CVSR rails.

The word was that the service stop at Conneaut was “scheduled” for 1:30 p.m., but the FtWRHS website notes that during ferry moves schedules cannot be guaranteed.

The 765 reached Conneaut just after 3:30 p.m. and was there for a good hour or so.

As the crew went about its tasks like worker bees, I walked about the site to document the scene, including how the spectators reacted. There is much to see during a service stop and it is not an everyday occurrence.

For all anyone in the crowd knew, this might have been the last time that the 765 will ever visit Conneaut. The future of mainline steam movements can never be assumed, only enjoyed and appreciated in the moment when the opportunity arises.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Taking on water, which was one reason for stopping in Conneaut.

Taking on water, which was one reason for stopping in Conneaut.

Looking it over to make sure that everything is just right.

Looking it over to make sure that everything is just right.

Everyone has their assigned tasks that need to be completed before the 765 can roll again.

Everyone has their assigned tasks that need to be completed before the 765 can roll again.

How big are those drivers? Just take a look.

How big are those drivers? Just take a look.

Pouring in the journal oil in a ritual as old as the locomotive itself.

Pouring in the journal oil in a ritual as old as the locomotive itself.

Taking a break in the cab on the fireman's side while surveying the crowd.

Taking a break in the cab on the fireman’s side while surveying the crowd.

Telling the story of the 765 to the local media.

Telling the story of the 765 to the local media.

There are many days when the crew must eat on the run. Better have those pizza delivery numbers handy.

There are many days when the crew must eat on the run. Better have those pizza delivery numbers handy.

At times the crew and the locals were able to interact.

At times the crew and the locals were able to interact.

An impromptu photo line.

An impromptu photo line.

Everyone wants to pose with the nose of the NKP 765.

Everyone wants to pose with the nose of the NKP 765.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 89 other followers