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NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/31/22 12:38 p.m.

A neat fact about #2102's debut is that the R&N's steam engineer is a third-generation railroader by the name of Shane Frederickson. His grandfather worked at Reading Company's Reading, PA locomotive shops and was actually involved in the conversion of I-10sa Consolidation #2044 into T-1 Northern #2102. Now, almost 80 years later, his grandson is at the throttle of the very same locomotive.

Also, someone commented on my Youtube video of #2102 leaving Port Clinton and pointed out how, on a more somber note, #2102 probably duplicated that scene years before hauling troop cars during the Korean War, because the T-1s handled their share of troop trains. I'm sure it wasn't the intention, but debuting #2102 on Memorial Day made a lot of sense, since the T-1s were "War Babies" constructed during WWII, and then hauled troop trains in the Korean War.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/1/22 9:45 a.m.

Some photos of #2102 shortly before it was purchased by Blue Mountain & Reading (as the Reading & Northern went by at the time) on a 1985 excursion over Conrail rails from Temple, PA to Harrisburg, PA. This would be in the interval where Conrail allowed steam exucrsions again between when Conrail first became hesitant over steam excursions due to GTW #4070 disassembling it's valve gear on Horseshoe Curve in 1977 (coincidentally, #2102 was doubleheading with #4070) and the disastrous 1988 NRHS convention that hammered the coffin nails back in (which #2102 was also present at, but again, not part of the problem).

At Temple.

Rolling through Reading on what is now the Norfolk Southern line through Reading.

At Meyerstown

Annville

Rockville Tower at Marysville, PA

Crossing the PRR's famed Rockville Bridge. Just four months earlier, PRR E7s Atlantic #7002 and D16b 4-4-0 #1223 had passed this same way, leading a Strasburg excursion from Leaman Place to Harrisburg. While there is technically a chance we might see #2102 replicate this trip (and it is an infintesimally small chance), that #7002/#1223 trip will never be repeated.

At Harrisburg, under the wires

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/1/22 12:59 p.m.

Somebody on Facebook tried to take a top-down video of #2102 at the Tuscarora Road bridge near East Mahanoy Junction. He promptly learned why such a "prime" location was vacant. Turns out, standing right over the exhaust stack of a steam locomotive that's working for all she is worth is not really a great idea.

 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/1/22 6:12 p.m.
NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/2/22 7:50 a.m.

A video with a good clip of #2102 clawing the rails at East Mahanoy Junction

 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/2/22 9:58 a.m.

Yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of the merger that created Norfolk Southern. The combination of Southern and Norfolk & Western resulted in a Class I juggernaut that is one of the last men standing today. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/2/22 12:21 p.m.

On a more somber note, yesterday marked the end of Pan Am Railways. Originally formed as Guilford Rail System, it was created by Timothy Mellon in 1981 as essentially a Conrail of New England. It began with the purchasing of the Maine Central, followed immediately by also buying the bankrupt Boston & Maine and it's subsidiary Springfield Terminal, and within the same year placement of a bid on Delaware & Hudson. Guilford Rail System ended up with the B&M and ST, and Norfolk & Western sold D&H for the princely sum of $500,000 to smooth the impending Norfolk Southern merger.

Guilford Rail Systems ultimately became the industry-wide butt of jokes, often referred to as Guilford Fail System, and was plagued with legal troubles, sickly finances, abandonments, derailments, crumbling infrastructure, aging motive power, poor labor relations, and lengthy and violent strikes. Attempts at expansion (including an ambitious plan with Norfolk Southern to run trains all the way to St. Louis over Conrail rails revolving around NS being the sole purchaser of Conrail) fell through, the D&H quickly fell into bankruptcy and was castoff, and people were generally irritated at seeing some long-standing, once-proud railroads have their names run through the mud.

Through the '90s, Guilford began to turn things around and turn itself into a somewhat respectable Class III regional. In 1998, Guilford purchased the rights to the Pan Am World Airways colors, name and logo, and in 2006 rebranded itself as Pan Am Railways, likely to distance itself from the many PR black eyes attached to the Guilford name. It also began a jointly-owned company with Norfolk Southern, called the Pan Am Southern, to give Norfolk Southern an extension from Albany to Boston. 

In 2020, Pan Am Railways was put up for sale and CSX stepped up to the plate. There was lengthy discussions, with local residents, politicians and businesses concerned that CSX would begin cutbacks of employees and service, and Norfolk Southern was worried that CSX would shut them out of New England. The end compromise was that Pan Am Southern would be spun off as a new railroad, called Berkshire & Eastern, with CSX and NS both owning 50% and Genesee & Wyoming handling the day-to-day operations.

The end of Pan Am brings several preservation worries aboutthe fate of historic (and possibly haunted) Hoosac Tunnel, the Office Car Special EMD FP9As and passenger cars, and the two big wreck trains that used old Industrial Brownhoist wrecker cranes and a number of old heavyweight Boston & Maine passenger cars.

DjGreggieP
DjGreggieP HalfDork
6/2/22 12:43 p.m.

Nick, you really have an outstanding amount of knowledge regarding the history of these different lines!

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/2/22 3:49 p.m.

Drought conditions are wreaking havoc down in the Southwest. Durango & Silverton uses a tiered fire hazard system and is currently at Tier 4, the highest tier, which calls for suspension of all operations because even a spark from a brake shoe or burning carbon from the exhaust on their MLW diesels could start a fire. At Tier 3, they can operate but with diesels, and at Tier 2 they can operate the oil-fired steam locomotives and the diesels, but Tier 4 puts the brakes on all operations. Cumbres & Toltec is also pushing back their opening day from June to July due to wildfire risk. They were told by local officials that they can operate but that if they start a fire, then they are responsible for all firefighting expenses and damages, and so they have (wisely) decided not to run any trains. Grand Canyon Railway has also cancelled their monthly steam weekend for this month, both for fire risk and because their water supply situation is tenuous in good conditions.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/2/22 4:17 p.m.

Major news came out of East Broad Top, in that "big" Mikado #16 has passed its FRA hydrostatic boiler pressure test. Basically, warm water is pumped into the boiler and the boiler is then pressurized with air to 25% higher than the nominal operating pressure and then it is checked for leaks. in the case of #16, that would be 250psi. Only four staybolts were found to have leaks, which is within the allowable range. With the boiler rubber-stamped by the FRA, the boiler lagging and jacketing can go on and final assembly of the running gear can begin. EBT #16 hauled the final train for the EBT in its common carrier days in 1956, and never ran during the tourist line era from 1960-2011, nor did it's sister "big" Mikado #18, which may have factored into why the #16 was chosen for restoration. East Broad Top ceased operating trains in 2011, only reopened in 2021, and #16's return to service will be the first active steam on the line since 2011. "Small" Mikado #14 is also undergoing an operational restoration currently (EBT management plans to get all 6 engines running again someday) but is taking a little longer, since it was run extensively in the tourist era and thus has more wear and tear.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/2/22 5:58 p.m.

https://fortwaynerailroad.org/2022/05/indiana-rail-experience-events/

The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society announced their 2022 schedule for NKP #765, and there is a trip that looks pretty tempting on August 27th and 28th. It's a 100 mile roundtrip from Edon, Ohio through Indiana to Hillsdale, Michigan and back with a three hour layover in Hillsdale. Open-window coaches, open vestibules (!), dome car seats, and photo runby. Tickets start at $79. Edon, Ohio is only 8.5 hours away. Depending on finances and fuel prices, I might have to go.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/3/22 11:51 a.m.

It's kind of funny that I've seen 3 of the 6 surviving NKP Berkshire, but somehow haven't seen the most famous one, the #765. 

I saw #755 in Conneaut, Ohio last year while I was out to Erie, PA and made a quick detour.

I saw #757, often called "the forgotten Berkshire" at the Railroad Museum of PA, in much-neglected condition, shortly before it was moved to Bellevue, Ohio.

I've seen #759 at Steamtown a couple times over the years.

But I've never seen #765 in person, either operating or on display. I was in Lima, Ohio many moons ago, which is were #779 is on display, but I didn't swing over to Lincoln Park to actually see it. And the #763 is the final one, out at Age of Steam Roundhouse, which I have also never seen. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/3/22 12:29 p.m.

New York's newest tourist line has also begun operations as of last weekend. The Saratoga, Corinth & Hudson has taken over a segment of the ex-D&H Adirondack Branch last operated by Iowa Pacific Holdings' Saratoga & North Creek Railroad. They are operating the segment from Corinth to Springfield Center, and are using the Alco S1 switcher that was the plant switcher at Alco Schenectady along with some passenger cars in a D&H inspired livery. Looks like a pretty neat operation with some good scenery over some very historical rails. They also offer regular cab rides for $200 on any trip.

Someone in a FB group shared a link to some photos hosted by Lake States Railway Historic Association & some were too cool not to share. 

As a car guy & train geek I absolutely love this one. 

 

I don't remember ever seeing this Southern setup before. Any idea what it was for?

 

I don't remember ever hearing of the Duluth South Shore & Atlantic before. 

 

And now I'm wondering if Amtrak would let you couple something like this onto one of their trains?

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/5/22 10:44 a.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

The DSS&A ran all over the Michigan Upper Peninsula. It was owned by Canadian Pacific and operated as an independent nameplate from 1888-1960. It was usually in pretty ramshackle condition, due to serving small backwater communities, plus the death of major logging operations in the late 'teens. It was nicknamed the "Dead Slow Service & Agony" and "Damn Slow, Shabby Affair" and dissatisfied workers suggested that the railroad's initials stood for "Damn Small Salary & Abuse". What little wind was left on it's sails vanished in '57 with the opening of the Mackinac Bridge. In '61, CP merged it into the Soo Line and it vanished from existence. The DSS&A was noteworthy for owning quite a few Baldwin diesels, including those ridiculous DT-6-6-2000 center cab transfer locomotives, some of which survived into the Soo era. They also had a cheery yellow, green and red livery that would have looked more at home in Florida or southern California.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/5/22 12:36 p.m.

In reply to NickD :

...and now I'm hungry for tacos too. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/5/22 12:56 p.m.

One of the big DT-6-6-2000s in Soo Line red and white. Of the four, this was the only one to get repainted. The other 3 just wore the DSS&A colors until retirement.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/5/22 5:40 p.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

Funny that your mind went to tacos when the nickname for the livery was "Fruit Salad".

In reply to NickD :

Well I don't eat anything with the word "salad" in it, so that might have something to do with it! smiley

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/5/22 8:10 p.m.
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) said:

Someone in a FB group shared a link to some photos hosted by Lake States Railway Historic Association & some were too cool not to share. 

As a car guy & train geek I absolutely love this one. 

I see your ATSF truck and raise you a B&O bus.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/7/22 3:31 p.m.

A Baltimore & Ohio Alco FA-2, in the "sunburst" livery that B&O rolled out with their GP30s, works a freight out of Springfield, Illinois with a pair of EMD F7Bs. B&O purchased 28 of the FA-2s and 18 FB-2s, including a batch equipped with steam generators, and ran them through the '60s and into '71 before finally retiring them.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/7/22 3:43 p.m.

B&O Alco FA-2/FB-2s looking quite classy in the B&O's original gray, dark blue and gold livery dragging freight through the Cumberland Narrows. The FA-2 was rated 100hp higher than an EMD F7, but made ~17,000lbs more starting tractive effort, making them a real workhorse. This probably factored into the long lifes that they led on the B&O, L&N, and Western Maryland. The later 244 V12s also were pretty reliable if maintained, but were unfortunately tainted by the awful reputation of the 244 V16 and the early 244 V12s with the air-cooled turbocharger.

A 401 CJ
A 401 CJ SuperDork
6/7/22 4:46 p.m.

My wife's grandfather worked his way up on the Canadian National in Quebec.  It's where he learned English and you could tell as every third or fourth word out of his mouth started with an F, had four letters, and it wasn't fire.  Unfortunately he was struck down by lightning one day while performing his duties.  Some said he was the best conductor they ever had.

 

:-)

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/7/22 4:52 p.m.

After the original gray/dark blue/gold scheme, B&O very briefly used a livery that swapped the gray with a different shade of dark blue. Maybe to make the units look less bedraggled and cut down on the amount of cleaning necessary? Light-colored liveries, like Lehigh Valley's "Snowbird" C628s or L&HR's C420s or the D&H lightning stripe, tended to look pretty rough unless they were constantly washed.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/7/22 4:56 p.m.

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