01 August 2011

And more rails

Tonight, a few more pics from Train Festival 2011.

First up, though...Steamboat a-comin'!

The Celebration Belle, our local dinner cruise/tour boat. Of course, nowhere near so old as she might look. In the fall, there's not much better than a cruise upriver, looking at the colors along the bluffs.

One of the more interesting engines that showed up was the newest:

Yes, that's right. The newest. This 4-4-0 was the mainstay of American railroads from the 1850s into the 1880s. This engine is actually a homebuilt project/replica of the Central Pacific Railroad's Leviathan. The CPRR was the western 'half' of the first transcontinental railroad. The owner did a fantastic job of recreating a piece of Americana. And since it's new, the engine is actually fuel-fired (instead of wood-fired) and has all of the latest safety gear. Leviathan could run on any road in the country. Now all he needs is an old combine car and a coach to complete the set.

Not Thomas, but a couple of tank engines. They were quite common around factories, lumbermills, and mines until the advent of diesels. Quite small and handy for working industry.

One of the 'stars' of the show was Nickel Plate 765. Officially, a Berkshire class 2-8-4 of the New York, Chicago, and Cincinnati Railroad, built in 1944 by Lima Locomotive Works, Lima, Ohio. 765 had a fairly brief career, hauling freights from 1944 to 1958. The railroad donated the engine to the city of Fort Wayne, Indiana. She sat in a city park, deteriorating away, until the local chapter of the National Railway Historical Society took it upon themselves to restore her to running condition. It took a few years and a pile of cash and labor, but today 765 is a star of the steam engine family.

If you grew up on the image of, say, Thomas the Tank Engine, or seeing small engines from the 1800s, it's amazing to realize the immense size of the final generation of steam locomotives. NKP 765 weighs 804,000 pounds (364 tonnes), has a driver diameter of 69 inches (1.75 meters), is over 100 feet (30.7 meters) long, and can cruise along at a leisurely 70 mph (113 km/hr). Not bad for pulling fast freights across the flatlands!

Next up-some diesels.

yankeedog out.

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