When the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum announced it was offering slots engineering NKP S-2 #765 in June 2011, I jumped at the chance! Owned by the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, this Berkshire type
(2-8-4) is one of the largest historic steam locomotives operating in the US today.
The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society was formed in 1972 to preserve #765. It had been on display for ten years in Lawton Park having been donated to the city of Fort Wayne, IN, in 1963 by the Nickel Plate.
After seven years restoration work, #765 moved under its own power again on 1st September 1979. Since then, it has hauled over 100,000 people through sixteen states, covering more than 52,000 miles on its different excursions.
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Below, we caught #765 as it approached the W 400 S crossing.
Click here to see a
short video of the
After stopping just north of W 400 S, #765 reverses back over the crossing on its return trip to North Judson.
Click here to see a
short video of
the reverse run by.
Left and below,#765 reverses over the
W 500 S crossing about a mile south of W 400 S.
#765 had an FRA exemption to operate over a section of ex Chesapeake & Ohio track about three miles north to a point where it would stop and reverse back to North Judson.
Click here to see a short video of #765
reversing over W 500 S.
Back at North Judson, the locomotive waits to begin the next excursion. The crew take the opportunity to grease #765's running gear.
Then it was my turn to take the throttle of this 440,800 lb engine...
Above, the view from the fireman's seat.
Two guest engineers went out on each one hour trip. The first to take the throttle handled the train the three miles from North Judson and back while the other fired. After #765 had reversed back to the depot, the guests swapped places for a second trip up and back.
The first trip left at 7.00 am and the last at 7.00 pm. Twenty-eight guest engineers from Connecticut to California to Australia rode that day and, over the next few days #765 also ran passenger excursions and freight drive-bys.
Above, #765's backhead and, below, looking into the firebox.
The engine's grate is 90.3 sq ft and the firebox is 461 sq ft in area.
The firebox has two thermic syphons with 100 sq ft of heating surface and two arch tubes providing an additional 19 sq ft, which brings the engine's total heating surface to 6,810 sq ft, including 1,992 sq ft superheating.
Above, the view from the engineer's seat.
#765 is one of thirty S-2 class locomotives built by Lima in 1944 for the Nickel Plate (#740-#769). It has 25" x 34" cylinders and 69" drivers fitted
with roller bearings. Operating at a boiler pressure of 245 psi, it delivers 64,100 lbs tractive effort.
Five Nickel Plate S-2s have survived. You can see #755 on the NKP #755 page of this website, #757 on the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania Train Yard page and #759 on the Steamtown NHS page and #779 on the NKP #779 page.