Posts Tagged ‘Viscose Company No. 6’

Steam on the Oil Creek & Titusville

April 17, 2021

For a weekend in July 2012 the sounds of steam visited the Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad in Pennsylvania.

What sounded like big steam locomotives were actually saddle tank steamers Flagg Coal Company No. 75 and Viscose Company No. 6.

These photos are of the locomotives in and near Titusville, Pennsylvania, on July 15, 2012.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Steam Saturday: Viscose No. 6 on the AC&J

March 6, 2021

Here are some of my favorites of Viscose 0-4-4 saddletank No. 6 and Ashtabula, Carson & Jefferson No. 107 during the steam excursion event of Aug. 30 and 31, 2008.

No. 6 was built by Baldwin in September 1924 for the American Viscose Company of Roanoke, Virginia.

In 1960 it was sold to the Gem City Iron & Metal Company of Pulaski, Virginia. In September 2004 it was purchased my Scott Symans of Dunkirk, New York, and restored to operating condition.

AC&J 107 is an Alco S2 switcher built in June 1950 as Nickel Plate Road No. 45. It became Norfolk & Western No. 2045 after the 1964 merger of the NKP and N&W.

The Fairport, Painesville & Eastern purchased it in February 1968 and it became their No. 107. The AC&J acquired it in June 1984.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Remembering the Owosso Train Festival of July 2009

July 28, 2019

Southern Pacific Daylight 4449 returns to Owosso in late afternoon after an day trip to Alma and back on the former Ann Arbor Railroad.

It was 10 years ago this month that 36,000 people flocked to Train Festival 2009 held in Owosso, Michigan.

There was something for everyone, ranging from three mainline steam locomotives in steam to excursions to a Lego model railroad layout.

The event, held at the home of the Steam Railroading Institute, had its share of glitches, including rain, long lines to tour the steam locomotive cabs and a mechanical breakdown of SRI’s own steamer, Pere Marquette No. 1225.

Aside from Railfair 1999 in Sacramento, California, it was one of the most comprehensive railfan-oriented events I’ve ever attended.

A number of Akron Railroad Club members attended the event, which was held July 23-26.

I originally wasn’t going to attend the festival until I figured out a way to do it on the cheap.

My wife had a cousin who lived near Flint, Michigan, which is about 30 to 45 minutes from Owosso.

Dan was agreeable to going with me to the festival and I could stay at his house, thus avoiding lodging expenses.

The festival officially opened on July 24, but everything was up and running on July 23, a Thursday, and the day I was there.

After parking, Dan and I walked to a location north of the festival so I could photograph the day excursion being pulled by former Southern Pacific Daylight 4-8-4 No. 4449.

Getting open view of the Daylight and its train wasn’t a problem, but rain and overcast skies were.

I was still using slide film and I didn’t have enough film speed to make good images. My photographs turned out dark and a little blurry.

Then it was on to the festival itself, which featured the 1225, Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765, Leviathan 4-4-0  No. 63, three 0-4-0T switchers (Flagg Coal Company 75, Little River Railroad No. 1 and Viscose Company No. 6), and Little River Railroad 4-6-2 No. 110.

The latter provided motive power at one end of the one-hour excursion trains that operated throughout the day while the tank engines took turns taking a spin on the SRI turntable.

You could also purchase throttle time behind some of the tank engines and look inside their cabs.

The Leviathan had just been completed and was making its “world premier” at the festival.

Another notable visitor was Southern Railway FP-7 No. 6133, which traveled from the North Carolina Transportation Museum. It did not operate during the festival but you could visit its cab.

There was a large-scale model of Norfolk & Western 4-8-4 No. 611 on static display and a few live steamers taking passengers for rides on temporary track.

There were diesels pulling the 7.5-inch gauge trains and I spotted Akron Railroad Club member Paul Emch at the throttle of one of those.

Also on display was a Great Lakes Central freight locomotive and various pieces of rolling stock from the SRI collection.

I wanted to maximize my time seeing the exhibits and steam locomotives so I didn’t chase any of the excursions.

Another factor was that I didn’t know the territory where the excursions were operating and didn’t want to try to learn it on the fly.

But ARRC members Peter Bowler and Paul Woodring did chase. Peter, in particular, was all-in on the festival, chasing multiple trips and taking part in the night photo shoot.

Another ARRC member on hand for the festival was the late Richard Jacobs.

For some reason, the line to see the cab of the 1225 was far shorter than that of the 765, so I focused on it.

That turned out to be a good thing because the 1225 later in the day developed a problem with a flue and had to be shut down. It missed its assigned turn pulling the day excursion on Saturday.

By late afternoon the clouds had begun to break and sunlight began peeking through.

That meant the SP Daylight and its train would return in sunlight and I could, at last, get decent images of it.

The challenge, though, was the sun angle. The 4449 and its train would be coming almost directly out of the sun. At best I could get good light on the side of the locomotive.

On the flip side of that equation, it meant good light for the pair of former Milwaukee Road passengers, including a Skytop lounge-observation car, in their striking traditional passenger livery.

I hung around a little while longer to get more photographs of the 4449 after it had cut off from its train and returned to the festival grounds.

The next morning I had a long drive ahead of me. The ARRC was meeting that night and I planned to get back in time to preside at the meeting.

But I spent time that morning photographing Canadian National trains in Durand and Amtrak trains in Ann Arbor before driving home to Ohio.

As far as I remember, most ARRC members who attended the festival stayed around a few more days.

Paul tells the story of how he spent most of his time chasing the excursion trains and making video, but he did visit the festival grounds on the last day.

At one point during a chase, he became annoyed at an airplane that was circling the excursion train and making a lot of noise in doing so.

If the festival were being held today, he noted, the party that chartered the plane to get overhead video would use a less noisy drone.

“I’m glad I got to go,” Paul wrote “It will probably be the only time I’ll ever get to see the SP Daylight.”

He said a prominent memory of the festival was arriving at the motel in Owosso at which he had made a reservation months earlier and upon arriving to check in being told he didn’t have a room.

Paul said he had been quoted a great rate when he made the reservation, but the motel didn’t give him a confirmation number and he had not asked the name of the man who took his reservation.

He thinks that what happened was that once the motel owners found out about the train festival they jacked up their rates.

“So, I staged a sit-in in the lobby loudly complaining to anyone who would listen what they did to me, until they gave me a room not normally given out because it really wasn’t in very good shape.

“However, I didn’t have much choice at that point because there weren’t any other rooms available all the way to Lansing.

Paul said he learned a lesson about doing everything possible to confirm room and rate when making motel reservations.

Memories, photographs and video of the Owosso train festival were the focus of the January 2010 ARRC program.

Four of us were to present with Paul showing video of his steam train chases, Peter showing still images of the steam excursions and night photo shoot, and Jake and myself showing images of the festival displays.

The program went off as scheduled, but I never got to show my images. Two weeks before the ARRC meeting I tore the retina in my left eye in three places and had to have surgery.

I was still recovering from that surgery and couldn’t attend the ARRC meeting. So Jake, Peter and Paul presented their segments in what was the first use of the tag team program format during an ARRC program.

So with this post I am finally showing, nearly 10 years later some of the images I would have shown on that cold January night had I been able to attend the ARRC meeting.

A view of the engineer’s seat inside Pere Marquette 1225. A mechanical problem later that day would mean the Berkshire would only be in steam for just one day during the festival.

A view from cab level of Pere Marquette 1225.

The former Milwaukee Road passengers cars on the rear of the long steam excursions was a most pleasing sight.

At one end of the hour-long excursions that operated throughout the day was this Great Lakes Central GP35 while . . .

. . . Little River Railroad provided the motive power for the other end of the train.

The newly completed Leviathan made its “world premier” at the Owosso train festival.

Viscose Company No. 6 takes a spin on the turntable as seen from the cab of the Leviathan.

The 2009 train festival has proved thus far to be my only encounter with Flagg Coal Company No. 75. Ahead of it is Little River Railroad No. 1

A Southern FP7 from the North Carolina Railroad Museum made the trip to Michigan to be among the displays of railroad equipment.

Norfolk & Western 611 made an appearance in Owosso — well, at least a model of it.

Two CN trains meet on the double track in front of Durand Union Station on Friday morning.

An Amtrak Wolverine Service train arrives in Ann Arbor on July 24. It was my last railfanning experience during my visit to the 2009 train festival in Owosso.

Steamy Day at the Lake Shore Museum

August 19, 2013


Viscose No. 6 passes by a former New York Central GE locomotive built at the nearby Erie locomotive assembly plant on Saturday at the Lake Shore Railway Museum in North East, Pa.

Viscose No. 6 passes by a former New York Central GE locomotive built at the nearby Erie locomotive assembly plant on Saturday at the Lake Shore Railway Museum in North East, Pa.


Last weekend was dubbed as “steam locomotive weekend” at the Lake Shore Railway Museum at North East, Pa.

Viscose Company No. 6 was featured with runs on the museum grounds along with other activities.

I drove out Saturday with my wife, Ursula. We arrived about 12:30 p.m. and already a good-size crowd was present.

Here is a sample of the photographs that I made during the steam day.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

An ancient Pullman car frames Viscose No. 6.

An ancient Pullman car frames Viscose No. 6.


Showing a little steam at the west end of the museum grounds as a westbound CSX train passes by.

Showing a little steam at the west end of the museum grounds as a westbound CSX train passes by.


On the non-interlocked crossing at the west end of the museum.

On the non-interlocked crossing at the west end of the museum.


Just cruising along for the photographers.

Just cruising along for the photographers.


Ursula Ribinskas and No. 6.

Ursula Ribinskas and No. 6.


The crossing watchman gets a photograph of No. 6.

The crossing watchman gets a photograph of No. 6.


Viscose No. 6 steaming past the fireless cooker.

Viscose No. 6 steaming past the “fireless cooker.”


Jacobs Photo Published in September Railpace

August 31, 2009

A photograph of Viscose Company steam locomotive No. 6 taken by Akron Railroad Club member Richard Jacobs has been published in the September 2009 issue of Railpace magazine.  Jacobs photographed the tank engine as it pulled a passenger train on July 11 during an appearance on the Ashtabula, Carson & Jefferson Railroad.

No. 6 pulled several public excursions as part of the railroad’s 25th anniversary celebration. The photograph appears on Page 41 in the “Lake Shore News” feature of the magazine.

Steamy Encore on the AC&J

July 17, 2009

Rain and cloudy skies didn't stop Viscose Company No. 6 from putting on a good show on the Ashtabula, Carson & Jefferson on July 11. This image was made near the baseball field complex on the north side of Jefferson. (Photograph by Barbara Cormell)

Rain and cloudy skies didn't stop Viscose Company No. 6 from putting on a good show on the Ashtabula, Carson & Jefferson Railroad on July 11. This image was made near the baseball field complex on the north side of Jefferson. (Photograph by Barbara Cormell)

There is something about a steam locomotive. Hundreds of people turned out on July 11-12, 2009, to help the Ashtabula, Carson & Jefferson Railroad celebrate its 25th anniversary by riding one of the seven public trips pushed and pulled by Viscose Company tank engine No. 6.

The O-4-0T, owned by Scott Symans of Dunkirk, New York, was making its second appearance on the AC&J. In 2008, about 900 people rode behind the 30-ton locomotive. Judging by the crowds on Sunday, there were close to that many turning out this year, although rainy weather on Saturday may have dimmed the interest of some.  

Built by Baldwin in November 1925 for a Viginia rayon manufacturing company, No. 6 did yard work for decades before being retired in the 1950s. Symans rescued No. 6 from a scrap yard and spent more than two years restoring it.

No. 6 arrived in Jefferson aboard a truck trailer specially designed to carry it. The locomotive makes about six appearances a year.

Akron Railroad Club member Jeff Troutman was the fireman on many of the runs that No. 6 made, four on Saturday and three on Sunday.

The first Saturday trip was drenched by a thunderstorm, but there was plenty of sunshine for the Sunday trips as people of all ages rode the train over former New York Central System rails.

No. 6 wasn’t designed to pull passenger trains and it was limited to traveling just 4.5 miles north of Jefferson to Morgan Road. That was done, Troutman explained, because there is a grade north of there and the crews feared that No. 6 might run out of water before it could return to Jefferson.

The operating procedure was for No. 6 to push the train northward out of Jefferson and pull it back on the return. Passengers could peak into the cab of the locomotive from the vestibule of the first coach. What they saw was the engine rocking and rolling, and one hard working, but happy, crew.

Between runs, the locomotive was cut away from the train — which consisted of three coaches and a baggage car — and taken to a spot just south of East Jefferson Street, where it received water from a nearby fire hydrant. A small front end loader restocked the coal bunker. The engine holds about 1,200 gallons of water.

In addition to the steam locomotive, the AC&J also had on display an S-2 diesel locomotive and two cabooses. All three were open to the public.

Symans has purchased a second Baldwin steam engine that he is in the process of restoring. Perhaps it will eventually make an appearance on the AC&J. He has a section of 90 feet of track at his New York home, but told the Ashtabula Star Beacon that he doesn’t get to run No. 6 himself very much, relying instead on experienced railroaders.

For the AC&J trips, the railroad’s co-owner Bob Callahan told the Star Beacon that he lined up crew members who had steam engine experience. Troutman previously worked on Grand Trunk Western No. 4070 when it was pulling trains for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in the 1980s.

Troutman has written an article about his experiences firing No. 6. Titled “A Celebration and Fresh Popcorn,” it can be found on the ARRC blog as part of the “Trackside Tales” pages.

No. 6 will be making an appearance July 23-26, 2009,  at the steam festival in Owosso, Michigan.