Posts Tagged ‘NKP 765’

Melvin Retires as NKP 765 Engineer

September 29, 2016

Rich Melvin at the controls of Nickel Plate Road 765 on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in September 2010.

The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society announced on its Facebook page this week that Richard Melvin has retired as an engineer of Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765.

Melvin made his last run at the throttle of the Berkshire-type locomotive on Sunday, Sept. 25 when the steamer pulled its last excursions on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad to close out two-weekend appearance.

The FtWRHS, which owns and operates the 765, said that for his final trip, Melvin was joined in the cab by his grandsons.

He has been an engineer of the 765 for 30 years and the Fort Wayne group said that he “was involved in nearly every movement the 765 made in the last three decades and has helped establish an operating department and qualify new engineers in the process.”

Melvin spoke about his experiences in operating the NKP 765 at the 2006 Christmas banquet of the Akron Railroad Club.

Aside from operating the NKP 765, Melvin also was the founder of Hopewell Productions, which sold railroad-related videos.

He has also been a road foreman for the Youngstown operations of the Ohio Central System.

NKP 767 Tickets Sold Out for Upcoming Trips

September 21, 2016
Nickel Plate Road 767 begins a photo runby at Boston Mill on Sept. 18.

Nickel Plate Road 767 begins a photo runby at Boston Mill on Sept. 18.

Tickets for this weekend’s excursions on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad behind Nickel Plate Road No. 767 are sold out.

CVSRTaylor Nickel, communications manager for the CVSR told Trains magazine that the excursions have drawn passengers from throughout the country and not just Ohio.

“[Cuyahoga Valley] is one of the best venues around to exhibit and operate the 765,” said Kelly Lynch, vice president of the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, which owns the 2-8-4 Berkshire-type locomotive, whose actual roster number is 765.

Lynch said the variety of trips, the railroad, its employees and volunteers, and the opportunities for passengers to experience the engine are incomparable.

“Compared to a mainline steam excursion where we handle all of the logistics, these are almost vacations for us,” he said.

There will be two excursions on Saturday, leaving Rockside Road station at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. On Sunday trips will leave Akron at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

All excursions last for two hours and include a photo runby at Boston Mill.

Steam Returns to the Valley This Weekend

September 16, 2016

A steam locomotive whistle and the sound of chuffing will return to the Cuyahoga River valley this weekend when Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 pulls excursions out of Rockside Road station in Independence on Saturday and Northside station in Akron on Sunday.

CVSRThe NKP 765 is slated to carry number 767, which it wore earlier this year during festivities to launch the kickoff of development of a rail-theme park in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

The three-hour trips on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad will depart Rockside Road at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday, and Northside station at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Sunday.

The trips will be repeated on the same schedule on Sept. 24 from Rockside Road station and on Sept. 25 from Northside station.

The CVSR website on Friday morning showed that all trips from Rockside Road station on Sept. 17 and 24 are sold out.

Tickets remain available for all trips from Akron although some fare classes have sold out. The fare classes range from $23 for basic coach seating to $60 for executive class seating, which is a seat in observation-lounge car Saint Lucie Sound.

Open window coach seating is $25 per person. Other fare options include deluxe seating ($36), first class seating ($38) and dome section seating ($50). Deluxe seating is a place at a table in CVSR dining car Lone Star while first class seating is the lower level of dome car Silver Bronco.

Tickets may be purchased at All trips will feature a photo runby at Boston Mills station.

A special excursion behind NKP 765 will run on Sept. 24 and is modeled after the steam punk event held in 2015 at the Fitzwater maintenance facility and yard.

Attendees of the steam punk 2016 event will ride the train from Rockside Road station to Fitzwater, where they will enjoy an evening of live music, games, and food. Performing will be the band A Train and the Steamers.

There will be an opportunity to photograph NKP 767 and enter a costume contest for the best steam punk inspired clothing.

Tickets are $75 per person and are good for the train ride, three food items from the food vendors and three items from the drink vendors, including beer, wine and soda.

Boarding will begin at Rockside Road station at 7:30 p.m. with an 8 p.m. departure. The return to Rockside will be by train at approximately 11 p.m.

Tickets are non-refundable and non-exchangeable. Attendees must be at least age 21.

NKP 765 Steams Into Cleveland

September 14, 2016
Nickel Plate Road 765 crosses the Vermilion River on the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern.

Nickel Plate Road 765 crosses the Vermilion River on the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern.

This year’s ferry move of Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 went via Cleveland instead of through Akron as it has in previous years.

On Tuesday morning social media exploded with the news that NKP 765 would have its ferry move that day. The Berkshire-type locomotive operated as 765 and not as 767, the number it reportedly will wear during its time on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

I figured on getting a couple shots between Bellevue and Cleveland, going for quality not quantity.

I went to Vermilion where I met up with Todd Vander Sluis and Alex Bruchec. As we were talking ,NS train 20E went by but none of us lifted a camera to take a photo.

It only had the Wabash heritage unit leading so not a big deal right? Ugghh! Well, we didn’t make the same mistake when the ferry move came through an hour later.

I then headed to Brook Park across from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport as the light was still good there.

I got it passing the new signals in Brook Park and again from the Interstate 480 overpass as it entered Rockport yard.

NKP 765 was to spend the night at Rockport and the crew call time is 6 a.m. on Wednesday to finish the move to the CVSR.

Norfolk Southern will take it to Campell Road Yard and deliver it to CSX at West Third Street for final delivery to the CVSR.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon 





NKP 767 Deadhead Move is Underway

September 13, 2016

We’ve received information that Nickel Plate Road No. 767, a.k.a., NKP 765, has begun deadhead move to Cleveland from New Haven, Indiana.

The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, which owns and operates the 2-8-4 Berkshire-type locomotive does not release details about ferry moves.

NKP 765However, a steam locomotive is unlikely to travel very far without being seen, so social media will is abuzz with reports on the whereabouts of the 767.

Reportedly, the 767 will make most of the ferry move in one day. The route of travel will be over the Norfolk Southern mainline from Fort Wayne to Vermilion via Bellevue, and thence over the Chicago Line from Vermilion to  Rockport Yard in Cleveland.

From Rockport Yard the 767 and its support cars will travel on NS tracks to Campbell Road. It will be on CSX tracks via Clark Avenue in order to reach the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

Unlike in past years, the NKP 767 will not use the Wheeling & Lake Erie between Bellevue and Akron.

The 767 will be pulling trips on the CVSR on Sept. 17 and 24 from Rockside Road station and on Sept. 18 and 25 from Akron Northside station.

The Rockside Road trips will depart at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., while the Akron trips will leave at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Plans are for the steam train to meet the CVSR Scenic train in Peninsula and to do photo runbys for passengers at Boston Mills station.

All trips are expected to last three hours. Tickets can be purchased at the CVSR website at

What’s in the Numbering of a NKP Steam Locomotive? Mystery, Intrigue and Subterfuge

August 31, 2016
NKP 765

Nickel Plate Road 765 pauses at Canton during a visit to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. When it returns in September it will be No. 767, a number it once wore as a stationary exhibit.

The visit of Nickel Plate Road 767, a.k.a., NKP 765, to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad next month has been getting attention that the locomotive’s owner has been able to cash in.

“It’s handy when a nod to history can be good programming and also create some buzz. It’s already stimulated more ticket sales for our upcoming trips at the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in September,” wrote Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society vice president Kelly Lynch on

Recently, the FtWHS renumbered 765 to 767 for ceremonies held at an open house to reveal plans for the Headwaters Junction park that will eventually serve as the home base for the 765.

As part of that, the 765 was given number 767, which it wore during the decade it was on display in Lawton Park in Fort Wayne.

The story of how 765 became 767 and then 765 again goes back to the late 1950s when the NKP was retiring the last of its steam locomotives.

The NKP had 80 2-8-4 Berkshire type locomotives built in the 1940s by Lima Locomotive Works.

No. 767 was chosen to participate in a celebration held Oct. 4, 1955, to mark the completion of a track elevation project through Fort Wayne, Indiana, that resulted in the closure of several street crossings. Its role was to break the ceremonial ribbon across the tracks.

Nearly three years later, No. 767 was stored serviceable, but never returned to service.

Because of its participation in the 1955 ceremony, the City of Fort Wayne asked the NKP to donate the 767 for display in Lawton Park.

Reportedly, East Wayne Roundhouse Foreman, A.H. “Hap” Adang decided that No. 765 was in much better condition than the 767 and to donate it instead.

The 767 had been stored outside and vandalized. The 765, though, had been stored indoors, had been a crew favorite on the Chicago-Fort Wayne run, and was mechanically complete.

Workers renumbered the 765 to 767 and the real 767 was scrapped in 1964. For years no one was the wiser except a handful of NKP employees and any friends they had told about the number swap.

After the FtWRHS was formed in 1972, its member began hearing reports about the number swap that had taken place more than a decade earlier.

As they disassembled the 767, they found parts marked 765. The steam dome also had the manufacturer’s date for the 765. Lynch explained in a TO posting that the 765 never actually operated as No. 767.

Another FtWRHS member posting on TO said the NKP did not change the monthly, annual or Form 4 documents at Cleveland headquarter to match, so when the fake “765” went off to Chicago to be scrapped in 1964, the ICC Form 4s for the real 765 were trashed by the Interstate Commerce Commission

“That was a problem when we got the 765 ready to return to service in 1979,” he wrote. “We then had to have a mechanical engineer reconstruct the documents and certify the boiler calculations to put her back into service.”

He said that monthly inspection reports for the 765 in December 1958 show that for two days it was in stationary service, thus making the 765 the last Berkshire under steam at the Nickel Plate.

Further investigation revealed that there were ways to distinguish the 767 from the 765.

The 767 had been rebuilt after colliding in Fort Wayne with a Wabash passenger train on July 15, 1951.

That accident, which killed four people and injured 13, occurred when the engineer of Wabash train No. 13 mistakenly thought the clear signal at the diamonds for NKP train No. 51 was for his train.

The 767 struck the Wabash train in the buffet car at 10:22 p.m. after the 767 engineer applied his train’s emergency brakes. Both trains derailed.

No. 767 was rebuilt at the Conneaut shops and returned to service. In the process, the 767 received a six-sided number board.

Lynch said that the locomotive placed in Lawton Park had a flat, hand-painted headlight number board. Home address numerals were placed in the “flying” number boards.

The faux 767 was placed in Lawton Park on May 4, 1963. Ten years later it was removed from the park to begin restoration, which was completed in 1979.

The 765 has operated under other numbers on occasion including in 1993 when it ran as Chesapeake & Ohio No. 2765. It made trips in that disguise between Akron and Pittsburgh that August.

The FtWRHS has indicated that the 765 will continue to operate as the 767 for the remainder of 2016.

And that brings us back to a question someone asked recently as to whether the 767 number plate is original. For that matter, is the number plate of the 765 an original.

In his posting on TO, Lynch showed a photograph of the 765 at East Wayne shops in the early 1960s sans its number plate and number boards.

They may have been scrapped in 1964, might be in someone’s basement or one or more of them might still exist.

There is always a little mystery surrounding a restored steam locomotive.

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