This past weekend, May 3rd and 4th 2014, the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society’s NKP 765 steam locomotive pulled Norfolk Southern Railway employee-only excursions between Elkhart Indiana and Bryan Ohio. The train was dubbed the Commodore Vanderbilt for the weekend.
The excursions were a big success and brought people to the tracks to wave as the 70 year old Berkshire 2-8-4 steam locomotive performed flawlessly.
We caught the 765 west of Bryan, inside Bryan and again on the western edge of Bryan. Below are links to photos and video from the trip which includes several Norfolk Southern freight trains and a video interview with Kelly Lynch of the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society.
I want to mention a couple of interesting world records from the Norfolk Southern Railway line that runs through Bryan and that the 765 traversed over the weekend.
The first is that the stretch of trackage from Toledo Ohio to Butler Indiana is the longest multiple straight railroad line in the world. It was originally built in 1851 and remains so to this day.
The second record was set on July 23, 1966 by the New York Central Railroad. This was a rail speed record for 183.85 miles per hour. You can read the text below from the historical marker in Bryan Ohio. You can also visit The Smartt website also has information and additional photos of the M-497.which contains the story of how the record came to be.
Rail Speed Record
In 1966 the New York Central Railroad Company (A.E. Perlman, President) proposed a test of existing rail passenger equipment to determine the feasibility of operating high-speed passenger service between cities up to 300 miles apart. The site chosen for the test was near Bryan, Ohio on the longest multiple track straight railroad line in the world. This sixty-seven mile straight trackage from Toledo, Ohio to Butler, Indiana was originally constructed by the Northern Indiana Railroad Company of Ohio incorporated March 3, 1851. On July 23, 1966, the New York Central Technical Research Department ran their Budd RDC-3 passenger car number M-497 fully instrumented for stress analysis, and propelled by two roof-mounted jet aircraft engines. The speed of 183.85 miles per hour was attained, the highest recorded on a railroad in North America at that time and to this day.
Ohio Bicentennial Commission, The Longaberger Company
New York Central System Historical Society
The Ohio Historical Society