Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Nickel Plate 765

My main purpose for waiting around in Carland was to catch the Nickel Plate 765 steam engine.  This particular engine is in Michigan for the Train Expo that was being held in Owosso this weekend.  I went by the Expo and was thinking of going in but there were a ton of people.  Since I really wanted pictures of the train along the way, I decided to forgo the expo and head out to where I would catch the train.
 The Nickel Plate 765 was a steam engine that was built at the Lima Locomotive Works in 1944.  It is classified as an "S-2" Berkshire-type locomotive.  It has a 2-8-4 configuration which means that it has an unpowered lead axle followed by 4 powered and coupled driving axles and then two unpowered trailing axles. 
 Originally this engine was assigned to Bellevue, Ohio where it was used as part of the Nickel Plate's fast freight service.  After World War II, it was re-assigned to Fort Wayne where it was used in the classification yards (which is where cars are separated for their engines).  It's final revenue run was on June 14, 1958 and later it was activated to provide steam heat to a stranded passenger train.  That run gave it the dinstinction of being the last Nickel Plate train to run under steam.
 Because of their fondness for this particular train, the Nickel Plate folks kept this engine in pretty good condition.  It was donated to the city of Fort Wayne in 1963.  It was restored in 1991 and fully overhauled in 2005, it currently serves as an excursion train for things like this.  It is also used by Norfolk-Southern for its employees.
 After catching the train at Carland, I decided to chase it to Alma.  I was able to catch it along the way and get this nice picture.
 The New York, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad was more commonly known as the Nickel Plate Road.  It was formed in 1881 to compete with the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway.  It's routes went from Chicago to Buffalo, NY and down to St. Louis.  In 1964, the Nickel Plate and other Midwestern Carriers were merged into the Norfolk and Western (which in turn merged with the Southern Railway to become Norfolk-Southern).  At the end of 1960, the Nickel Plate had over 4,000 miles of track and carried almost a billion tons of freight.
 I was able to catch the engine again in Alma, MI.  I will have to admit, there is nothing quite like seeing a steam engine.  Diesel engines are cool and all but they are very mechanical.  A steam engine almost seems like a living being.
 The manufacturer's plate.  As I said above, this was built at the Lima Locomotive Works.
 A shot of the engineer.
 Looking down the length of the engine and coal car.
 A shot from the front.  I'm glad that I was able to catch it here because it was moving too quickly past Carland to get the shots I really wanted.
 She is in the long process of turning around to head back to Owosso.
 This is probably one of my favorite shots.
 Two of the drive wheels.
 Looking up at an oblique angle.
 She's blowing out some of the steam from her tanks.  Apparently they have to do this every so often to prevent damage to the tanks.
 She's getting ready to head back to Owosso.
 Giving me the opportunity to take a couple more shots.

One more shot and she's off.  I didn't have much of an opportunity to catch her on the way back to Owosso but I will be riding on her next month, so I'm good.

1 comment:

pncwho said...

Excellent photography of a beautiful train! Thank you for posting these.