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TrainFestival 2009 My Day 2 Nickel Plate Railroad 765 Trip Subbing for the Pere Marquette 1225 7/25/2009

by Chris Guenzler

Yesterday I learned the Pere Marquette 1225 had a bad boiler tube and couldn't pull our train today. In its place the Nickel Plate Railroad 765 would pull our train. Matt and I met in the lobby and drove over to pick up Randy before we drove to Owosso. There I found Bob and Elizabeth waiting in line and I joined them.

Pere Marquette 1225 History

The Pere Marquette 1225 was built in 1941. The engine ran through the merger with the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad in 1947. The engine was used to shuttle steel and wartime traffic to and from Detroit, Saginaw, Flint and northern Indiana steel mills, In 1951 the locomotive was retired and sent to the scrap line in New Buffalo, Michigan. In 1955 the Michigan State University asked the C&O Railroad Chairman if they could have a steam locomotive and they received the Pere Marquette 1225. In 1983 the MSU Railroad Club and supporters of "Project 1225" formed the Michigan State Locomotive Trust for Railway Preservation was given ownership of the Pere Marquette 1225. The engine was moved to the former Ann Arbor Railroad Shop Complex in Owosso in 1983. The engine moved under its own power in November 1985. The first excursion was between Owosso and Chesaning in 1988. In August 1991 the 1225 and NKP 765 pulled a 31 car excursion train for the NRHS Convention in Huntington, West Virginia through the New River Gorge. Since then it has operated excursion trains on Great Lake Central Railroad over the years.

Nickel Plate Railroad 765 History

Nickel Plate Railroad 765 was built in 1944 and assigned to Bellevue, Ohio where it was used on fast freights. After the war it worked out of the Fort Wayne Classification Yard. The last run of the engine was on June 14, 1958. It was the donated to the city of Fort Wayne and placed in Lawton Park. In 1972 the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society was formed and the locomotive was towed to a shop in New Haven, Indiana, The group returned the locomotive to service on September 1, 1979. After years in excursion service in 1993, the locomotive was put back in the New Haven Shop to overhaul her running gear but it was then decided to perform a complete rebuilding of the NKP 765. NKP 765 steamed back to life in October 2005 and has been used in excursion service since.

The Trip

The NKP 765 pulled the train into the boarding area. After the First Class Passengers boarded, they moved the train up and the rest of us boarded the coach section of the train. The three of us boarded the CN 5226. At 9:30 AM our train to Alma departed Owosso.

Once out of Owosso we were out in the farmlands.

A small lake along our route.

There are plenty of corn fields in Michigan.

Almost every grade crossing would have train chasers at them when we went through.

Cut wheat field.

Red Barn.

White Barn.

Green fields.

White farm.

More chasers.

North Fork of the Bad River.

The green countryside.

More chasers taking pictures of our train.

The clouds begin to build.

Pacers and chasers on US Highway 127.

Settling lakes.

The clouds are getting darker as we passed the green fields.

Seeing this cloud I knew rain was on the way.

As we neared Alma the rain started.

The rain poured down as we arrived into Alma. I decided to stay onboard since I had to wait for the call from the California EDD Office which I hoped would come plus save our seats. I got off to get the train consist but then got back on. Our train had the NKP 2-8-4 765, Milwaukee Road Cedar Rapids 800040, Milwaukee Road Super Dome 800862, New York Central 3 Portland 800084, CLC Coach 5447, Lake Pepin 800799, St. Paul Pass 800798, Milwaukee Road Baggage 2450 800287, Ex Via 762 Concession, Steam Railroading Institute MSTX 1363 William Berkompas, Coach Arizona ATAX 800861, NSR 202 Wenonah 800261, Coach CN 5226, Coach CN 5228, Open Air Coaches Ohio Central 705 and 704 and Steam Railroading Institute MSTX 462 Mark Hoton. The rain stopped a few minutes later.

The NKP 765 then pushed our consist with me aboard back to the inside of a wye then dropped our consist so that the engine could be wyed.

The Pine River.

Our consist blocked two grade crossings in Alma as the NKP 765 was wyeing.

NKP 765 coming down one leg of the wye heading back to our train.

The NKP 765 returned to the opposite end of our train.

The NKP 765 was serviced and the ash pan was cleaned out as we sat.

Our train then backed to the boarding area. While we were there, the call came and I now will start receiving my unemployment checks. That was good news that I shared with Bob and Elizabeth when they returned from lunch. From here we walked back outside to the NKP 765 for some pictures.

The Nickel Plate Railroad 765 at Alma ready to head back to Owosso.

Elizabeth and the NKP 765.

Bob and the NKP 765.

Me and the NKP 765.

The NKP 765 stood like this until our 2:30 PM Departure Time. The train ran south for about twenty minutes until we reached a park in Itacha for the photo runbys of this trip.

The first back up move.

Photo Runby 1.

The CN 5226 coach we rode in.

Back up move 2.

One part of the photo lines.

Photo Runby 2.

Back up move 3.

Photo Runby 3. After that the Itacha Volunteer Fire Department had to come and give the NKP 765 more water for our trip back. Back onboard Elizabeth and I went back to the Milwaukee Road 261 Concession Car. There we talked with Frank Sandburg and the three of us had a great conversation. All too soon we returned to our seats as we were nearing Owosso. The NKP 765 pulled back into Owosso and the three of us detrained. From there we went to Lefty's Steak House where I had a fantastic Prime Rib. After a great meal, Bob and Elizabeth drove me back to the Super 8 in Flint where I spent the rest of the evening writing stories.