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NickD said:

GG1 #4930 at Leaman Place, PA in 1962. The interchange with Strasburg Railroad is just out of frame to the right. The large mill to the left is still there.

Is that the location they often show on Virtual Railfan, but from the opposite direction?

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/8/21 5:47 a.m.
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) said:
NickD said:

GG1 #4930 at Leaman Place, PA in 1962. The interchange with Strasburg Railroad is just out of frame to the right. The large mill to the left is still there.

Is that the location they often show on Virtual Railfan, but from the opposite direction?

Yeah, the perspective is facing east away from the interchange point and the Route 30 bridge over the tracks.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/8/21 7:33 a.m.

Well, the good news is that the Strasburg shop crew worked around the clock and repaired the broken trailing truck spring on N&W #611, so she is up and running and my In-Cab Experience next week won't be rescheduled. The bad news is, looking at the weather forecast, it is supposed to be 90 degrees and sunny next Friday. Being in the cab of an active steam locomotive in long pants, long-sleeve shirt and gloves in 90 degree weather is going to be a bit unpleasant.

68TR250
68TR250 HalfDork
7/9/21 11:56 a.m.

Miles of locomotives in Thomaston, GA!   Well, maybe 2 plus miles of locomotives.

I was driving east of Thomaston GA ( N32 53.916 W 84 18.839) and saw a line of brightly colored locomotives that I had never seen in person before.   This is NS area.

I stopped and took a couple pictures.  There were 15 KSC (SD40?) sitting on a siding.  Yeah, I counted them because I have that kind of time.  Some but not all of the KSC locomotives had a black mark over the logo and name on the side.

The line stopped at a road crossing and there were some NS on the other side of the road.   I left to continue my trip and saw that there were more NS locomotives continuing on the siding with more KSC locomotives beside them.  I was able to find the other end of the line of NS locomotives at another road crossing about a mile away.  

The track that comes into Thomaston on the east side of town makes a loop and comes back out of town. I copied a map showing the tracks coming into town and making the loop.   I also marked approximately where the locomotives were sitting.

Pretty curious happenings!  I hope they are not on the way to scrap yard!

 

Purple Frog (Forum Supporter)
Purple Frog (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
7/9/21 12:07 p.m.

CaterParrott Railnet...

From south to north, the the Thomaston Division begins in its namesake community. Although the former Central of Georgia trackage still extends all the way into Thomaston, forming a loop that once served several manufacturing facilities, there are currently no active shippers on this portion of the line, south of the Interfor sawmill. The trackage in Thomaston is however often used for third-party railcar or locomotive storage. Furthermore, CPR crews are known to occasionally traverse the loop track for lunch at Thomaston's Dairy Queen!

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/9/21 5:42 p.m.

I was on my way to Erie, PA today and realized I would be passing through Hamburger NY and decided to swing in and see PRR #4483, the last PRR I1. 

There was also a nicely painted up Alco HH660

Some ex-Buffalo Southern switchers that were long out of service

A really unique Penn Central transfer caboose

 

And some scruffy DL&W, NKP, and Chessie cabooses

 

68TR250
68TR250 HalfDork
7/9/21 6:14 p.m.

In reply to Purple Frog (Forum Supporter) :

Yeah, I know where the DQ is!    Thanks for the info.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/10/21 6:50 a.m.

Also, I could just barely see it at Hamburger but couldn't get a photo of it (it was a long ways down the right of way tucked off on a siding) was the last surviving PRR coast-to-coast tender. This tender has been sold to the T1 Trust for use behind T1 #5550 once it is constructed, since all T1s used the long-haul tenders.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/10/21 5:52 p.m.

Had time this morning, so made the quick jaunt over to Conneaut, Ohio to see NKP S-2 Berkshire #755 at the Conneaut Railway Museum. The museum is the old New York Central depot and they have a Beseemed & Lake Erie hopper car and caboose hooked up behind it. Sadly no CSX trains went by on the old NYC mainline right behind the depot.

Also swung by the NS's ex-NKP Conneaut yard but no real action there either. Just a couple old EMDs hanging around. Also, an old caboose was on the track to the right of the EMD on the left.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/12/21 4:02 p.m.

There is a bit of a connection between PRR #4483 and NKP Berkshires. In a different timeline, I would have been visiting NKP #757 at Hamburg, and not a PRR Decapod.

PRR #4483 was retired in '57 and placed in storage at Northumberland roundhouse with PRR's so-called Northumberland Collection in 1959, destined for preservation. At the time, there was no real plan for where they would be preserved, just that the PRR wanted them set aside. In 1962, Westinghouse Air Brake Company came to the PRR and desired to purchase a steam locomotive to park in front of their headquarters in Wilmerding, PA. The PRR sold them #4483 and the business car Ohio, and they were moved to Wilmerding and placed on a display track.

Around the same time, in 1958, Nickel Plate took a bunch of their retired Berskhires and ran them through their shops for complete overhauls, and then placed them in storage. The NKP was concerned about a future traffic surge that would overwhelm them, and so wanted some steam engines placed in reserve. The traffic surge never materialized, and so by 1962, NKP started selling off the zero-mileage engines, either to cities and museums, or to scrapyards. Bellevue, Ohio was NKP's big home terminal and was offered NKP #757, but Bellevue did not have a place to display it.  After several failed attempts at putting together a display location and the buyout of the NKP in 1964, the Norfolk & Western finally said enough was enough in 1966, and instead donated the #757 t the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in 1966, making it the first locomotive donated to the museum. (The Northumberland Collection, sans #4483, would be donated by Penn Central in '69 and even then, the RRMoPA was a secondary choice, they wanted them to go to St. Louis first to join the PRR P5a electric there, but the deal fell through when the PRR rep accidentally ran over the museum curator's cat!)

In 1983, after 20 years of deteriorating outdoors, Westinghouse Air Brake Co. decided to sell off PRR #4483. Somehow the Western New York Railroad Historical Society was the lucky buyer. It's surprising that the RRMoPA weren't the ones who bought it, since #4483 has always been viewed as the "one that got away", the only surviving class of PRR steam that they don't have represented. I have to assume it came down to a matter of finances.  The WNYRHS wanted the #4483 because it did historically operate in western NY, on PRR's Elmira branch, hauling coal from Elmira, NY up to Sodus Bay. It was then moved to Hamburg, NY, where it is today and is undergoing a slow cosmetic restoration.

Meanwhile, #757 was largely ignored at the RRMoPA, often being dubbed "The Forgotten Berkshire". Off the record some museum staff stated that #757 was a "outsider locomotive", since the NKP had only operated 90 miles of track in PA, mostly in the northwestern corner in the stretch between Conneaut, OH and Buffalo, NY. The other issue is that the museum, for all its good, sometimes seems to forget they are the Railroad Museum Of Pennsylvania and not the Museum of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Equipment not from the PRR often seems to be considered a low priority for restoration and preservation. So #757 sat outside without much in the way of love, and even had parts borrowed off it for both NKP #759 and NKP #765.

So where do these stories intersect? Well, according to some museum board members, at some point in time the idea was floated to trade NKP #757 for PRR #4483. On paper it was advantageous for both. For the WNYRHS, they would get an engine that had more of a historical connection to the area, as the NKP had a larger presence in the Buffalo area than the PRR. For the RRMoPA they would get the final piece of the Northumberland Collection and it would be back on PRR home turf. The downside to this trade was that the RRMoPA would be getting rid of their only road locomotive that wasn't owned by the PRR, as well as the newest and largest steam locomotive they owned and the only example of Superpower in their collection. In the end, sentimentality won out, as a number of the board felt that they shouldn't get rid of the very first locomotive donated to the museum.

Curiously that sentimentality did not hold out forever. After a number more years deteriorating, the decision was made to donate NKP #757 to the Mad River & Nickel Plate Railroad Museum in Bellevue, Ohio. The logic was that it was one less piece of equipment to have to maintain or restore one day, especially as it was one they didn't feel was relevant to their collection. Plus, #757 would end up in Bellevue, where it was originally supposed to go, and with a group who was planning to restore it cosmetically ASAP.  It had the rods removed, all of its journals liberally greased and was moved back and forth on the Strasburg line to make sure everything was freed up, and then was towed to Bellevue by Norfolk Southern, including a trip over Horseshoe Curve. In the 4 years since, the MR&NKP Museum has made great strides in getting #757 all painted and cleaned up.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/13/21 1:58 p.m.

There are six NKP Berkshires preserved, five S-2 Class and one S-3 Class, currently preserved, making them one of the better represented locomotive classes. They also are all in relatively good condition and relatively close to each other in location.

#755: The oldest of the preserved NKP Berkshires (but not the oldest preserved NKP steam locomotive), #755 was retired in '58, overhauled, and stored at Conneaut. In 1962 it was donated to the Conneaut Railroad Historical Museum and displayed alongside of the old NYC depot in Conneaut. It actually left the location in 1975, when Ross Rowland was planning the American Freedom Train and wanted to use #755, since it was a zero-mileage engine. It was towed east to the CNJ's shops at Elizabeth and a preliminary survey was done on the engine. But the AFT committee basically overruled Rowland and decided to use SP #4449 instead (a disastrous decision because #4449 was in much worse shape and had clearance issues on eastern lines) and so #755 was shipped back west to Conneaut. It remains on static display but very well taken care of.

#757: Originally intended to be donated to Bellevue, Ohio after its retirement, Bellevue was unable to get together a storage location, and so #757 was donated to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania by Norfolk & Western in 1966. Largely forgotten and neglected, it donated several parts to both #759 and #765 over the years. An offer was planned to trade #757 for PRR #4483 but it never went through. In 2017, #757 was handed over to the Mad River & Nickel Plate Museum and moved to its originally-planned location of Bellevue and cosmetically restored. Since it wasn't overhauled before donation, this one is in poorer condition, and then the years of sitting outdoors resulted in most of the gauges and fittings being robbed off the backhead, and there is significant rust in the firebox. If any additional NKP Berkshire were to be returned to operation, #757 would likely be the last one considered.

#759: The final steam locomotive to be overhauled by NKP, it was rebuilt in the Conneaut shops in 1959 and placed into storage. Nelson Blount purchased it in '62 and moved it to Bellows Falls, VT. A handshake agreement was made between Ross Rowland and Nelson Blount just months before Blount's untimely death for Rowland to lease the #759 and return it to operation. The #759 was fired up in 1968, made a few test runs, and then pulled the Golden Spike Limited in 1969. Rowland used it for a couple more years on some High Iron Company excursions but then cancelled the lease and returned it in '72 when relations with Steamtown management disintegrated. Steamtown used it sparingly since it was too large and heavy for their ex-Rutland trackage, and then in '73 it suffered freeze damage. It was repaired, steamed up once and then never ran again. Rowland considered it as relief power for the AFT but didn't want to use it as primary power due to the trouble he had with Steamtown management. A restoration for another customer was begun in '77 but aborted. It was then towed to Scranton during Steamtown's relocation and has since spent most of its time tucked inside the DL&W roundhouse. While rumored to be in excellent mechanical condition and stored primarily indoors and out of the elements, #759 is again victim of being too large and heavy and so does not have an operational future at Steamtown. 

#763: While NKP #746 made the last steam trip over the road, #763 was actually kept fired up for several days afterwards as relief power. It also had its tender trucks swapped out in 1957 for those off of a Wheeling & Lake Erie #800-series tender. This was a planned program for many of the NKP engines but was canceled as steam operations wound down. It also has the rearmost connecting rods off a W&LE #800-series, and still retains its original Franklin wheel-controlled power reverser, making it an unusual engine. The #763 was stored in the East Wayne Enginehouse after retirement, having a favorable reputation with crews, and was still on the property as late as 1966, at which point the Norfolk & Western donated it to the Virginian Museum of Transportation in Roanoke. It was also supposed to be used as primary power for the AFT as a doubleheader with #755 and was towed north to Elizabeth, NJ. No work was completed and it was then towed back to Roanoke. In 2007 it was purchased by Jerry Joe Jacobson and moved to Morgan Run to be restored for his Ohio Central Railroad excursions, alongside GTW #6325 and CPR #1293, and was towed west by Norfolk Southern. Before the restoration was completed, Jacobson sold the Ohio Central to Genesee & Wyoming, and the #763 is now being restored at Jacobson's Age Of Steam Roundhouse in Sugar Creek, Ohio. Supposedly it is going to be an operational restoration but with no place to run it, that doesn't seem to make much sense.

#765: The famous one. Preserved at Fort Wayne, Indiana, it was originally not the locomotive chosen to donated to the city. Fort Wayne had wanted NKP #767, since it was the first engine to travel the elevated tracks that the city had helped fund. #767 had been in an accident in the mid-'50s, had been band-aided together and then stored outdoors for 4 years, and so was in a severely deteriorated condition. Instead, NKP took #765, which had been a favorite among crews and stored indoors alongside #763 at the East Wayne Enginehouse for the past 3 years, and installed #767's number plate on it and donated it as #767. In the 1970s, a lease was signed and "#767" was restored to operation, being returned to it's #765 identity, and becoming the first mainline steam locomotive restored and operated by an all-volunteer non-profit. Since then, other than a hiatus from '93 to '01, #765 has pounded most of the rails on the eastern half of the US and shows no sign of letting up.

#779: The final steam locomotive built by Lima in 1949, #779 is also the final steam locomotive purchased by the NKP and the sole S-3 Berkshire preserved. Retired in 1958, it was donated in 1966 by the Norfolk & Western to the city of Lima, Ohio (home of Lima Locomotive Works) and has been on display in Lincoln Park. #779 has been undercover and fenced in her entire life, giving her a charmed existence, although supposedly it only received one major shopping in its 9 years of service and so is mechanically a very worn engine.

 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/13/21 3:14 p.m.

The original NKP #767 throwing up an apocalyptic plume of smoke at Indianopolis in '58, shortly before retirement. Look closely and you'll see that there appears to be a young "railfan for life" in the making, riding in the fireman's seat.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/13/21 3:18 p.m.

#767 at Claypool, Indiana. I've seen other photos of NKP trains with the caboose cut in just behind the locomotive. Not sure what the deal was there.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/14/21 2:03 p.m.

NKP #767 after its 1951 wreck. It struck a slow moving Wabash passenger from behind, killing 4 and injuring 13. It was repaired and returned to service, although it was rumored to have an unusual lope to its gait afterwards.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/14/21 2:06 p.m.

NKP #767 at the opening ceremony for the new elevated line through Fort Wayne. After decades of deliberation and work, the NKP line was elevated, eliminating dozens crossings and alleviating traffic congestion. The elevated line is credited with the explosion of development in the north side of the city. This historic moment was why Fort Wayne specifically requested the #767. The city was actually not made aware that they were not receiving the actual #767 when it was donated and supposedly did not find out until much later. About the time #765 was being put on display, the real #767 was being hauled off for scrap.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/14/21 2:07 p.m.

In 2016, NKP #765 had the Mars light and #767 numberplates reinstalled for a series of excursions.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/14/21 4:02 p.m.

Some other locomotives that developed identity crisises shortly before donation.

CRI&P #887: Rock Island #886 had pulled the final steam-powered train out of Peoria, and so the city of Peoria requested the donation of #886. Rock Island went searching in the dead lines and found that #886 had fallen into a severe state of disrepair. So, they instead grabbed sister Pacific #887, cleaned it up and renumbered it to #886. To this day it is still numbered as #886, despite changing hands several times.

CNR #5703: As CNR was dieselizing, the director of the Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa happened to be a big steam buff and was collecting the lead engines in several classes of CNR power. They already had preserved CNR Northerns #6200 and #6400, and they requested CNR #5700, the first of their batch of Hudsons. CNR went searching and found #5700, already partially torched. So they grabbed #5703 and gave it a makeover as #5700. Unfortunately, this deception was discovered and the CS&TM decided to pass on it, resulting in it ending up at Elgin County Railway Museum.

PRR #7002: PRR E2 Atlantic #7002 was always proclaimed by the PRR as holding the steam locomotive speed record, at 127+mph. The claim was rather dubious, but PRR loved publicity and always stuck to that story. The PRR desired to display #7002 at the 1939 World's Fair in New York and so set out searching the system for the #7002 to clean up and display. Management was a bit horrified to learn that the #7002 had been cut up several years prior. So, E7s Atlantic #8063 (originally built as an E2a, the E7s was a rebuild program) was given a backdated makeover as #7002 and so displayed at both the '39 World's Fair and the '48 Railroad Fair in Chicago, before being set aside in the Northumberland Collection.

PRR #3750: When PRR was picking out locomotives to store at Northumberland, they wanted to set aside K4s #1737, as it was the first of the K4ss built. A search through the dead lines uncovered that #1737 was in exceptionally poor condition and would have required too much work to preserve. So, #3750, in much better shape, was grabbed and had it's builder plates and number plates swapped on. #3750 was later returned to its original identity by the RRMoPA, and is equally just as historically noteworthy: it hauled both the campaign train and the funeral train for US President Warren G Harding.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/14/21 6:18 p.m.

In reply to NickD :

Incredible history. 

jh36
jh36 HalfDork
7/14/21 7:21 p.m.

In reply to NickD :

Absolutely fascinating material. Thank you!

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/15/21 11:36 a.m.

Perhaps the strangest is "Texas & Pacific #909". After dieselizing, the Texas & Pacific donated two of their 2-10-4 "Texas" locomotives. The #610 went to Fort Worth, while the #638 was donated to the Texas State Fairgrounds in Dallas. Fort Worth took excellent care of #610 and so she is still here today, even operating from '76-'81. The #638 on the other hand never received any sort of shelter or fencing, and within a year had suffered minor vandalism (stolen bell, broken headlight and cab windows). Rather than contact the T&P and ask them to spruce it up, the city of Dallas scrapped the locomotive and then went back to the T&P and asked for another T&P locomotive. Well, by 1957 there weren't any other T&P locomotives on the property. Somehow, the T&P got word that the New York Central had just dropped the fires in L-3a Mohawk #3001 and so they quickly struck a deal, purchased the #3001 and had it shipped to Marshall, TX where they bastardized it into a facsimile of a T&P 4-8-2. The smoke deflectors were scrapped, the stoker and firebox grates were also cut out and scrapped, the tender was gutted and had the coal bunker cut down so that it looked like an oil-tender, the NYC number and road plates were removed, and they removed the pilot deck cover. It then had T&P road plates installed on the number box, new #909 number plates installed, the usual T&P shielded air pumps on the front deck and the smokebox was painted silver in T&P fashion.

After just a couple years on display, again without any protection from elements and vandals, the "#909" was booted off the fairgrounds by the city of Dallas and moved to the Museum of the American Railroad, and then in 1980 it was traded to the New York Central museum in Elkhart for a PRR GG1. I have to assume that any T&P management left from those days were probably pretty peeved. The T&P really got burned on the whole ordeal. They donate one engine, it gets scrapped, they donate another engine, it gets evicted and then traded off for something with not even a remote connection to Texas, or a resemblance to anything that operated in Texas. But it definitely goes down as a rare case of a railroad donating a piece of equipment that did not belong to them (excluding cases like the NKP Berkshires, where N&W donated them after buying out the NKP)

It was later returned to it's NYC appearance at Elkhart (although the headlight is actually from an Erie engine, and the number plates and deflectors are reproductions). In the mid-1980s, Conrail was considering starting their own corporate steam program, since they were the only Class I in the US not to have one and considered the #3001, as well as PRR #6755 in Strasburg. The Great Dismal Swamp accident on the N&W in 1986 put the kibosh to it. Ross Rowland actually sent a team to do a preliminary survey of the engine circa 1990 in hopes of returning it to operation. Supposedly they found it to be in too poor of mechanical condition. The asbestos insulation wasn't removed from under the boiler jacket, so the heads of all the rivets and staybolts were rotted off and the boiler shell is severely pitting. All the flues and superheater elements and the front flue sheet have rusted through inside the boiler. The firebox grates and stoker and the tender internals have all been scrapped. There were also rumors of the MILW #261 crew restoring #3001 when the #261 was laid up with severe mechanical troubles that darkened its future, but they stuck with the #261 instead.

 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/15/21 12:29 p.m.

In thirty minutes I depart for Strasburg, PA. Tomorrow I get to operate N&W #611 at 12:40, so keep an eye on the Leaman Place camera on Strasburg's site to see me in the engineer's seat. Temperature is supposed to be 93 degrees and I have to wear boots, pants, long-sleeve work shirt and gloves, so I'll be getting the authentic experience.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/15/21 8:22 p.m.

Arrived and checked intonthe Red Caboose Motel.. I was hoping for the NYC or Chessie caboose but getting the Strasburg one seems fitting. The exteriors are a little scabrous but the interiors are quite nice

02Pilot
02Pilot UltraDork
7/15/21 9:01 p.m.

In reply to NickD :

Have fun! I'll try to check VRF when you're at the controls.

02Pilot
02Pilot UltraDork
7/16/21 9:21 a.m.

For reasons I do not understand, from what I can discern Strasburg has requested that the VRF Paradise camera be turned away from their track during the in-cab experience runs. The other camera seems to be running normally, so anyone looking for NickD will have to rely on that on.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
7/16/21 10:38 a.m.

In reply to 02Pilot :

It might be to dissuade people from congregating at Leaman Place when they see #611 there. I tried to go down earlier and they had a policeman on site, and when I showed my ticket for 12:40, i basically got told "Go away. Come back later."

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