This post is in response to a campaign being ran by the Fort Wayne RailRoad Historical Society (FWRHS).
I was born and raised in Lima, Ohio in 1986 just a few blocks away from the birthplace of the engine that would later be numbered 765 and serve the Nickel Plate Road from 1944-1958. This is a train that has now had an impact on four generations of our family. My great grandpa who is now 90 years old did grunt work around the locomotive shop as a teenager and that is where the connection with 765 started. My first experience with 765 came in 1991 as she and her sister Pere Maqueete 1225 came through Lima, just feet from their birth place as a double headed position as they travelled South to Cincinnati and then on to Huntington, West Virginia for the National RailRoad Convention. At the time I would have been four years old and don’t remember much from that trip. We gathered at the train yard in Lima, Ohio with my grandpa and then proceeded to chase the train over to Huntington.
After that experience my interest in trains declined but with the advent of the Internet, an interest in trains was reborn. It was that finding of the interest again that led me to the pictures I have included in this post. It was in August 2013 that my dad and I travelled to New Haven, IN for the FWRHS open house. It was there at the open house that a picture of me sitting in the cab of 765 with a smile a mile wide was captured (below).
A few weeks later, my dad and I made the trek up from Columbus to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad for Steam in the Valley. It would be the first time in many years that I had rode on a steam train. It is also something that no matter how old you are, you can’t help but have a smile as you see the engine come into focus as it approaches the station. Once in the station you hear the brakes being set and then the sound of the whistle as the engine communicates with those around it. It was also during this time that I was able to capture a picture with my camera that for me is one of my favorite shots of all time.
When I got home and started sorting through my pictures, I realized I had captured something unique. I had this picture printed up in a 20 x 30 format and took it to my great grandpa. He was amazed at the clarity of the picture and the detail surrounding it. I offered him one of the prints and he selected a black and white copy but not before taking it around the nursing home and showing it off to people. As any great grandpa does he also told a story of how he worked in the shop doing grunt work and how the trains used to travel the tracks not far from the house he grew up in as a kid. He has trouble remembering the present but he is as sharp as a tack when it comes to the past. This was evident when he heard a video being played on my iPhone which contained the sound of the train and the whistle. Right off the bat he asked is that a Berkshire and it sounds like a Nickel Plate whistle.
In July 2014, my grandpa who took us to the train yard in Lima in 1991 was home from California for a visit. As my grandpa and his brother along with their sisters husband was sitting around I brought out the picture. I told them that I had something to show them that I thought they would enjoy. As I took the picture out of the protective cover and turned it around, they became quiet and just stared at the picture. They were impressed with the picture and proclaimed that it was a great shot taken by a professional. It was then that I revealed to them that I took the picture. They each now have a copy of the picture hanging in their houses. My grandpa took the picture and had it framed but also has taken it around, showing it off to people. He is sharing the history of Lima, the Lima Locomotive Works, the Nickel Plate Road, 765 and the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society
My dad and I made the trip to Owosso, MI for Train Expo 2014 where we saw 765 along with her sister 1225. My mom joined us in Cuyahoga Valley in Sept. 2014 for another edition of Steam in the Valley. My dad and I jumped off the train to take pictures as they did a photo runby but my mom stayed on. During this time, she called her dad (my grandpa) in California and he heard the whistle of 765 just a mere 2,457 miles away.