Nickel Plate 765

Please pardon the interuption from my typical technology and education posts. This post is going to be a rambling of sorts. I should be working on my homework right now but wanted to capture my thoughts while they were still fresh in my mind.
As humans, memories from the past are easily triggered by the sight, sound, smell or touch of an object around us. On Saturday September 7th 2013 at the age of 26, I reunited with the sight, sound and smell of Nickel Plate 765 which I had last seen in 1991 (1992?) at the young age of 4(5?) years old as she roared through not only my hometown of Lima, Ohio but also her hometown. Nickel Plate 765 is a Berskhire Locomotive with a 2-8-4 wheel arrangement that was built at the Lima Locomotive Works in 1944 and was built for the Nickel Plate Rail Road. The 1991 trip was a special one as 765 met up with her older sister the Pere Marquette 1225 (1941). I don’t remember much from this event but am told by many that the ground rumbled as these two locomotives displayed their power for all in attendance with sights not seen, sounds not heard, a smell of coal burning and the rumble of the ground as they drove by in a display of the result of American engineering.
As we fast forward to 2013, 765 departed from her home with the Fort Wayne Railroad Histroical Society and made the trip eastward to Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad to pull passengers up and down the rails at the Cuyahoga Valley Park. The whistle on the 765 is unlike any modern day engine and is easily identifable. Words escape me on how best to describe the sound so I will allow this Youtube video to do my writing for me.
765 Whistle
My dad made the trek to Columbus, OH from Lima, OH and we headed North on Interstate 71 for Brecksville, OH. Upon arrival we were quickly welcomed by other rail enthusiasts who easily filled the parking lot and the side of the road leading into the station. Those in attendance ranged in age from the young to the old (but still young at heart) all brought together by one common element. As clock moved closer to our 1:30 PM departure time, the excitment grew and those there to view and ride the train kept turning there necks towards the left in antipcation of the arrivial of 765. Then out of no where…the whistle was heard and you would have thought it was Christmas morning as young and old whipped out their phones and camers all for the chance of capturing the sights and sounds of 765.
We quickly boarded the passenger coach which was one of two coaches that used to ferry passngers on the Nickel Plate Line (NKP #62) and eagerly awaited our departure. A quick blow of the whistle and an “All Aboard!” and our trip was underway. We travelled from the Brecksville station to the Boston Mill station where we departed and 765 proceeded to drive in reverse out of sight. Antipcation quickly grew as we saw the smoke release from her smoke stack and she was off! The sounds of cameras clicked away as everyone was determined to capture that perfect shot of the 765 on the drive by. After the first drive by she backed up again and did another…affording us the chance to capture yet again that perfect shot we all desired.
We boarded the train once more after the second drive by and proceeded down the line to the Indigo Lake Station where we started our return trip to Brecksville. As we travelled the rail, we enjoyed the sights and sounds of the nature that surrounded us, occasionally interrupted by the whistle of the 765 as we approached crossings but no one minded the interuptation. As we came up crossing after crossing we were greeted by the sight of people waiting with cameras in hand for their chance to capture the perfect shot of 765. I think we also scared a few unsuspecting people who were dinining outside at local establishments with sound of the whistle and the quick appearance of a steam locomotive. The 765 can’t go unoticed, we are talking about a locomotive that is 100 ft long with a height of 15 ft. The locomotive alone weighs 440,800 lbs and when her tender is added to the mix she is 802,500 lbs to be recokned with. We arrived at Brecksville and departed the train.
The whole time during this entire trip, I don’t think the smile on my face disappeared (that was a 3 hr smile btw) nor did the smile on the face of the passengers both young and old who got to experience this working piece of American history. The passengers quickly moved to the front of the locomotive to see this massive machine up close and personal. When you are standing next to the 765 you really gain an understanding of just how massive this machine really is.
The 765 as she has done many times before created the sight, sound, smell and touch for those in attendance for the first time. The 765 also reignited those memories for those who had seen her previously whether that was in her prime when rail was a main mode of transportation in the United States or since her retirement job began. We all proceeded to our cars with a smile on our faces and smelling of burn coal to return to our daily lives. Yet for a few hours on a Saturday in September all in attendance were once again kids (maybe not in size…but in heart) enjoying the sights, sounds, smell and touch of Nickel Plate 765. This time I plan on not taking 22 years off between visits because as I have learned in life what may not seem cool or have relevance as a kid is the complete opposite when you are an adult and you value it that much more.
I had my camera in hand during this trip and have added the pictures to my Flickr account. Feel free to browse and use these pictures. They are listed under a Creative Commons License.
Nickel Plate 765 Pictures
My history of the NKP 765 and facts were gathered from the Wikipedia Entry.

Quick Thought – A New Series

I am working on my final paper for EDFI 6400 at Bowling Green State University and it focuses on online learning. In a previous class, I read a book titled Learning Theory and Online Learning by Linda Harasim. Harasim discusses how online learning has developed three distinct models over the years. The models developed are Online Collaborative Learning, Online Distance Education, and Online Courseware. As I work on writing this final paper (Actually…I am writing this blog post instead of writing the paper) I had a thought that led to this blog post.
Ohio currently has seven (7) statewide eschools currently in existence and three (3) new eschools approved for 2013 – 2014 along with other eschools that operate within a geographic restriction. These schools account for roughly 40,000 students across the K-12 spectrum. My thoughts quickly drifted to how these schools choose to deliver their curriculum and how it fits within the three (3) models I listed previously. I went one step further and wondered to myself as I often do, does the delivery method they select to have an impact on their state report cards? Does one model of curriculum delivery yield a more positive result? Then my mind went further and said should we include a school like the Nexus Academy of Cleveland and Columbus in this mix as they use a form of blended learning?
Many thoughts floating around in my mind right now on this and how I could answer these questions and tie them into my project.