Posts Tagged ‘steam excursions’

Steam Saturday: Doubleheading on Conrail’s Pittsburgh Line Near Horseshoe Curve

June 25, 2022

An unidentified photographer made this image of a steam doubleheader featuring former Reading 4-8-4 No. 2102 and former Grand Trunk Western 2-8-2 No. 4070 pulling a train near Horseshoe Curve in May 1977. To be specific, the location is Milepost 328.5 on Conrail’s Pittsburgh Line. The 2102 is running in Pennsylvania again this summer on the Reading Blue Mountain & Northern. Restoration of the 4070 to operating condition continues to face a long, hard slog.

Collection of Robert Farkas

Website Set up for NKP 765 Excursions

June 8, 2022

A website has been established to sell tickets and provide information about the Indiana Rail Experience excursions set for this year to be pulled by Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765.

The Lima-built Berkshire type locomotive will pull a series of excursions in July, August and September that will run in Indiana, with some trips also operating in Ohio and Michigan.

The first of those excursions will be the Indiana Ice Cream Train on July 8 and 9 departing from Angola, Indiana, for 45-minute train rides. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for children (ages 3-16).

On those same dates the 765 will pull an adults-only Wine, Whiskey and Spirits train from Angola during the evening.

Tickets are $99 per person for wine and whiskey class seating and $90 per person for beer class seating. That includes two complimentary beverages per passenger, hors d’oeuvres and a dessert.

The longest trips will be the Tri-State Scenic Excursions on Aug. 27 and 28 that will operate between Edon, Ohio, and Hillsdale, Michigan.

Tickets are $79 (open widow coach), $99 (open air car), $139 (deluxe coach), $149 (diner lounge seating), and $249 (first class).

Also available are suites ranging from $499 to $529. An entire car can be chartered for $4,500 and has been dubbed executive class. The car is a restored open platform car.

The American History Train will operate from Angola Sept. 23-25. All tickets for those trips will cost $29 per person.

The site can be reached at https://www.indianarailexperience.org/the-tri-state-scenic/

R&N Sets Iron Horse Rambles Schedule

March 24, 2022

The Reading & Northern has finalized its 2022 Iron Horse Rambles excursion schedule featuring restored T-1 4-8-4 No. 2102.

The former Reading Company steamer was overhauled in a $2.4 million project for the Pennsylvania-based regional railroad.

It will pull excursions between Reading and Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, on May 28, July 2, Aug. 13 and Sept. 3.

The May 28 trip is already sold out. Tickets in five classes of seating are still available for the other excursions.

Fare are not based on the age of the passenger and include standard coach for $99, crown class coach for $110, Pullman car private rooms for $299 per room for up to two people, first class dome car seating for $199, first class lounge car for $199, and first class lounge observation car for $210.

R&N owner Andy Muller, Jr. purchased the 2102 in 1986 and operated it in excursion service until it was put into storage in 1991.

The 2102 is one of four surviving T-1 steam locomotives and at one time pulled trips in Northeast Ohio.

Iron Horse Rambles tickets can be purchased at  www.rbmnrr-passenger.com, or by phone at 610-562-2102.

Steam Saturday: N&W 611 in Cleveland

February 26, 2022

Norfolk & Western 4-8-4 No. 611 pulls a westbound excursion through the Flats in Cleveland in early August 1985. The train is on former Nickel Plate Road tracks on a bridge spanning the Cuyahoga River Valley. The 611 pulled two round trips between Erie, Pennsylvania, and Bellevue on Aug. 3 and 4 that year.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Steam Saturday: Coal Smoke in Michigan

February 12, 2022

We don’t know the identity of the photographer who made this photo of East Jordan & Southern No. 6, probably in or near East Jordan, Michigan. The slide was processed in September 1960. The EJ&S still used steam until the early 1960s.

This image portrays a tourist train, but the EJ&S got its start as a lumber railroad. It transported harvested lumber to a connection with the Chicago & Western Michigan. The EJ&S also served other industries that helped to sustain it after the lumber mills shut down in the 1920s. The short line connected in Bellaire with the Pere Marquette.

The EJ&S operated between 1901 and 1962. It had regulatory approval to cease operations in 1932, but management instead decided to press ahead, hauling passengers and freight.

Every year on Independence Day the railroad offered free rides. No. 6 shown above is a 2-6-0 built in 1909 by the Pittsburgh Steam Engine Company. The EJ&S also had two other steam locomotives on its roster.

A last run was staged on Aug. 12, 1962, just ahead of the end of operations. The tracks were later pulled up. No. 6 survives today on East Jordan on static display.

Collection of Robert Farkas

Steam Saturday: An N&W 611 Memory

January 1, 2022

Paul Woodring, Jim Bacon, and I were in Roanoke, Virginia, on Sept. 6, 1982, for one of Norfolk & Western 611’s first excursions. This particular trip operated as the Independence Limited on a one way jaunt from Roanoke to Alexandria, Virginia. It operated after the 611’s inaugural trips on Aug. 20, 21 and 22 from Birmingham, Alabama, to Roanoke.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Steam Sunday: Timeless OC Baltic Memory

December 26, 2021

During the days when it was pulling excursions on the Ohio Central system, former Canadian Pacific 4-6-2 No. 1293 passed through Baltic, Ohio, countless times. Some of those trips involved pulling the tourist train between Sugarcreek and Baltic. That was the locomotive’s assignment in August 1998 when Bob caught it bound for Baltic. The 1293 is still operable but opportunities for it to pull excursions trains have become exceedingly rare.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Steam Saturday: Lot of Memories in This Image

December 18, 2021

My first encounter with Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 was in August 1993. I had just moved to Cleveland to take a new job and had seen that there would be a steam excursion from Akron to Pittsburgh and return.

I don’t remember how I heard about it but I ordered a ticket for a Sunday trip while I was still living in State College, Pennsylvania.

The locomotive for that trip was the 765 although it was disguised as a Chesapeake & Ohio locomotive. My next encounter with the 765 would occur 17 years later when the Berkshire-type steam made its first visit to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

I missed it during its first weekend of operation but vowed I would not miss it during its last weekend. I bought a ticket for the morning trip out of Akron.

Another first occurred that afternoon when I chased the 765. At that time I didn’t know that much about the CVSR territory and had made relatively few photographs of its operations. But by 2010 that had begun to change.

I surprised myself in being able to catch the 765 in multiple locations including the image above made at Howe Meadow. The photo runbys that year were conducted at Indigo Lake. The 765 would come as far as Howe Meadow before backing up to reboard passengers.

A handful of other fans were on hand here as well. There is something about this image I’ve always liked. Much of it has to do with the pleasant memories associated with that day. But another element is symbolic. The 765 is passing out of the darkness of the shadows and into the late afternoon light. In a way this chase represented my own coming out of the darkness with the 765.

When it returned the next year I was ready and chased and photographed it on multiple occasions.

Fast Forward to September 2018. The 765 was back in the Valley just as it had been in every year previous except 2012. I had a ticket for a trip out of Akron that would be the last one for the 765 on its 2018 visit.

That would turn out to be my last encounter to date with the 765 anywhere. I didn’t plan it that way, but there seems a certain symmetry to how my last experience with the 765 on the CVSR mirrors in many ways my first one.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

Steam Saturday: On Day with T&P 610 in Indiana

December 4, 2021

This may appear to be a Southern Railways locomotive, but take a closer look. Despite the Southern insignia and markings a Texas & Pacific logo above the headlight betrays its true origin.

The 2-10-4 Texas type was built in June 1927 by Lima Locomotive Works. It saw heavy duty on the T&P until the late 1950s when it was retired and donated to the city of Fort Worth and placed on static display.

In 1976 it pulled the American Freedom Train within the Lone Star State and a year later was leased by the Southern for its steam program.

The photographer caught up with the 610 on June 17, 1978, in Huntingburg, Indiana, where it was in charge of a roundtrip between Huntingburg and New Albany, Indiana.

That was one of four excursions the 610 pulled that weekend in which Huntingburg was either an origin or turning point on the Southern’s Louisville-St. Louis line.

The 610 would spend four years pulling Southern excursion trains before returning to Texas in 1981 where it is now on static display at the Texas State Railroad in Palestine.

Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, No. 610 is the only surviving example of a T&P Texas-type locomotive and the only non-articulated locomotive built by Lima.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Steam Saturday: Sort of on Home Rails

November 6, 2021

Norfolk & Western 2-6-6-4 No. 1218 pulls on excursion train south of Bellevue on Aug.15, 1987. It is the heyday of the Norfolk Southern steam program when the 1218 and running mate N&W 611 were frequent visitors to Ohio.

The 1218 was home built by N&W in June 1943 in Roanoke, Virginia. The track is is running on was once a Pennsylvania Railroad route from Columbus to Sandusky.

The N&W acquired it in 1964 in order to have more direct access to the Nickel Plate Road, which is acquired that year along with the Wabash, and the Akron, Canton & Youngstown.

Although the Sandusky District as N&W named its Columbus-Sandusky line never hosted the 1218 in revenue service in its first career, the 1218 did polish these ex-N&W rails during its excursion career between 1987 and 1994.

Today the 1218 is on static display at the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke.

The excursion shown above was a Toledo-Columbus roundtrip. However, the 1218 only operated on the Belleveue-Columbus segment with the Toledo-Bellevue segment pulled by diesels.

Photograph by Robert Farkas