Posts Tagged ‘steam locomotives’

Ohio Saddle Tanker Moving to Pennsylvania

February 20, 2018

A steam locomotive that sat for years on static display in Ohio at the Pickaway County Fairgrounds in Circleville is getting a new home.

The saddletank 0-6-0 built by Alco-Cooke in 1920 will be moved to the Allentown & Auburn Railroad in Pennsylvania.

The 1920 Alco-Cooke engine was offered “free to a good home last year,” when the fair board determined it was not part of its future plans.

Built as No. 106 for Sturm & Dillard, the steamer has been on display at the fairgrounds since 1962.

Sturm & Dillard was a railroad contractor and stone and sand quarry operator and other examples of its locomotives are preserved in Ohio.

No. 106 is expected to move to its new home by truck, albeit with a few features missing, including its headlight, bell and number plate.

The fair offered the locomotive for free to whoever would give it a good home.

A&A manager Mike Bast said the locomotive is in fairly good condition.

It will need to be rebuilt to become operational again. Also slated to join No. 106 in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, on the A&A are a former Washington Terminal Alco RS1 and a Grand Trunk Western baggage car.


NKP 765 Schedule Release Expected Within Month

February 14, 2018

The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society expects to release within the next month its excursion schedule for this year involving Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765.

In an earlier report at the website of Trains magazine, the society had indicated that it was eyeing trips in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri.

For the past several years the Berkshire-type locomotive has appeared on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in September.

In the meantime, the society is using the downtime between excursions to carry out a required boiler inspection.

Federal Railroad Administration rules require operating steam locomotives to undergo a boiler inspection and rebuild every 15 years or 1,472 service days.

Typically, that process is done at one time, but the FtWRHS won FRA approval to conduct it in stages over a two-year period so as to not miss an excursion season.

FtWRHS Vice President Kelly Lynch said the inspection and rebuild is expensive and time consuming, and the society devotes a portion of is excursion revenue toward that endeavor.

During the current winter, society personnel have been conducting an external and ultrasound boiler inspection of the boiler.

The ultrasound survey is about 99 percent done, Lynch said, and crews have found that 765’s boiler is in good condition with little or no deterioration of its steel.

AOS Has Another Steamer on the Property

January 26, 2018

Another locomotive has been added to the roster at the Age of Steam Roundhouse in Sugarcreek.

The museum said it has moved Columbus & Southern Ohio Electric Company No. 2. to the museum by truck from Sharon, Pennsylvania.

It is the 20th steam locomotive in the collection. The Heisler-built 0-4-0F had been on display in Pennsylvania between a restaurant and a train station.

The restaurant has since closed and the property owners want to raze the building that housed it.

“We’ve been looking for a ‘fireless cooker’ steam locomotive to add to our collection,” said Tim Sposato, AOS chief mechanical officer in a statement. “We were fortunate to locate and obtain one that was in our own backyard. That saved us a lot of money in loading and transportation costs.”

The locomotive was built in Erie, Pennsylvania, in 1940. It was designed for use in an industrial setting and filled with steam from a stationary boiler about every eight hours.

AOS said it will cosmetically restore No. 2. A sister locomotive, No. 1, is owned by the Mahoning Valley Railroad Heritage Association in Youngstown.

SRI Restoring ex-C&NW 4-6-0 Locomotive

January 22, 2018

The Michigan-based Steam Railroading Institute plans to restore another steam locomotive to operating condition.

The group in Owosso has acquired former Chicago & North Western 4-6-0 No. 175 from the Mineral Range Railroad of Ishpeming, Michigan.

The R-1 class Ten-Wheeler locomotive will join a fleet that includes Pere Marquette 2-8-4 No. 1225 in pulling excursions on the Great Lakes Central Railroad.

No. 175 was built by Alco in Schenectady, New York, in 1908 and worked in Upper Michigan. It is one of three R-1s still in existence

“We’re very excited about a project that’s actually doable,” said SRI executive director Kimberly Springsdorf. “The 175 will be able to go places we can’t go with [No. 1225].”
Kevin Mayer, SRI’s chief mechanical officer, told Trains magazine that the organization decided to buy No. 175 after inspecting it last summer.

The inspection team, which included institute board member Preston Claytor and steam contractor Dan Pluta, determined during an ultrasound test of the boiler and a review of the running gear that restoration was feasible.
“This fits what we’re all about and helps fulfill our mission statement,” Mayer said.

No. 175 could potentially operate on the Great Lakes Central to Petoskey, Michigan, over a 71-stretch of track has bridges that cannot support the weight of the 1225.

SRI officials said they are now exploring fund-raising opportunities to pay for restoration of No. 175, which will be moved by truck to Owosso in June


One Afternoon in Sugarcreek

January 12, 2018

The Ohio Central began running its steam-powered Sugarcreek-Baltic tourist train behind former Canadian National 4-6-0 No. 1551 in 1989.

Although I moved to Northeast Ohio in August 1993, it would more than four years before I ventured to Sugarcreek to see that tourist train in action.

However, my first encounter with the 1551 had occurred two years earlier when I rode behind it on an Orrville Railroad Heritage Society excursion that originated in Beech City and ran to Coschocton. A diesel pulled the return trip.

What would turn out to be the last time that I saw the 1551 in steam would be on a sun-splashed Saturday afternoon on Sept. 27, 1997.

I’m not sure how I learned about it, but the Ohio Central had two working steam locomotives in town that day.

The 1551 would be pulling the regularly-scheduled tourist train to Baltic and back. But also in town was the newest edition to the Ohio Central roundhouse, former Canadian Pacific 4-6-2 No. 1293.

OC owner Jerry Jacobson had acquired No. 1293 in 1996 from Steamtown and restored it to operating condition. It debuted in fall 1997 and would eventually take over the duties of pulling the Sugarcreek-Baltic tourist train.

My memory is a little hazy as to why the 1293 was in Sugarcreek on this day, but it probably had something to do with pulling an excursion train.

In the photograph above, the 1293 is idling on the siding as the 1551 prepares to depart for Baltic.

What is crystal clear in my memory was how I was thinking that on this day this was one of the few places in America that featured two operating steam locomotives. This remains one of my favorite Ohio Central steam memories.

Given that the Ohio Central steam program is a thing of the past, that makes those memories all the more special.

Remembering Chessie 614

January 9, 2018

Remember when the Chessie System had a steam program? It may not have been as extensive as the Southern Railway steam program or the Norfolk Southern steam program, but for a couple of years in the early 1980s it received a lot of attention.

Here’s a favorite photo of the photographer that you may never have seen. Chessie 614 is eastbound in New Castle, Pennsylvania, on June 27, 1981.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

ITM Raising Money to Restore NKP 587

November 4, 2017

The Indiana Transportation Museum has launched a fund-raising drive to restore Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive to operating condition.

The locomotive is due for a federally required overhaul. Those who donate to the cause will receive a tee shirt bearing a drawing of the Baldwin-built locomotive.

Built in August 1918 for the Lake Erie & Western, the NKP 587 was based in Frankfort, Indiana, for much of its life and sometimes saw service on the branch between Indianapolis and Michigan City, Indiana.

On the LE&W, the USRA light 2-8-2 locomotive carried roster number 5541. It received its current roster number in 1924.

After its retirement in March 1955, the 587 was donated to the City of Indianapolis, which put it on static display in Broad Ripple Park.

It was removed in 1983 and taken to Amtrak’s Beech Grove shops where it was restored to operating condition. It made its first excursion in September 1988 between Indianapolis and Logansport, Indiana.

Donations can be made at

Dennison Museum to Unveil Restored Locomotive

October 21, 2017

The Dennison Railroad Depot Museum will conduct an “unveiling party” on Nov. 3 of its recently restored Chespeake & Ohio steam locomotive No. 2700.

The event will begin at 1o a.m. at the museum, which is housed in a former Pennsylvania Railroad passenger station on the Pittsburgh-St. Louis mainline.

The cosmetic restoration used more than 320 parts that were recreated by Jason Johnson of Gemini Industrial to complete the restoration.

Prior to restoration, No. 2700 had one of the most vandalized steam locomotives in the county and been stripped of many of its parts.

The engine sits on the east end of the Dennison Depot, which has been designated a National Historic Landmark as the best example left in the country of a World War II Servicemen’s Canteen Site.

Those who join the 2700 Club Membership Program for $27 will help ensure the upkeep of the engine. Members will receive a print of the engine.

Riding That 765 Train (Part 2)

October 4, 2017

Nickel Plate Road 765 backs up at Rockside Road station. I got better images of the Berkshire-type engine here than I did at the photo runby site at Boston Mills.

Second of two parts

A handful of Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad personnel were on the ground as the excursion train pulled by RS18 1822 came into Boston Mills station and stopped.

At last I would get to experience life inside the cattle pen as Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 executed its photo runbys.

Having that experience wasn’t my primary reason for buying a ticket to ride behind the 765. But I did wonder what it would be like.

On the CVSR website, would-be passengers are told that they will get to watch the 765 do a runby at a secure location.

If you are standing outside the photo runby site fence, you’ve learned the meaning of the word “secure.”

If you dare cross Riverview Road to stand on the fringe of the orange plastic fence, either a CVSR official or a police officer will shoo you back to the other side of the road.

As I stood in the cattle pen, I saw a couple guys cross the road toward the far north end of the ski resort.

A Peninsula police officer saw it, too, and raced to the scene in his cruiser with the emergency lights on.

Although my train was not sold out, it did have a large crowd and it takes time to unload a few hundred people.

I was among the first people off the train, in part because my car had a small number of passengers.

A CVSR volunteer instructed us to stand behind a line of small orange cones.

That was the extent of the instructions that we received. For that matter, there was no announcement over the PA or by the car host about the photo runby. It was as though CVSR personnel figured that everyone knew what was going on.

The line of orange cones stretched back toward the Boston Mills station and was set up on an angle.

I avoided the far north end of the line, which was where many people congregated.

I heard the CVSR volunteer tell those there that the 765 would make two runbys. She asked those toward the front to get down and after the first runby to trade places with those in the back.

People were nearly shoulder to shoulder where I was standing, but I didn’t feel overly crowded.

I didn’t expect to get great photographs during the runby. One reason I had wanted to ride the afternoon trip was because the lighting would be better. The sun would be on the west side of the tracks.

Although the runbys for my excursion were performed at about 11:15 a.m., the lighting still favored the east side of the tracks.

But the west side of the train was not in deep enough shadows to mar the images by making it difficult to see the detail of the locomotive.

Many who got off the train were not photographing, just watching. Among those who did photograph, many of the images – and maybe most of them – were made with smart phones.

It used to be that “ordinary” people made photographs with point and shoot digital cameras. Now they use smart phones.

Not as many people clustered around the cab of the 765 as I expected. Instead, most people found a place in the photo line and stayed there.

There was a construction project underway across the road and shortly before the 765 began backing up for the first runby I heard that safety squawk that construction vehicles make in reverse.

I wasn’t doing video so it didn’t bother me. But I know guys who would have gone ballistic upon hearing that sound.

The beep, beep, beep was short lived and not repeated during either runby.

The runbys were nice, but not overly spectacular. I thought the 765 put on a better show when pulling into Rockside Road station earlier that morning.

I’ve also seen better smoke displays from the locomotive at other places along the CVSR.

But most of those in the photo line weren’t looking for a spectacular display of steam and smoke.

They wanted to see the big engine run by, which is what it did, twice. Many have probably never seen such a sight.

About the only advantage to being inside the Boston Mills cattle pen from a photography standpoint is being able to see the 765 coming straight at you.

There is a curve north of Boston Mills and inside the viewing area is the best place to see that without any obstruction.

Boston Mills also offers an open field, but that’s nothing that you can’t find in other places along the CVSR if you know the territory.

I didn’t have any trouble with heads or arms getting in the way of my views and everyone was well behaved.

The runbys complete, it was time to get in line and back on the train.

The rest of the trip was routine. We stopped at Fitzwater Yard to pick up the afternoon on-board crew members.

I lingered on the platform after disembarking at Rockside Road station.

The 765 and its train would go north of the station to make room for the Scenic inbound from Akron.

By now it was almost 12:30 p.m. Clouds were forming, but it was still sunny as I got my last photographs of the 765 as it backed northward.

As it turned out, the afternoon trip was 25 minutes late leaving Rockside due to late passengers and other issues I wasn’t on hand to observe.

That trip only went as far south as Peninsula and by the time the photo runbys at Boston Mills were executed, the skies had turned mostly cloudy.

It had been an enjoyable experience riding behind the 765 even if I never saw it while it was pulling the train. But I knew it was there.

The CVSR is one of the few places where the 765 can operate. Every year there is talk about the 765 going to various unspecified places, but those trips seldom seem to materialize.

This year the 765 has run on Metra in Chicago and on the CVSR. No fall excursions have been announced of which I am aware.

Many Northeast Ohio railfans have probably become indifferent toward the 765 running on the CVSR. Been there, done that.

The Berkshire-type locomotive has been a regular fixture on the CVSR since 2010 except for a couple of years.

Yet I always treat each appearance of the 2-8-4 as its last because some day that might be the case.

Disembarking at Boston Mills for the photo runbys. I’ve made many photographs over the years of people getting off from the outside perspective, but never from the on the train perspective.

Getting a photograph of the NKP 765 backing up for the first of two photo runbys at Boston Mills.

Here comes the first photo runby.

Not everyone disembarked at Boston Mills for the photo runbys. They enjoyed waving and taking in the scene.

The second photo runby is getting underway as the 765 charges southward toward the waiting crowd.

Blowing the whistle at Boston Mills. The 765 crew paid tribute to the late Jerry Jacobson by placing his name on both sides of the cab.

Time to get back on board the train following the runbys. We’ll need that step box.

He’s wearing a NKP hat, sitting in a former NKP coach and riding behind a NKP steam locomotive.

Reviewing the video that they made on their smart phones of the 765.

A pair of youthful photographers watch for the steam engine at Hillside Road.

Lending a helping hand to a detraining passenger at Rockside Road.

A wave from my car host as the train leaves the station at Rockside Road.

On its Way Back Home to Indiana

September 27, 2017

Here are four images of Nickel Plate Road No. 765’s westward ferry movement through the Bellevue area on Tuesday.

The top image is east of Bellevue at a place referred to as Kimball.

The remaining images were taken in Bellevue as the 765 headed west on the wye to the Fostoria District of Norfolk Southern.

A big thank you goes out to the crew of NKP 765 and all who brought the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad’s  2017 “Steam in the Valley” together. With the sweltering heat of the last couple weeks it must have been brutal!

Article and Photographs by Robert Farkas