The Bride(s) Wore Black – to Horseshoe Curve and Williamson

(Updated with information from Trains Newswire)

Remember that little five city tour the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society announced as part of the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Norfolk Southern merger?

Well, we’ve got some good news . . . and some bad news.

The bad news is, it looks like 765 won’t be going to Muncie or Elkhart after all.

The good news is, 765 will be going to Harrisburg, PA, Williamson, WV, and St. Louis instead.

(Yes, THAT Harrisburg. The “765 will traverse Horseshoe Curve twice this summer” Harrisburg.)

Employee appreciation steam excursions! (Information in italics is our addition.)

TO: ALL NORFOLK SOUTHERN EMPLOYEES

Norfolk Southern employees soon will enjoy opportunities to ride
behind steam-powered excursion trains.

NS’ “Employee Appreciation Excursions” will be operated on weekends
this summer and fall in recognition of the corporation’s 30th
anniversary. Each of the railroad’s 11 divisions will host several
excursions.

The tentative schedule is:

June 2-3, Georgia Division (630, Inman yard, GA – Austell, GA)
June 9-10, Piedmont Division (630, Salisbury, NC – Barber Junction, NC)
June 30-July 1, Virginia Division (630, Roanoke, VA – Walton, VA)
July 14-15, Central Division (630, Knoxville, TN – Coster Yard area)
July 21-22, Lake Division (765, Bellevue, OH – Bucyrus, OH)
July 28-29, Dearborn Division (765, Toledo, OH Homestead yard – Airline yard)
Aug. 4-5, Pocahontas Division (765, Williamson, WV – Naugatuck, WV)
Aug. 11-12, Pittsburgh Division (765, Conway, PA – Homewood, PA)
Aug. 18-19, Harrisburg Division (765, Enola yard, PA – CP Capitol, Harrisburg, PA)
Sept. 8-9, Illinois Division (765, St. Louis, MO Luther yard – Robertson, MO)
Sept. 15-16, Alabama Division (630, Irondale, AL – Birmingham (14th St.), AL)

The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum and the Fort Wayne Historical
Society are providing the steam locomotives, equipment, and services
to make these excursions memorable, fun, and of course, safe.

Southern Railway 630 will be used for the trips on the southern part
of the system. No. 630 was built in 1904 by the American Locomotive
Company at Richmond, Va., and is one of the three locomotives that
will be used in NS’ 21st Century Steam program over the next four
years.

(See also the FWRHS blog.)

The last steam over Horseshoe Curve was rather inauspicious – a downhill, towed-by-diesels deadhead of Reading 2102 on its way to the Blue Mountain & Reading in 1985. The last operating steam was 2102 and Grand Trunk 4070 in 1977. 765’s stablemate 759 made a pair of trips between Harrisburg and Gallitzin in September, 1970.

Before it tackles Horseshoe Curve, 765 will return to a familiar route (the former N&W between Columbus, OH and Portsmouth), then traverse the Tug Fork extension to Williamson, WV.

Since these are employee trips and deadheads, detailed schedules may not be available, but we’ll post any schedule information made public by NS, FWRHS or TVRM in the Schedules. According to Rich Melvin, NS 8100 (the NKP heritage unit), will be in the consist on deadhead moves, but we understand that weekend excursions will be steam only.

Congratulations to Norfolk Southern, the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, and TVRM. This is 765’s biggest year since 1993, and it’s a smart move by Norfolk Southern to take advantage of a true “Heritage locomotive.” We sincerely hope the partnership prospers.