765 – ‘Listen for the whistle’ tomorrow morning

Tomorrow morning the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society’s steam locomotive, a former Nickel Plate Railroad 2-8-4 Berkshire, will depart for St. Louis, traversing the former Wabash Railroad line through downtown.

The former Wabash Railroad, now part of Norfolk Southern, is the southern elevated railroad tracks near the USPS. The 765 has been running excursions for Norfolk Southern for its employees as part of it’s 30th anniversary celebrations.

Years of progress - Miles of track celebration logo.

From a March news release from the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society:

765 to Help Celebrate Norfolk Southern’s 30th Anniversary

The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society is proud to announce that restored Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive no. 765 has been tapped to help celebrate Norfolk Southern’s 30th Anniversary. The locomotive will pull a special business train, operating out of the railroad’s terminals in Fort Wayne, Elkhart, and Muncie, Indiana as well as in Bellevue and Toledo, Ohio.

Created in 1982 with the merger of the Southern Railway and Norfolk and Western Railway, the railway operates 20,000 miles in 22 states with 28,000 employees. As part of its celebration, Norfolk Southern is honoring its corporate heritage by painting 18 of its locomotives in historic paint schemes that commemorate the dozens of railroad companies that were eventually merged into the system Norfolk Southern presently operates. Included will be a vintage livery that pays homage to the New York, Chicago, & St. Louis or Nickel Plate Road, the railroad that the 765 was originally built for.

Founded in 1972, the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, Inc will also be celebrating its own 40th Anniversary in 2012. The railroad historical society was the first all volunteer, non-profit to restore and operate a mainline steam locomotive after removing no. 765 from Fort Wayne’s Lawton Park in 1974 and rehabilitating it to operating condition in 1979. The 1944-built locomotive has traveled over 50,000 miles in public exhibition and excursion service and was recently rebuilt in 2005.

Riding directly behind the 765 and her auxiliary tender, will be the Norfolk Southern’s heritage units for the Illinois Terminal and Wabash Railroads.

In an unprecedented move, Norfolk Southern has allowed the FWRHS to broadcast via the internet and an app for both the Android and iPhone its GPS location. You can access it on the FWRHS website here, or search for the app using “Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society”.

So, if you’re downtown tomorrow morning sometime after 8 am, “Listen for the whistle!”

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