Posts Tagged ‘steam locomotives’

Getting Up Early to Chase NKP 767 Ferry Move

September 27, 2016


On Sunday morning I chased the inbound ferry move of Nickel Plate Road No. 767/765 to Akron. I first set up at Peninsula where the sun was just hitting the treetops and filtering through in a couple places.

It was a bit on the chilly side, about 55 degrees, but that is good for producing steam. When 767 did come through it was belching steam and smoke as if it was hauling a hundred cars of a manifest freight.

One photo of the sequence is my favorite of the entire two weeks of steam in the valley 2016 as the sun hit the locomotive just right.

After that I chased it all the way to Akron getting, some grab shots along the way. Most weren’t very good but one at the farmers field across from Salzays market did turn out well.

I caught it a few more times but the spots weren’t very good for photos so I tried the video function on my camera instead.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon




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.

N&W 611 Travels to North Carolina

September 9, 2016

Norfolk & Western No. 611 traveled this past week to the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer where the 4-8-4 will be pulling the museum’s train during the weekend of Sept. 10-11.

Fire up 611The J-Class locomotive was accompanied by two tool cars and five gondolas.

The 611 is expected to return to its home at the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke in early fall.

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.

Say Hello to NKP No. 767, a.k.a. NKP 765

August 20, 2016

Say goodbye to Nickel Plate Road No. 765 and hello to NKP No. 767. At least for now.

The Fort Wayne Railroad  Historical Society on Friday announced that it has renumbered its 2-8-4 Berkshire and it will be sporting No. 767 when it runs on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad next month.

NKP 765The number change was made in conjunction with an announcement of plans for the Headwaters Junction in downtown Fort Wayne, a railroad themed park.

Why No. 767? Because that was the number of the Nickel Plate steam locomotive that was hand in October 1955 to help Fort Wayne officials celebrate the opening of a $9 million track elevation project.

NKP 767 broke a ceremonial ribbon more than 60 years ago for the track elevation project.

When the NKP was retiring its steam locomotives, Fort Wayne interests asked the railroad to donate No. 767 for display in the city’s Lawton Park

Instead, Fort Wayne received No. 765 because railroad managers believe it to be in be condition for preservation. Railroad officials said the 767 was in rough condition.

No. 765 had regularly operated between Fort Wayne and Chicago and was a favorite among NKP crews.

However, when the 765 was placed in the park, its number board and number plate had been switched with the 767 and shop forces had repainted No. 767 on the  locomotive and tender.

Number 767 remained in place until 1974 when the Fort Wayne society began restoring the Lawton Park locomotive to operating condition.

Wanting to be historically accurate, the society renumbered it 765 to accurately reflect what it had been when built in Lima, Ohio, in 1944.

Society spokesman Kelly Lynch said the 767 number will stay on for the remainder of 2016.

The locomotive will have a 767 number plate and lighted number board. Magnetic numbers have been added to the sides of the cab and rear of the tender.

Also new on the locomotive is an oscillating red Mars light to the front of the smokebox and above the headlight.

Lynch noted that NKP Berkshires operated with such lights in the 1950s. The Mars light on the 765 was removed during its 1975 restoration work.

No. 767 will pull trips on the CVSR on Sept. 17, 18, 24 and 25 and tickets are now on sale for those excursions.

0-6-0T To Pull Trips at Kentucky Rail Museum

August 19, 2016

An 0-6-0T steam locomotive will pull excursions during two August weekends at the Bluegrass Railroad Museum in Versailles, Kentucky.

The locomotive is Lehigh Valley Coal Company No. 126 and it will operate on Aug. 20, 21, 27 and 28.

KentuckyThe trips are being made in part to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the museum.

Trips depart at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. each day on a two-hour round-trip. A highlight will be the Young’s High Bridge, which is 1,659 feet long and 283 feet tall.

Photo runbys will be staged of the train crossing a wood trestle.

No. 126 was built in 1931 by Vulcan Iron Works and is owned by John and Barney Gramling, a father and son team that restored the locomotive and takes it to various museums in the eastern United States.

AOS Roundhouse Summarizes Recent Work

August 18, 2016

The Age of Steam Roundhouse has posted its latest progress report and here are highlights of what the shop has been working on during the past six months.

Former 0-6-0 No. 12 of the Morehead & North Fork continued to undergo restoration.

Age of SteamThe former Southern Railway engine has a new tender tank that was placed on a rebuilt tender frame and refurbished trucks.

Wood decking was applied to the frame. The tender’s air brake system—including piping, brackets and brake cylinder—was overhauled and the back headlight put into place.

Although now painted in primer, the tender will be painted later in gloss back.

No. 12 also underwent an ultra sound examination that found the need for some minor boiler repairs. Shop forces are planning to install 300 new boiler tubes later this year.

Canadian Pacific No. 1293 passed a Federal Railroad Administration annual inspection last April.

Repairs undertaken on the 4-6-2 include adjusting several of appliances, including the Nathan mechanical lubricator and 8-1/2-inch Westinghouse cross-compound air compressor.

The roundhouse has received components needed to repair the boiler of Lake Shore & Ishpeming 2-8-0 No. 33.

This work will include fabrication of the locomotive’s new crown sheet and Nicholson Thermic Syphons.

Major work has begun to restore Alabama, Tennessee & Northern No. 401. The locomotive, which most recently was Woodward Iron No. 41, was in rough condition after being stored in the elements for more than 50 years.

Work completed thus far includes removing a heavy accumulation of rust and layers of dried grease, particularly in the cylinders and smokebox. New wood plans were places on the footboard pilot and the rear of the tender.

A headlight has been put into place along with a bell, class lights, lubricators and other appliances that have improved the “front-end” look of the locomotive. Additional cosmetic work is planned for No. 401

Locomotive No. 1, an 0-4-0 that operates on compressed air, has received a cosmetic overhaul that included repainting it gloss black and installing new cab windows. The AOS workforce is still seeking two sand boxes to place on No. 1

AOS acquired from the Wheeling & Lake Erie a small sand tower that is thought to have been built by the Akron Canton & Youngstown at Brittain Yard in Akron.

The tower had stood unused for more than 25 years and AOS management decided that it had a correct steam-era appearance. The tower is being rebuilt at the AOS back shop.

Another new addition to the AOS property is the addition of a pair of rebuilt Baltimore & Ohio color position light signals that now stand at the front entrance of the AOS complex.

The CPLs now have steam engine-era masts, signal lights and finials.  They have been wired to automatically cycle into all four indications—clear (vertical green), approach (diagonal yellow), stop (horizontal red) and restricting (diagonal lunar white).

Minor repairs have been completed on two F40M-2Cs, No. 452 and No. 460, which have been leased to Ohi-Rail Corporation for use in freight service.

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


AOS to Have Public Tours Sept. 10

August 16, 2016

Jerry Jacobson’s Age of Steam Roundhouse will offer public tours on Sept. 10 for a $20 fee.

Age of SteamThe tours will begin at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m., at the facility located just outside Sugarcreek, Ohio.

Following the tours, AOS will host a reception to raise money for the Garaway Education Foundation, which awards scholarships to Garaway High School students to pursue higher education.

The reception, which begins at 5:30 p.m., will cost $50 per person and feature access to the locomotives and other areas of the roundhouse.

Although periodic tours of the AOS facility have been held in recent years, it is not common for the site to hold an open to all event.

To purchase tickets online for the roundhouse tour and/or the reception, click on the following link:

Volunteers Needed to Help with PM 1225

July 17, 2016
The Steam Railroading Institute in Owosso, Michigan, has issued a call for volunteers and mechanics who are needed to help get Pere Marquette No. 1225 ready for its annual inspection at the end of July.

Steam Railroading InstituteThe  2-8-4 is scheduled to pull steam excursions for the Mellon Festival in Howell, Michigan, on August 20 and 21 and mechanics are needed to work between Tuesday and Saturday.

Those interested should contact Keven Mayer, the SRI’s chief mechanical officer at 989-725-9464 extension 6 or to stop by the SRI’s offices in Owosso.