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1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
12/17/19 9:18 a.m.

In reply to AdventurePiggy :

Nice pics of the BR&W!  I grew up in Hunterdon County and worked a few years in Flemington.  How it is that I've never been on a BR&W train is beyond me!

Brett_Murphy
Brett_Murphy GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
12/17/19 9:37 a.m.

Bam. Five pages. Thanks again.

NickD
NickD PowerDork
12/17/19 9:38 a.m.
AngryCorvair said:

… And now I am off to research excursion railroads… Seems like something cool that the wife might be into.

Where are you located?

NickD
NickD PowerDork
12/17/19 9:53 a.m.

In reply to AdventurePiggy :

Just checked the BR&W's schedule, because I'm off between Christmas and New Year's with nothing to do. Sadly, they are only running diesel trains then.

NickD
NickD PowerDork
12/17/19 10:06 a.m.

After the depressing saga of Richard Jensen's collection, here's something cheerier. 

Pere Marquette #1225, despite coming from an obscure railroad, is arguably one of the most well-known operating steam locomotives due to the fact that it was used as the model for the Polar Express movie. Also pretty cool in that it was restored to operation originally by operation by a bunch of MSU students in the '70s.

After being retired by the C&O (who bought up the Pere Marquette) it was donated to MSU for engineering students to study, although it was not operational. In the '70s a bunch of students approached the college about fixing up the #1225, and they were given permission with 2 important rules: keep the engine and presentable while it was being worked on so it wasn't an eyesore, and the day that the students lost interest and stopped working on it, the #1225 would be cut up. To prove he was not joking about the last part, the college vice president had the hopper car that was also on display cut up the next week.

By 1975, the boiler was fired up and the whistle blown. In '77, as the engine neared operability, the college president asked the students to form a 501(c)(3) corporation and he would give the students the engine. It was moved offsite to a secure roundhouse and in '85 moved under its own power and in '88 it pulled its first excursion. She's been pounding the rails since then

 

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
12/17/19 10:32 a.m.

In reply to NickD :

Hey, that is a cool story!  Beautiful loco also. 

frenchyd
frenchyd PowerDork
12/17/19 10:39 a.m.

Grass roots Steam boats?  There is a steam powered passenger ship here on my lake.  Built in 1906 sunk in 1926 ( deliberately) recover 50 years later and restored.  
Look up the steamship Minnehaha  on lake Minnetonka. 
does that count?  

02Pilot
02Pilot SuperDork
12/17/19 10:50 a.m.
NickD said:

In reply to 02Pilot :

I was looking at plane tickets to Durango the other night.

When we went we flew into Denver (much cheaper and more frequent service), then cannonballed from there to Durango via 285 to 160 (no interstates). Took like eight hours, but it's a great way to see the area; it would have been better if we weren't in an gutless Altima. Looped back to Denver via Grand Junction. The run from Durango to GJ on 141 is spectacular.

NickD
NickD PowerDork
12/17/19 11:51 a.m.

In reply to 1988RedT2 :

The #1225 is also closely related to Nickel Plate Road #765, who seems to be pretty famous as well. Pere Marquette, Nickel Plate and Chesapeake & Ohio were all owned by the Van Sweringen family. For the Pere Marquette and Nickel Plate, they got near-identical Berkshires from Lima 

The Chesapeake & Ohio had Lima build them slightly larger and heavier Berkshires (they called them Kanawhas) that also looked a bit different (worse in my opinion). C&O #2716 was operational at one point, then has been retired but I guess might be operating in the near future. It'd be cool to see all three variants together at some point

 

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/17/19 12:41 p.m.
NickD said:
AngryCorvair said:

… And now I am off to research excursion railroads… Seems like something cool that the wife might be into.

Where are you located?

Detroit area, willing to drive 5-ish hours to get to one.

NickD
NickD PowerDork
12/17/19 1:05 p.m.
AngryCorvair said:
NickD said:
AngryCorvair said:

… And now I am off to research excursion railroads… Seems like something cool that the wife might be into.

Where are you located?

Detroit area, willing to drive 5-ish hours to get to one.

About 45 minutes away in Clinton is the Southern Michigan Railroad. Looks like they run a little GE center-cab switcher, go from Clinton to Tecumseh and back with an hour layover in Tecumseh. You can ride in an open-air gondola and they have a spring wildflower ride, as well as a fall festival.

Huckleberry Railroad near Flint is a little harder to find info, but they are still in operation and they are a 3' narrow gauge and have an operating steam locomotive, as well as some cool tiny industrial diesels. They are part of the Crossroads Village(?).

Steam Railroading Institute in Owosso are the people who restored and operate PM #1225, which I've been gushing about. That one you have to keep an eye on, because their runs sell out pretty quick, and it'll likely be a bit pricier, but you'll get to ride behind a huge engine and it'll be a longer trip. They are also working on a Chicago & Northwestern Engine and have a 7" gauge model railroad you can ride on.

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/17/19 2:06 p.m.

In reply to AngryCorvair :

The Indiana Transport Museum runs steam excursions around the Logansport, IN area. 

Check out the Hocking Valley Scenic RR and Cuyahoga Valley Scenic RR in southern OH too. They travel through some beautiful scenery & touristy towns. 

Also the Whitewater Valley RR southeast of Indy. 

NickD
NickD PowerDork
12/18/19 9:06 a.m.

Pennsylvania I1sa 2-10-0 Decapod #4315 goes for a spin on the Williamsport turntable. Check out the interesting revolving overhead electrical connection for the turntable. #4315 is also wearing one of the PRR's absurd "coast-to-coast" long-haul tenders, complete with doghouse for the front brake man. Behind an I1 or a J1 2-10-4, these tenders almost look normal size. Behind smaller engines like an M1 4-8-2 or an L1 2-8-2 they looked a bit strange. On the rare occasion they were hooked to a K4 4-6-2, and it did happen, the tender literally dwarfed the engine.

Company motive power shot of K4 #5483 with a long-haul tender.

NickD
NickD PowerDork
12/18/19 10:02 a.m.

2 PRR I1sa pounding away on the front of a coal train on the Elmira branch in 1955. The I1 was another case of the Pennsy marching to their own beat. Every other major railroad that tried the 2-10-0 configuration essentially said "No thanks." The lack of a trailing truck meant that the firebox either had to be wedged between the rear driving wheels (making it narrow) or squeezed above the driving wheels but under the boiler (making it shallow), and resulted in too many mouths to feed and not a big enough pantry. Also, because there was no trailing truck to support the cab and firebox, the rear springs had to be made extremely stiff, resulting in a punishing ride (one PRR engineer even described the I1sa as "the unholy terror of the Pennsylvania"). The basic consensus was that the Decapod was only good in slow freight service, and even then a 2-10-2 or a 2-10-4 was better suited.

Not the PRR though. They built the first 123 at their own shops in Juniata in 1916. The railroad liked them so much that they then went and bought another 475 from Baldwin in 1922, bring their total up to 598. This is more of a single class than some railroad's entire roster. This is almost more than the New York Central's famous Mohawks. And the I1s stuck around right until the diesels started rolling on the property, lavishing them with upgrades over the life of their service. If there was a long grade and a heavy train, there was likely at least one I1 on the case, and it wasn't uncommon to see 2, 3 or even 4 thrashing away on the same train.

The I1 was nicknamed by PRR crews as "Hippos" for their large-diameter boiler, and their slow, plodding operation. They were also quite disliked for their poor ride quality that beat crews up pretty good.

Of the 698, only a single example, the #4483 survives. PRR set it aside for preservation, then in 1963 sold it to Westinghouse Air Brake to display in front of their facilities. Westinghouse held onto until 1982, by which point its appearance had severely deteriorated. The Western NY Railway Historical Society then grabbed it up and moved it to Hamburg NY and has been slowly cosmetically restoring it for eventual display at the Heritage Historical Center in Buffalo. The WNYRHS has already stated that they have no intentions of ever restoring #4483 to operation, as it is simply too big and heavy to serve as an excursion engine.

 

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/18/19 10:07 a.m.

There’s an old roundhouse just outside my old hometown too. Even though it’s on the old C&EI mainline, the roundhouse was owned & operated by the EJ&E RR, who ran coal trains from south of Danville, IL up to Chicago.

It had been long decommissioned by the first time I’d ever visited it - the turntable was gone, as was the YMCA building; though the freight building, office, watertower & roundhouse it’s self still stood. The office sat up on a slight hill & in the weeds overgrowing the embankment in front of it were 3’ tall letters “E J & E RR”. Several years ago a guy I knew who owns a small excavation company bought the whole roundhouse property. He mentioned he was going to demolish what little of the office still stood, but had no idea about the concrete letters until I mentioned our local RR museum would likely want them. Several months later I drove by the museum & saw they were embedded in the ground outside the old depot’s entryway, so I’m glad they found a good home. 

Here’s a link I found with some relatively recent pics. And here’s a FB link to some old historic photos. 

There’s an antique store in town with a gorgeous and massive - it’s 9’ tall & 12’ wide - back bar that was in a local bar that closed years ago. However, oral history states it was originally in the old YMCA at the roundhouse. 

NickD
NickD PowerDork
12/18/19 10:12 a.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett :

There was an NYO&W roundhouse here in Rome. They finally knocked it down in 2014. There was not much left of it, only about three stalls and the roof had gone in on them, and the turntable was long gone and the pit filled with cement. The O&W Historical Society fought to try and save it, but they aren't a big budget group and the building needed so much work. Still sad to see it go.

Photos someone took near the end.

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
12/18/19 10:42 a.m.

I volunteered here a few times when I was in College.  Fun, but not my thing.. beyond working on big mechanical things which is my thing.

http://www.rgvrrm.org/

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/18/19 10:50 a.m.

In reply to NickD :

Somewhere I have a few pics of this one from about 5 years ago. Our oldest daughter had her senior pics taken out there. Unfortunately they’re not on my phone, so hopefully they’re not lost completely. 

NickD
NickD PowerDork
12/18/19 10:51 a.m.

I also remember as a kid, the O&W Historical Society held an event where everyone got to go walk through an old O&W tunnel. Me and my youngest sister and my parents went and we did it twice, after that they stopped holding it because the tunnel ends were starting to get too decrepit and they were concerned someone would get hurt. I could swear it was in Sidney, NY, but I cannot find a photo results for a Sidney, NY tunnel.

Searching NYO&W tunnel gets this picture, which is kind of how I remember it looking, but this is Fallsburg Tunnel, which is nowhere near Sidney. I also recall everyone meeting before and after for ice cream at a little ice cream shop that was originally a small NYO&W depot.

NickD
NickD PowerDork
12/18/19 10:54 a.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett :

There is a little of the old Boston & Maine shops left in Concorde, NH, but they are falling in and probably won't be much left for long.

The complex in better days

From what I can tell, this is the rearmost building along the main line.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
12/18/19 11:07 a.m.

Nothing will make you understand just how much stuff human beings spend money and effort making, and then throw away, than a railroad trip between major cities.

 

T.J.
T.J. MegaDork
12/18/19 11:27 a.m.

Because of this thread, I spent some time looking into the railroad history of the town I grew up in. Like most of the US, it is a place that seems to have peaked back in the 1950's and has been in decay since then. It was a crossroads for B&O mainline between Baltimore and St. Louis and a north-south B&O line that went from Wheeling, WV down towards Huntington, WV. The two yards still exist, but not like they once were. Both roundhouses are long gone. CSX is still there, but the east-west line is no longer the mainline and in fact seems to have been abandoned to the east. Without the turntables, if they need to turn an engine, it has to go across the bridge into Ohio, and turn around at the wye over there.

NickD
NickD PowerDork
12/18/19 11:55 a.m.

In reply to T.J. :

The '50s were just an impossible decade for the railroads. The rise of the automobile, and to a lesser degree the airplane, plus the decline in usage of coal for heating and industry (The O&W moved 6 million tons in 1936, they moved 300,000 tons in '53) just murdered them. It didn't help that a lot of them were run by people who thought their empires were never going to collapse and got complacent. The northeast also had the extra penalty of being so ridiculously overbuilt with railroads.

B&O E8 in 1971, 8 years after aqcuisition by the C&O and only 2 years before the Chessie Systems rename. Simplified paint scheme, dirty mismatched equipment (literally every car is a different style and pain scheme) and overall short consist length.

 

914Driver
914Driver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/18/19 12:18 p.m.
914Driver
914Driver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/18/19 12:25 p.m.
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