Posts Tagged ‘steam locomotives’

Everett RR Test Fires Alco 2-6-0 ‘Cuban’ Mogul

September 3, 2015

The Everett Railroad in Pennsylvania recently test fired an Alco 2-6-0 that it hopes will be able to pull excursion trains this fall and winter.

The former Bath & Hammondsport No. 11 is one of 59 stock “Cuban” Moguls built between 1920 and 1926 for service in that island nation’s sugar cane fields.

Just 40 of the locomotives were exported to Cuba and the remaining units sat at the factory for years before being acquired for use on U.S. short lines railroads.

Built in 1920, the 55.5-ton No. 11 sat at Alco’s Cooke Works until 1923 when it was sold to the 9-mile long Narragansett Pier Railroad in Rhode Island.

After the Narragansett Pier went to diesel power in 1937, No. 11 went to the Bath & Hammondsport in New York.

That carrier went to diesels in 1949 and No. 11 was stored until being sold in 1955 to Dr. Stanley Groman for his Rail City Museum in Sandy Creek, New York, where it spend two decades pulling tourist trains.

Nos. 11 had series of owners until being purchased in 2006 by Everett President Alan Maples.

Restoration work began at the Western Maryland Scenic where the locomotive had its wheel centers turned, new tires fitted, new crown brass and hub liners machined, spring rigging overhauled, and received a rebuilt pony truck and a new pilot beam. The tender received a new tank bottom, a rebuilt frame and repainting.

The engine was moved last March to the Everett’s shops in Claysburg, Pennsylvania, where boiler tubes were installed, the air system overhauled, new air tanks fitted, lubrication and steam lines run, new boiler studs and washout plugs fitted, a crack in the right cylinder was repaired, piston and valve rods turned, rod brass fitted, new draft plates made for the front end, and the tender received a new drawbar and coal deck.

A successful hydro test for federal inspectors was made in August.

The Everett, based near Altoona, is a 23-mile short line that primarily hauls grain and paper products.

NKP Steamer 765 Will have Pulled 4,500 Passengers by the End of Labor Day Weekend

September 2, 2015

About 4,500 passengers will have ridden behind Nickel Plate Road No. 765 by the end of the Labor Day weekend with upcoming trips in Northeast Ohio on the docket.

The Lima-built Berkshire began its 2015 excursion season in July and has since pulled all-day trips out of Fort Wayne, Indiana; Youngstown; Buffalo, New York; and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

All of those trips have been in conjunction with the 21st Century Steam program of Norfolk Southern.

This week will see the 765 sitting in a roundhouse at the Steamtown National Historical Site alongside NKP 759, which is part of the Steamtown collection in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

No. 765 will be pulling trips on Sept. 5, from Scranton to the Delaware Water Gap and on Sept. 7 from Scranton to East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.

This has been No. 765’s busiest mainline steam performance in terms of miles operated and states visited, said Kelly Lynch, the communications director of the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, which owns and maintains the 765.

“We’re the most exhausted steam-excursion crew out there,” Lynch told Trains magazine.

The engine crew will do a 31-day inspection in Scranton this week.

The 2-8-4 locomotive has pulled consists of 20 cars over routes that have not seen a steam locomotive in a quarter of a century.

The longest run the locomotive has made was the more than 250 miles that it covered between Buffalo and Corning, New York.

Other highlights of the 765’s travels has been a meet-up with the Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern’s 1925 Pacific, No. 425, and crossing the soon-to-be-replaced 240-foot-high Portageville bridge over the Genesee River in New York’s Letchworth State Park.

After the Steamtown excursions this weekend, the 765 will head for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad for three consecutive weekends of excursions that begin on Sept. 19.

Army 2-8-0 Joins Age of Steam Fleet

August 12, 2015

Jerry Joe Jacobson has another locomotive in his roundhouse. Jacobson’s Age of Steam Roundhouse in Sugarcreek has acquired former U.S. Army No. 612. The 2-8-0 is Jacobson’s 14th locomotive.

More than 2,000 2-8-0s were built during World War II for service overseas and eight have been preserved in the United States.

No. 612 spent its career stateside, working at the U.S. Army Transportation School at Ft. Eustis, Virginia.

It was donated in the 1970s to the State of West Virginia and sent to the then state-owned Cass Scenic Railroad.

However, Cass never fired the locomotive and it was sold in n 2010 to Robert Franzen, president of Steam Services of America

Franzen sent the 612 to the Southeastern Railroad Museum in Georgia. It was shipped by truck earlier this summer to the Age of Steam roundhouse, which plans to stabilize it to prevent any additional decay.

Western New York Turns out in Droves for 765

August 3, 2015

It was a weekend of firsts for the Nickel Plate Road No. 765 and the Norfolk Southern 21st Century Steam program.

The 765 ran over some new territory when it pulled a pair of excursions on Saturday and Sunday over the Southern Tier route between Buffalo and Corning, New York.

The train carried 933 passengers on Saturday, which was a sellout, and 869 on Sunday.

The Lima-built Berkshire drew applause when it crossed the Portageville Viaduct in Letchworth State Park.

The steel trestle, erected in 1875, will soon be replaced by NS with construction set to begin later this year.

Passengers also received sparkling views of the Genesee River and the lush hills of Western New York.

A box lunch was put aboard the train at Hornell and made a two-hour layover in Corning. Some passengers took advantage of the service stop to make an optional tour of the Corning Glass Museum.

The Saturday train arrived in Buffalo nearly 90 minutes late. Some of the delay was attributed to the train slowing at grade crossings for safety reasons due to the large crowds of spectactors and photographers on hand.

The next excursion for No. 765 will be the Allentown-Pittston, Pennsylvania, Lehigh Gorge Special on Aug. 22 and 23.

6 Hours of Waiting for 3 Minutes of Action

July 28, 2015
Its a Nickel Plate steam locomotive on the former Nickel Plate Road. The 765 must have crossed this bridge countless times in the late 1940 and the 1950s.

It’s a Nickel Plate steam locomotive on the former Nickel Plate Road. The 765 must have crossed this bridge countless times in the late 1940 and the 1950s.

When Peter Bowler and I arrived on Riverside Drive just east of the Painesville trestle of Norfolk Southern last Thursday morning, we nearly had the place to ourselves. Just one other railfan was parked there.

It was nearly 7:30 a.m. and had the ferry move of Nickel Plate Road 765 followed the best case scenario, it would be showing up in about a half hour to an hour.

But ferry moves seldom, if ever, follow the best case scenario.

The 765 crew had tweeted the night before that the Berkshire would be leaving Rockport Yard in Cleveland between 7 and 11 a.m.

As the morning drug on, the crowd got larger and more diverse. There were the usual railroad enthusiasm suspects as well as the proverbial daisy pickers.

Countless numbers of people stopped and asked what everyone was doing here.

A report filtered through the crowd that westbound Norfolk Southern train No. 145 had the Virginian heritage locomotive in the lead.

Then came another report around mid morning that the 765 was waiting for the 26R and the 206 to go by and it would follow them eastward.

The NS line east of Cleveland is at best moderately busy. It can go quiet for hours, but that was not the case today.

NS put by us two westbound intermodal trains and two eastbound trains, a manifest freight and an auto rack.

I chatted with fellow Akron Railroad Club members Edward Ribinskas and Jeff Troutman, both Painesville residents. I also spoke with a couple other fans I knew.

At 10:21 a.m., the 765 crew tweeted that it was leaving Rockport Yard. Maybe it would get here by 11:30, but noon was more likely.

But that wasn’t to be. There was a 23K coming westward and what the Youngstown Line dispatcher told that train was discouraging.

The 23K would be waiting in the siding at Unionville for five eastbound trains, the 26R, the 22K, the 206, the 310 and the 955.

The latter was the symbol for the NKP 765 ferry move, although that symbol was later changed to 958.

The 145 with the NS 1069 on the lead was stuck in Conneaut and would be there for a while until all of those eastbounds got out of the way. So much for seeing the Virginian H unit today.

We counted down the number of NS eastbounds passing by. As one wag commented, we would be getting a lot of “catfish” on the Painesville trestle – a slang term for an NS locomotive – and a lot of practice making photographs of where we wanted to catch the 765.

One some outings you might not get any NS trains on the trestle. On this day I got eight of ‘em.

Some photographers worried openly about the sun angles by the time the 765 showed up.

Throughout the morning, we watched the skies turn from to partly cloudy, to sun and clouds, to partly sunny and then back to clear again.

We even watched a funeral procession pass by to a nearby cemetery and spotted a guy tooling around in a vintage automobile that was a good two to three decades older than the 765.

The crowd continued to grow in numbers to the 50 to 100 range. There was the expected barking at those who the more vocal members of the photo line thought were going to get into their photos.

I heard the 958 call a clear signal at Daniels, located about five railroad signal blocks to the west. I took my place on the photo line.

Someone said the 765 had called Jackson Street and cameras were raised and/or fixed onto tripods. The long-awaited show was about to begin.

It was 1:45 p.m. Peter and I had rendezvoused near I-271 in the eastern Cleveland suburbs at 5:30 a.m. before setting out for Painesville. We could have stayed in bed longer.

Four minutes later there was smoke, the sound of a steam locomotive whistle and then a headlight on the Painesville trestle.

Six hours of waiting were about to pay off. Three minutes later, the 765 and its train were gone.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Grand 02-x

Grand 03-x

 

The photo line eyes the 765 as it approaches RIverside Drive.

The photo line eyes the 765 as it approaches RIverside Drive.

The passenger cars came from Norfolk Southern and various private owners.

The passenger cars came from Norfolk Southern and various private owners.

 

Chasing NKP 765 Was Easiest in Youngstown

July 27, 2015
The 765 trails on the backup move to Hubbard on Saturday. This is my favorite photo of the two days as it reminds me of the many photos Dave McKay used to take in the Youngstown area.   Taken from an overpass just east Covelli Center

The 765 trails on the backup move to Hubbard on Saturday. This is my favorite photo of the two days as it reminds me of the many photos Dave McKay used to take in the Youngstown area. Taken from an overpass just east Covelli Center

In chasing the Nickel Plate Road 765 Ashtabula trips last weekend I discovered two things.

First, it is not very easy to chase this line.  Second, the majority of good photos were in Youngstown.

Yes, there are some nice locations along the line but at the speeds that the 765 was travelling it was difficult to keep up.  No four lane highway directly parallels the Youngstown Line as ws the case for the Indiana trip chase.

However, in Youngstown there were several good spots in close proximity.  Even better, the train made several reverse moves to access the loading facility at the Covelli Center.

In the afternoon, the sequence was as follows.  The train would pull in from Ashtabula with the 765 leading.  Then it would back in on the line to unload.

After unloading, the 765 would pull east. The train would reverse to Hubbard where a wye is located.

The train would turn here and then back into the Haselton Yard to stay overnight.  An SD40-2 was provided to assist with these and stayed with the train to help at Ashtabula.

All these moves were at slow speed and provided many good opportunities for photographs and video.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

Heading north at Bell Wick Road at Hubbard on Sunday morning.  The railroad turns east west for a distance here with good sun in both directions.

Heading north at Bell Wick Road at Hubbard on Sunday morning. The railroad turns east west for a distance here with good sun in both directions.

Pulling out of Covelli Center after unloading on Sunday.

Pulling out of Covelli Center after unloading on Sunday.

Leading Sunday's train into Youngstown.

Leading Sunday’s train into Youngstown.

A coal train followed shortly after.

A coal train followed shortly after.

The 765 charges out of town Sunday morning.

The 765 charges out of town Sunday morning.

The steam locmotive wasn't the only thing of interest this weekend.  Rick Rowlands showed up with this old hi-rail truck lettered for Conrail.

The steam locmotive wasn’t the only thing of interest this weekend. Rick Rowlands showed up with this old hi-rail truck lettered for Conrail.

NS 3479 leads the backup move to Hubbard on Saturday

NKP 765 Assaulting Carson Hill in Ashtabula

July 26, 2015
Hearing the seeing the Nickel Plate Road 765 work up Carson hill in Ashtabula was quite an experience. This is my favorite photo of the day.

Hearing and seeing the Nickel Plate Road 765 work up Carson hill in Ashtabula was quite an experience. This is my favorite photo of the day.

While photographing Nickel Plate Road No. 765 on Thursday in Ashtabula as it made a service stop, I heard Rich Melvin of the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society talk about there being a “hell of a hill” on the Youngstown Line of Norfolk Southern leaving town.

On Saturday afternoon I decided to check it out as the 2-8-4 Lima-built Berkshire assaulted the hill with a load of passengers on the return leg of a public excursion between Youngstown and Ashtabula.

I decided to forego going into town to look for the train in favor of scouting photo locations. I liked Plymouth Road because the tracks curve to the south here and the location is fairly open and parking would not be difficult.

A handful of other fans were on hand, including Drayton Blackgrove, a Michigan college student I had met while chasing the 765 last year on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. He runs an outfit named Delay in Block Productions and posts videos on YouTube.com.

This year he had a drone and it was the first time that I got to see someone up close operate one of those things. I was amazed at how quickly that thing can take off.

Although I heard the 765 talking on the radio when it was ready to leave, what I was really listening for was the sound of a steam locomotive working upgrade.

I was not disappointed. Melvin was at the throttle as the 765 ascended Carson hill, putting on a show that was a pure delight for the eyes and the ears alike.

I later caught the 765 just south of Dorset, although I got there a little too late, and again at the U.S. 322 crossing at Wick. With that I decided to head for home. It had been a most enjoyable day chasing the 765.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Coming into the curve on Carson hill near the hamlet of Plymouth Center.

Coming into the curve on Carson hill near the hamlet of Plymouth Center.

Blowing the whistle for Plymouth Road. Until about five to 10  minutes before the train arrived, two NS signal maintainer were working to get the grade crossing flashers back in working order.

Blowing the whistle for Plymouth Road. Until about five to 10 minutes before the train arrived, two NS signal maintainer were working to get the grade crossing flashers back in working order.

NKP 765 and its train are 26 miles out of Ashtabula on a former New York Central line that now known as the Youngstown Line of Norfolk Southern. The train is approaching Wick.

NKP 765 and its train are 26 miles out of Ashtabula on a former New York Central line that now known as the Youngstown Line of Norfolk Southern. The train is approaching Wick.

About to cross U.S. 322 at Wick en route back to Youngstown.

About to cross U.S. 322 at Wick en route back to Youngstown.

Easing past the cemetery south of Dorset. Cloudy conditions were a challenge here.

Easing past the cemetery south of Dorset. Cloudy conditions were a challenge here.

The crew of the helper locomotive greets the locals as the train rolls through Wick.

The crew of the helper locomotive greets the locals as the train rolls through Wick.

Night Photo Shoot Planned for 0-6-0 Steamer

July 26, 2015

A night photo shoot of former Canadian National 0-6-0 No. 7456 will be held on Aug. 8 at Heritage Village in Sidney, Michigan.

The locomotive, which is on static display, is a Class O-18-a built by the Grand Trunk Railway in its Pointe St. Charles Shops in 1920.

The event, sponsored by Railyard Productions, will feature lights, simulated steam and actors.

Grand Trunk built 50 of these locomotives between 1919 and 1921 and designated them the F9 Class. Lima built another 24 locomotives for Grand Trunk in 1920.

CN, which took over ownership of the Grand Trunk, reclassified the homebuilt locomotives O-18-a and the Lima-built F9s became the O-18-b class.

Tickets for the night photo shoot are $30 per person. Gates open at 6 p.m. and the event begins at 7 p.m. For more information, go to www.railyardproductions.com.

Heritage Meet in Ashtabula: NKP 765, NS 1069

July 24, 2015
The engineer of the 765 waves at the crew of the 145. The two locomotives then exchanged whistle greetings.

The engineer of the 765 waves at the crew of the 145. The two locomotives then exchanged whistle greetings.

Nose to nose in the image that I really wanted to make.

Nose to nose in the image that I really wanted to make.

The nose of NS 1069 reflects on the tender of the NKP 765

The nose of NS 1069 reflects on the tender of the NKP 765

In the back of my mind I knew it was possible, although it seemed unlikely. The Virginian heritage locomotive of Norfolk Southern was leading the 145 westward on the former Nickel Plate Road route between Cleveland and Buffalo, New York.

NKP 765 would use that line between Cleveland and Ashtabula, Ohio, on Thursday as part of its ferry move to Youngstown for a pair of weekend excursions.

But with the 26R, 22K, 206 and 310 immediately preceeding the 765 ferry move eastbound — which carried symbol 958 — the 145 was marooned in Conneaut, Ohio.

For that matter, the 23K was stuck in the siding in Unionville waiting for all five trains to pass.

After shooting the 765 crossing the Grand River on the trestle in Painesville, fellow Akron Railroad Club member Peter Bowler and I gave chase, but were unable to catch the 958 until right before Ashtabula.

We heard on the radio that the 958 would re-crew at Woodman Road and that it was going into the siding.

As we drove down Woodman, the 145 was talking to the Youngstown Line dispatcher. Maybe there was a chance. As it turned out, the 958 would wait for the 145 to pass before proceeding toward the connection to the Youngstown Line.

The 145 went into emergency about half-mile to the east, a separated air hose the culprit. After everything was repaired, it was on its way.  It was the photo opportunity of the day.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Reading 2100 to be Shown Off at Open House

July 17, 2015

The public is being invited to come see Reading 4-8-4 No. 2100 during an Aug. 15-16 open house at the roundhouse of the Midwest Railway Preservation Society in Cleveland.

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is no admission or parking fee, but a ride in a caboose will be available for $5 a person. The roundhouse is located at 2800 West 3rd Street.

The 2100 was moved to Cleveland in April by the American Steam Railroad, which plans to restore it to operating condition.

The group said that it will make a special announcement on Aug. 15 about its Fire Up 2100 campaign.

Since arriving at the former Baltimore & Ohio roundhouse after a 2,300-mile journey on a flatcar from Richland, Washington, mechanical contractors and volunteers have begun a mechanical inspection of the locomotive.  The cost of restoration has been put at less than $700,000.

For more information, go to www.fireup2100.org.


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