Following a lengthy and expensive upgrade to Nickel Plate Road no. 765’s tender to to tune of $60,000 and six months of work to the existing Buckeye trucks, the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society is putting miles on its 2-8-4 in new and familiar territory this summer and fall.
No. 765 will operate nearly every weekend in September on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad for the first time, kicking off the railroad’s semi-annual Steam in the Valley celebration with Viscose 0-6-0 no. 6 also in attendance.
Though steam had recently operated through the national park in the past with the Ohio Central’s consummate Canadian, no. 1293, weight restrictions on a bridge had previously prevented a locomotive any bigger than the 4-6-2 from visiting. Now that work to the line has removed these constraints, the 765 will have 50 miles of rail, mostly welded, at an average 30MPH to run. Meanwhile, no. 1293 and its stablemates at the Age of Steam Roundhouse are getting prepared for to be housed in the new facility, which is halfway through construction now.
Following operations in September, no. 765 will return to Owosso, Michigan in October pulling trips on the same routes as last year’s TrainFestival from Owosso to Alma and the 1225/765 doubleheader from Alma to Cadillac. These trips will immediately benefit the Steam Railroading Institute and their Project 1225.
What does this mean for no. 765 and the railroad historical society? Aside from another chance to show a certain considerate Class 1 railroad it’s ready and waiting a future call to duty, but also to prove itself on the Wheeling and Lake Erie, and with the roller bearings and temperature senors on the engine truck in place, earn some practice for a future at the head of an Amtrak train.
I hear Rock Island may be calling.