Follow along with NKP 765

Nickel Plate 765 begins its Norfolk Southern employee excursion itinerary today, and the crew have installed a GPS tracker for you to follow along. They’ve also kindly given SteamCentral access to the GPS output, and we’ve integrated 765’s last reported position into our NS Steam map.

The map should also work on your smartphone, so bookmark it for when you’re out enjoying 765’s journey.

(Thanks to Instamapper, Google Maps, and Prabu Surendra.)

NKP 765 News Briefs

Fort Wayne’s engine will have a summer workout in excess of 3,000 miles and an appetite for its weight in coal.

Fort Wayne’s engine will have a summer workout in excess of 3,000 miles and an appetite for its weight in coal. A test fire last week and inspection by Norfolk Southern, Amtrak, and the FRA have readied the engine for the season.

Below are some news briefs from the engine’s owners, the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society:

– FWRHS has posted the 765’s entire 2012 schedule, including deadhead dates. There is talk of the engine stopping at Horseshoe Curve on August 20th for a photo opportunity.

– NKP heritage unit no. 8100 will accompany the locomotive for the season, and no. 1070 of Wabash colors will travel with the engine to St. Louis. No. 8100 is reportedly on its way to Fort Wayne now.

– No. 765 will carry whistles from each fallen flag railroad or territory she runs on, including the New York Central (Toledo), Pennsylvania Railroad (Harrisburg, Pittsburgh), Norfolk & Western (Williamson, WV) and Wabash (St. Louis.)

– No. 765 has been outfitted with brand new cab signals and refitted with an MU box, though the railroad will likely keep a crew assigned to the trailing unit.

– The tool car no. 701 will be named the “Glenn E. Brendel” in honor of the organization’s founding member who passed away February, 2011.

– The FWRHS has a few more surprises and offerings in store based on their website.

NS 30th Anniversary updates and rumors

Additional detail about Norfolk Southern’s 30th Anniversary specials is beginning to trickle out, including more detail and updates indicating changes as the schedule matures. Here’s what we’ve heard in particular:

Multiple trips per day. Indications are that most operating days will feature at least two round trips per day. Details for each trip can be found in the Schedules. (If you have a Google account, do yourself a favor and add the SteamCentral calendar to your calendar.)

Additional trip destinations. It appears that, as the operating plan matures, there have been a few changes to trip destinations. Among these:

  • Williamson, WV: 765 will start each excursion day running east to the Devon area (known today as ‘Ought One’), turning on the Buchanan Branch wye. After returning to Williamson and executing its passenger stop, 765 will run west to Naugatuck, WV. (After the Sunday excursions, we understand that 765 will make a third trip to Devon to turn for its deadhead move to Conway, PA.)
  • Conway, PA: as above, 765 will start each excursion day with a trip to CP Bell near Pittsburgh, turning on the OC Bridge before returning to Conway. After the passenger stop, 765 will operate a roundtrip to CP Wood at Homewood, PA.

Horseshoe Curve. If the question “When’s 765 going to climb Horseshoe Curve?” isn’t trending in Google Search, it probably will be soon. Our Magic 8 Ball says early afternoon, August 20. (Void where prohibited. Your mileage may vary. Report any side effects to your doctor. Railfan Responsibly. Do not trespass.)

In addition to the information contained in the schedule listings, we’ll be updating this map as new information comes in:


View NS Steam movements 2012 in a larger map

Copy this map to your Google Maps and use it responsibly as you take in the sight of steam on Norfolk Southern’s 30th Anniversay employee schedules!

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.