#779 is a massive, beautifully proportioned piece of engineering. It was outshopped on 13th May 1949 by the Lima Locomotive Works in Lima, OH, at a cost of $187,000, and was the last steam locomotive built by the company. It was one of a final order of ten Berkshire (2-8-4) type locomotives placed by the Nickel Plate Railroad (#770-#779), bringing their total roster of this type to eighty. The locomotives served mainly as freight haulers across Ohio and Indiana.
With a 42' engine wheelbase and 18' 3" driver wheelbase, #779 weighs 444,300 lbs, 266,000 lbs on its 69" drivers. The grate is 90.3 sq ft and the firebox 461 sq ft with two thermic syphons providing 98 sq ft of heating surface and two arch tubes providing an additional 19 sq ft, to bring the engine's total heating surface to 6,810 sq ft, including 1,992 sq ft superheating. Equipped with a Worthington Type 5 SA feed water heater, an Elesco Type E superheater a Standard Type MB stoker and Precision Type F-3 reverse gear, it operated at a boiler pressure of 245 psi delivering 64,100 lbs tractive effort.
The tender weighs 356,000 light and has a capacity of 22,000 gallons of water and 22 tons of coal.
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#779 was displayed at the Chicago Railroad Fair in 1949.
In its nine year operating life, the locomotive logged 677,095 miles. Retired in 1958, it was placed in storage at NKP's Conneaut, OH, shops. Five years later it was moved to the City of Lima and placed on display with NKP Wooden Cupola Caboose #1091 and NKP Pullman Sleeper #5 in Lincoln Park.
#1091 was built for the NKP by the Lafayette Car Works in Lafayette, IN. It was renumbered #559091 when the NKP merged into the Norfolk & Western Railroad in 1964. #5 was built in 1950 as #211. It was retired in 1965 and sold to the Illinois Central Railroad.