Posts Tagged ‘Strasburg Rail Road’

Adventures at the 1985 NRHS Convention

August 14, 2021

An Amtrak Metroliner set passes through Lancaster station.

At the Strasburg Rail Road.


At Mt. Holly Springs


Steamers at the Gettysburg Railroad.

Two favorite destinations of mine over the past few years have been the Strasburg Rail Road with the visit of Norfolk & Western 611 and Horseshoe Curve near Altoona.

Way back in August 1985 when I visited these places they had a very different look.

The event was the 1985 NRHS Convention based out of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Of the four 4 steamers in operation during our venture, only one will eventually be steaming again, hopefully. Two of the locomotives in operation at Strasburg from the collection of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania were Pennsylvania Railroad 4-4-2 No. 7002 and PRR 4-4-0 No. 1223. They were the stars of the convention.

A few years later they were returned to the collection across the street at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.

Another trip was an excursion on the Gettysburg Railroad. Steamers at the Gettysburg were Canadian National 2-8-2 No. 3254 and Huntingdon & Broad Top 2-8-0 No. 38.

The 3254 was traded to Steamtown National Historic Site for Canadian Pacific No. 1278.

H&BT No. 38 is now at the Everett Railroad. It is the locomotive to be restored, hopefully, in the near future.

The convention concluded with an Amtrak special from Lancaster to Horseshoe Curve/Gallitzin and return.  As you can see this was during the Conrail years.

Article and Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

N&W 611 Traveling to Strasburg

May 26, 2021

Norfolk & Western 4-8-4 No. 611 departed Roanoke, Virginia, on Monday for the Strasburg Rail Road in Pennsylvania.

The Class J steam locomotive had been set to make that trip two weeks ago but was delayed due to a broken stoker screw.

The damaged part has since been repaired. The 611 will participate in a series of events at the Strasburg through Oct. 3.

N&W Stoker Issue Still Being Fixed

May 25, 2021

Norfolk & Western 4-8-4 No. 611 continues to have issues with its stoker that is delaying its move to the Strasburg Rail Road in Pennsylvania.

The Virginia Museum of Transportation, who owns the 611, said its workers have confirmed that the stoker problem is due to a break in the stoker screw.

Workers have separated the locomotive from its tender to reach and repair the problem area. The museum said the break was likely caused by a weak spot in the original casting.

The museum has not said when the repairs are expected to be finished and the locomotive ferried to Pennsylvania.

N&W to Travel to Pennsylvania Soon

May 21, 2021

Norfolk & Western 4-8-4 No. 611 is expected to travel to Strasburg, Pennsylvania, in the coming days after its coal stocker was repaired.

The Virginia Museum of Transportation, which owns the Class J locomotive, said “barring any unforeseen circumstances” the ferry move will be made.

Officials have cited safety and security concerns for declining to say when the 611 will travel.

The locomotive had been scheduled to be in Pennsylvania by now and operate this weekend on the Strasburg Rail Road.

But that was delayed by problems with the coal stocker that were discovered when in preparation for the ferry move last Monday the locomotive’s fireman found the stoker screw was not moving.

An inspection found it had broken a few feet into the tender. 

After separating the engine from its tender, workers removed 35 tons of coal. Museum officials said the cause of the stoker screw break was likely a weak spot in the original casting.

They said an internal void was observed extending toward the edge of the stoker screw.

One it arrives in Strasburg, the 611 is scheduled to participate in a series of events and pull excursion trains through October.

Arrival of N&W 611 at Strasburg Delayed

May 18, 2021

The arrival of Norfolk & Western 4-8-4 No. 611 at the Strasburg Rail Road has been delayed by mechanical problems.

Consequently, all events involving the 611 that had been scheduled for the Pennsylvania-based tourist railroad the weekend of May 21-23 have been cancelled.

The Virginia Museum of Transportation, which owns the Class J locomotive, said an inspection found a malfunction with the locomotive’s stoker that prevented the stoker from moving coal into the firebox.

Workers are seeking to repair the problem, the museum said in a news release.

The museum also cited security and safety reasons for declining to announce the timing and route of the ferry move to the Strasburg.

Earlier, the Strasburg had announced that the 611 would participate in a series of events there through October.

Steam Saturday: Last Time N&W 611 Visited Strasburg

April 24, 2021

This week the Strasburg Rail Road announced that Norfolk & Western Class J No. 611 would return to the Pennsylvania tourist railroad in May and spend the summer and early fall there.

There won’t be any high speed running, but visitors will be able to take cab tours, blow the whistle and watch the locomotive be prepared for excursions.

Engineer for a half hour opportunities sold out the first day they were posted.

Here is a look back to fall 2019 when the 611 offered similar events on the Strasburg.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Strasburg Rail Road to Host N&W 611

April 21, 2021

The Strasburg Rail Road said this week that Norfolk & Western Class J No. 611 will spend much of the year on its grounds and pull a series of 45-minute excursions.

The 611 will be on site between May 21 and Oct. 3 and will be the motive power for the day’s main train on select days running to Paradise, Pennsylvania, and return.

Dates the 611 is expected to operate are May 22-23; May 29-30; June 5-6; July 2-4; July 10-11: July 17-18: July 24-25; Aug. 20-22; Aug. 27-29; Sept.4-5; Sept. 24-26; and Oct. 2-3.

Fares for coach and open air cars are $16.50 and $18.50. Tickets for first class are $22.50 and $27.50 and include parlor, lounge and club cars. Also available will be a dining car option and a wine and cheese event.

To purchase tickets for these events visit https://www.strasburgrailroad.com/611-at-strasburg/

On the website select “Regular Daily Steam Train” then search by date or accommodation.

Other events set to be offered include a hand-on-the-throttle event, a fireman’s seat event and a jump seat event.

The engineer’s eat event is described as a 30-minute experience allows participants to operate the locomotive.

Participants will receive an orientation about the controls and operate under the direction of a certified steam locomotive engineer.

The fireman’s seat experience also is a 30-minute event in which participants will serve as a locomotive fireman under the direction of an experienced steam locomotive fireman.

Some of these events have already sold out or are expected to sell out soon.

Also being advertised on the Strasburg website are various other experiences including blowing the whistle of the 611, working as a “hostler,” cab tours, and helping to fire up the locomotive before it sets out on its journeys.

The Strasburg Rail Road is located in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Steam Saturday: An Amtrak Detour to a Pa. Steam Weekend

February 20, 2021
Norfolk & Western 475 at Groff’s picnic grove

The wee hours of the Oct. 21, 2006, found Jeff Troutman and myself scheduled to board Amtrak’s eastbound Capitol Limited and transfer to the Pennsylvanian at Pittsburgh to get to Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

However things changed dramatically that morning. We eventually learned that a major derailment of a Norfolk Southern ethanol train had occurred on the bridge over the Beaver River at New Brighton, Pennsylvania.

That explained why Train 30 just sat in Cleveland and we never were able to board.

What we were offered was a reroute on the Lake Shore Limited to New York City and a connection to a Keystone Service train to Lancaster via Philadelphia.

After our enormous bonus mileage, we were able to partake of a Carl Franz photo special at 

Strasburg with Norfolk & Western 4-8-0  No. 475 and Great Western 2-10-0 No. 90.

Here are some highlights of that weekend outing.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas  

N&W 475 and a sunrise spectacular
Between Carpenters and Leamon Place
N&W 475 runs alongside Great Western 90 at Groff’s

 

Steam Saturday: Day on the Strasburg Rail Road

August 22, 2020

It’s the late 1960s or maybe the early 1970s. We standing trackside on the Strasburg Railroad where we catch the arrival back in Strasburg of 2-10-0 No. 90.

Built by Baldwin in 1924, No. 90 is, in the words of the railroad itself, an iconic symbol of the Strasburg. It the largest steamer in the railroad’s collection and arrived in May 1967.

No. 90 is one of two operational decapods in America, the railroad said on its website.

Before coming to Pennsylvania, No. 90 spent 40 years hauling freight, primarily sugar beets, in northern Colorado.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

 

AoSRM Takes Delivery of ‘Camelback’ Locomotive

August 5, 2020

The Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum in Sugarcreek this week completed delivery of a rare Reading Railroad “Camelback” steam locomotive.

No. 1187 is the 23rd steam locomotive acquired by AoSRM and one of only three Camelbacks still existing.

The museum acquired the locomotive during a closed bid auction conducted by the Strasburg Rail Road.

The locomotive and its tender were moved to Ohio by truck. A third truck carrying parts is expected to arrive on Wednesday.

“This Reading 0-4-0 Camelback is a unique, unusual and significant type of steam locomotive that is a welcome addition to the Age of Steam Roundhouse,” said William Strawn, chairman of the board of directors of the Jerry and Laura Jacobson Foundation.

“This tiny switch engine rolled on just 4 driving wheels and was able to negotiate tight curves to move railroad cars at factories or waterfront docks,” he said.

Built in 1903, No. 1187 was the last Camelback used in regular freight railroad service before its 1962 retirement. It last operated under steam in 1967.

The locomotive began service as a Philadelphia & Reading Railroad 0-4-0 steam switcher that was specially designed to burn the smokeless anthracite “hard coal” mined in eastern Pennsylvania.

Camelbacks needed a special, wider firebox to burn anthracite coal with its lower heating value than found in other types of coal.

Consequently, engineers operated the locomotive inside a separate cab mounted on top of the boiler.

It was this hump-back appearance resembling the desert-dwelling animal that gave rise to their nickname, “Camelback.” Firemen shoveled coal into the wide firebox in the usual manner, but from their own small, open-sided cab located at the back of the locomotive.

“Even though No. 1187 appears in rough shape, AoSRM has all of its parts except for its wood cab that has rotted away,” said Tim Sposato, chief mechanical Officer at AoSRM.

“Luckily, included with the locomotive’s purchase is the original drawing of No. 1187’s cab. That will be a huge help in AoSRM’s cosmetic restoration of this rare little switcher.”