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.”
In 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 gofundme.com/railroadforklift.