Sunday, July 13, 2014

Riding the Detroit Arrow

So yesterday I finally got my chance to ride behind the Nickel Plate 765.  They were trying to recreate part of a route that was operated by the Pennsylvania and Wabash Railroad that went between Chicago and Detroit.  As opposed to the New York Central's Wolverine this went through Northern Ohio and Indiana.  Something tells me the Wolverine was a faster route because it was a little more direct.  Anyway...
 The 765 emerges from the yard under a full head of steam.  According to the little flyer that they gave us on the train, this was the first time there has been a steam excursion from Detroit in 20 years.  I seriously hope they don't wait that long for another one.  It would be nice to see one every couple of years.
 I will have to say that she is a beautiful locomotive and she makes beautiful sounds when she moves by.
 Sadly, I was kind of shooting into the sun for many of these shots, but it still doesn't look too bad.
 Although you can tell that here.
 It would have been nice if they offered rides in the cab, but I would imagine that it would have been difficult for a four hour ride and the price would have been at a top premium.
 As it was, they were pulling cars from the 40's and 50's.  Compared to the modern cars, they seemed much nicer.
 This is the car that I would be riding on.  I sprung for the deluxe coach ticket.  I wanted a nicer ride that the bottom tickets but I couldn't really justify the higher prices in my mind for the other tickets.  Looking back, maybe I should have.
 The cars back into position.
 I'll have to say that there is something special about a steam train.
 This is the interior of the car I was on.  There was quite a bit of space between the seats.  It reminded me of the seats in the Empire Builder (or one of the other distance cars).
 Our car attendent.  Like many of people on the train, he was a volunteer and seemed like a pretty interesting guy.
 We took the Norfolk-Southern line out of Allen Park.  It gave me an opportunity to catch some things that I don't normally get to stop and see.  For instance, this used to be the original terminal for Detroit Metro Airport.  I believe this was built around 1929 (or so) and served as the main terminal until 1958 when the (now defunct) Smith Terminal was built.  I think this building currently serves as storage for the Wayne County road commission but it would be nice to see it restored although there wouldn't be much of a purpose for that.
 A shot of the airport itself.
 Once we left the metro Detroit area, the scenery was pretty much the same, a barn here...
 ...and a barn there.
 Occasionally, we would pass through a couple of train yards.  That was pretty neat.
 A horse barn.
 Some of the horses would run from the train.
 One of the really cool things was seeing the people come out to greet the train.  I have to imagine that some of them were confused to see a steam engine passing by.  In some places, there were a couple of people like in this photo and then there were some places with throngs of people.
 An engine from the Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad.  It is a subsidiary of the Canadian Pacific railroad and services the upper Midwest mostly.
 Another Norfolk-Southern engine.
 Because the terrain from Detroit to Fort Wayne is mostly flat and without rivers, I didn't get many opportunities to get a picture from the train from the train.  This was as we were arriving in Fort Wayne.   This was an elevated railroad that was built in the 1950's to eliminate the many railroad crossings that went through downtown. 
 The name of the car I rode on.
The station itself was pretty run down.  I have a feeling this was the first time it's been used in a while.    With the craze for commuter railroads, maybe it will get renovated.

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