Sunday Random Rail Shot (Early Edition)

Yes, today I decided to do the Random Rail Shot a little early.  We attended the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society Open House today and I thought, given that the open house has one more day this year, it might be a good idea to show you what it is all about.  Since this isn’t meant to be a full report (I don’t really do those), I will touch on the major items of interest.

Of course the highlight of the open house is the massive former Nickel Plate Road Berkshire 765.  This locomotive was restored by and is operated by the society.  Lately it has been spending its summers on the road doing promotion and morale work for Norfolk Southern.  NS and the historical society have a good working relationship and it is great to see a Class 1 railroad take such an active role in promoting and supporting private mainline steam.

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Speaking of Norfolk Southern, a few years ago they donated a former Nickel Plate SD9M to the society (NS 57, nee NKP 358).  Although progress has been slow, some work has done and it appears preservation of the carbody is underway.

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Caboose rides are a favorite of my family, and apparently everyone else as the line was long the whole time we were there.  The train was lengthened from 2011 and 2012, this year it included two historical NKP cabooses (cabeese?) pulled by the society’s former U.S. Army Davenport 44 tonner.

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This year the Louis Dreyfuss CF7 was parked on an inaccessible, and somewhat distant, storage track.  Last year it was available for cab walk-throughs and I feel that was an added attraction for the open house, so I was sad to see no open access to any of the on-site diesels.  Instead walk-throughs of a Mid America Car Leasing dome car were available.  The car was nice but it was difficult to get around in and the dome was normally occupied by people who didn’t understand the meaning of “look and leave”.  In other words they took advantage of the air conditioning and available seats to sort of move in and camp out.  Needless to say, my children didn’t get a chance to look around in the dome because we didn’t have all day to wait.

A nice touch, one that I always appreciate at least, is that the society allows people to wander around their shop and get a feel for the work they do there.  The tools of the trade, used to restore their historical equipment and keep it running, is in full view for visitors to see.  One would think that it wasn’t a safe place to be but they do a good job keeping things tidy, even curious children like mine are never in any real danger there.

Again, if you have the chance, head out to Edgerton Road, in New Haven Indiana, tomorrow and check out the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society’s Open House.  It is a great opportunity to spend time with your family learning about history and take a short ride on a real train (for a mere $4/ticket).

Check them out online at: http://fortwaynerailroad.org/

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