Above: The mighty Nickel Plate Road 765 stops to pick up passengers on the CVSR in 2013. Photo by Drayton Blackgrove.
With deadhead moves and employee excursions under her belt, Nickel Plate 2-8-4 ‘Berkshire’ 765 now girded her loins for an even bigger event – a long weekend’s worth of public excursions over the Pittsburgh Line, between Lewistown and Gallitzin. To accommodate the teeming masses eager to ride, the Norfolk Southern-supplied consist was expanded to include cars borrowed from Mid-America Railcar, Iowa Pacific, and the Washington DC Chapter of the NRHS. The 17-car train was capped off with four dome cars – two full-length and two standard – and the DCNRHS’ heavyweight Pullman, ‘Dover Harbor’. To provide braking assistance in the mountains and ease her appetite for coal, the 765 was attended by two diesel-powered ladies-in-waiting – ES44AC 8102 in Pennsylvania Railroad Tuscan Red, and sister unit 8098 in Conrail Blue. The footage from all three days’ excursions has been compiled here, into a single virtual trip.
On the weekend of October 26 and 27, the Lady Berkshire would return to the famous Wabash Huntington District for a weekend of excursions between Fort Wayne and Lafayette, Indiana. This was the first time steam had traveled over this line for over seventeen years, with the last excursions being pulled by C&O Berkshire #2716. On these trips, the 765 was accompanied by five Norfolk Southern passenger cars, six cars from Mid-America Rail Car Leasing, two dome cars from Iowa Pacific, and two New York Central heritage cars, with the Hickory Creek bringing up the rear. Best of all, the 765 would pull both trips without the assistance of a diesel helper.
You certainly won’t be disappointed when you purchase this amazing coverage of the 765 running in all of her glory a crossed some of the most beautiful scenery that Norfolk Southern has to offer.