News & Reviews News Wire Nickel Plate Road No. 765 debuts for 2023

Nickel Plate Road No. 765 debuts for 2023

By | June 2, 2023

Indiana Ice Cream Train kicks off extended Indiana Rail Experience schedule

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Passenger train with steam engine stops on straight as diesel crosses bridge in background
Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765, shown in Glenview, Ill., in 2016, made its 2023 debut during the Memorial Day weekend on the Indiana Northeastern Railroad as part of the Indiana Rail Experience. Trains: David Lassen

ANGOLA, Ind. — Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive No. 765 debuted for its 2023 operating season during the Memorial Day weekend with one-hour Indiana Ice Cream Train rides out of Angola. The 1944-built 2-8-4 officially kicked off the second year of the Indiana Rail Experience, a program of events and excursions in partnership with the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society and the Indiana Northeastern Railroad.

“The 765 did quite well, but its performance has been incredibly dependable,” said Kelly Lynch, vice president of the Fort Wayne organization which owns the locomotive. “These trips don’t require much of the engine, but it’s a good opportunity to put on a show and announce that the Indiana Rail Experience is back in town.”

With No. 765 facing north and an Indiana Northeastern diesel at the south end, the seven-car train operated seven sold-out trips throughout the weekend. Also making its debut in the consist was the organization’s newly constructed head-end power car. The former Santa Fe baggage car with its onboard Cummins and Detroit generator was put to its paces and will be utilized for virtually any length of an excursion train while saving FWRHS over $50,000 in leasing costs, according to Lynch.

The attention now turns to No. 765’s Father’s Day weekend of excursions. The Donuts & Dads Train (sold out) and the Summer BBQ Train will depart from Angola on June 17, followed by a repeat of last year’s Tri-State Scenic Steam Excursion (sold out) on June 18 from Edon, Ohio to Hillsdale, Mich. “Maintenance work is very minor,” Lynch explained. “We built a temporary coal dock in Pleasant Lake, Ind., and recently acquired a telehandler for coal loading, so there will be more work on infrastructure and equipment than the 765 itself.”

The 2023 Indiana Rail Experience sees an extended schedule with 30 operating days compared to ten from last year. The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society looks to open ticket sales for the entirety of the season by July, with the October Fall Color Trains already showing great interest. “We designed this season to offer something for everyone,” said Lynch.

Visit the Indiana Rail Experience website for more information and to purchase tickets.

3 thoughts on “Nickel Plate Road No. 765 debuts for 2023

  1. Those N.P 700 series locomotives are great, and 6 of them, out of 80 made by ALCO and Lima, are still preserved.

    Back in 1969, I had the privilege of photographing sister 759 leaving Harmon Yard, north of Yonkers, NY, for the Golden Spike Centennial. And at another close time, we photographed the 759 west bound on the E-L Rwy mainline near Sloatsburg, NY, where I was employed to maintain the open copper wire telecom pole line, at that time, with hooks ‘n belt, an Automatic Electric handcranked West Test Set, block ‘n tackle with wire grips, and a Nicopress wire sleeve crimper for #s 6,8, & 9 AWG copper (sometimes clad) open wire on glass insulators. Even at that time, it was like working in a Thomas Edison/Graham Bell museum, getting a good paycheck, and being physically fit from lots of pole climbing, lol.

    Anyway, I was taking pix from the north side of the mainline while a big crowd of railfans were on the south side providing an unwanted background for my 759 photo shot, when all of a sudden, an eastbound freight unexpectedly came along at the same time as the westbound 759, blotting out all those fans on the south side, providing me with a timely and uncompromised photo shot. That was quite a coincidence. 🙂

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