Regarding the operation of the 765

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Hotbox
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Regarding the operation of the 765

Post by Hotbox » Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:08 am

Just curious. When you guys are out on location operating the locomotive, What kind of reaction do you get from incidental bystanders who were NOT AWARE that a giant steam locomotive was going to be a part of their day?

I realize that those who have been tipped off where and when to be.. are your fans, whose enthusiasm can accordingly be expected. But as far as roadway traffic as well as people doing their normal business at line side locations, do they appear just a little awe struck when you come rolling through?

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Re: Regarding the operation of the 765

Post by nathansixchime » Sat Feb 09, 2013 6:55 pm

In my time on the locomotive I have only seen one disinterested party in West Virginia who were standing over the open hood of a truck by the roadside. We blasted through behind them with an impossible to ignore "hooter" whistle from a Norfolk & Western locomotive and they never turned around.

But generally, the expressions and reactions are all the same, varying from generally bemusement to incredible surprise; it's typically the crowds of fans that get their attention first and then they see what the hype is all about -- though most people now seem to experience the train with a cell phone or camera in their face.

I've always wondered what it feels like it to see it again for the first time.
Kelly Lynch
Vice President
Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society
http://www.fortwaynerailroad.org

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Re: Regarding the operation of the 765

Post by Hotbox » Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:16 pm

nathansixchime wrote:
I've always wondered what it feels like it to see it again for the first time.
That makes two of us. I've never been lucky enough to see you in actual operation.

Drop a tip next time you plan to sneak out the barn, I'll make careful notes and send you a copy. :wink:

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Re: Regarding the operation of the 765

Post by nathansixchime » Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:57 am

We do our best these days to let everyone know. We're working on an advanced GPS/smartphone app while we're at it.

As for what it's like to see people see the 765, I wrote this in 2011 after our return from TrainFestival 2011:
http://fortwaynerailroad.org/the-memory-machine/
As the 765 moved by night, by day, at reduced speed due to heat or at track speed on the highball, it stopped every town in its tracks. The slower summer speeds were hell on engine crew, but a blessing for the people who were given the extra moment to ponder the unusual sound in the distance, stare through their kitchen windows, leave their front doors, and exit offices and storefronts to take in the sight of our machine.

No amount of strategically planned press releases or news reports could have bought us the constant, magnetized presence of the thousands of people who accompanied us out west and on the return home. It’s a good thing it was summer, because school attendance would have been curiously low for those whistle stop cities we passed through.

I lost count of the streets called “Railroad” as we passed through the dozens of line-side towns, where there were no two smiles alike in the crowds armed with cell phones and cameras and brandishing their pearly whites and waves. We were to blame for productivity losses all over the midwest, especially within those factories and small businesses whose back doors would find themselves open as employees wandered out to enjoy the show.

On every trip I find myself envying those people who are perhaps seeing the 765 for the first time. What’s that like, I wonder, to know nothing of this Tyrannosaurs Rex that’s now marching down Main Street and to be so in awe of the thing you’re damn near scared of it. What’s it like, anyway? And I always find myself wishing people could get a longer look or that we had an infinite number of leaflets to drop, so they could know everything there was to know about why we were there.

One woman, describing her adventure in finding us on the trip home wrote, “It’s like tracking down Santa Claus.” Another person wrote, “I bet you guys were the most photographed thing in the country.”

At a brief stop for the Canadian Pacific in Gilman, we had pizza delivered to the train. Before departure in Peoria, a friend of ours at RailAmerica bought us enough breakfast burritos to last us until Kansas City.

At servicing stops, hard grease and oiling were completed like it was an art. By the end of the whole ordeal using the alemite gun, normally a handful in the heat and grease, was like unholstering a feather pen.

The total crew on the train numbered six, with one trick resting, one operating, and one taking in the show. The passenger train, outfitted by its incredible owners MidAmerica Railcar Leasing, had everything from air conditioning to showers, and on the trip home, even a bunk car.

More than once on that trip you could enjoy a shower, a shave, and a meal behind a Nickel Plate Road steam engine. A fellow crew member joining us for the return trip back couldn’t believe he was falling asleep to a steam locomotive a few cars ahead of him. Neither could I.

Profound memories of the “I can die happy now” kind happened out of nowhere, like waving to my dad, the man who got me into this mess to begin with, from the fireman’s seat as we roared by him or the long night run that began with my girlfriend executing a one-in-a-million toss of a Coca-Cola can into my hand as I reached out of the cab at speed in a completely unplanned marriage of love and choreography.

I didn’t think they made memories like these anymore.

There is little need to mention the long days, extreme temperatures, missed income, sore limbs, sunburn, erratic sleep schedules, or questionable hotel lodging while on the road. Sometimes that whistle does grate and the concern about lifting safeties or maintaining water can get your skin leaking, but this is the memory machine and complaints don’t very well amount to much in comparison.

Aboard the tool car on the 765’s day long, lightning fast trip to Bureau, Illinois and back in July, there wasn’t room to stand in the vestibules, but we crowded them anyway.

The constant, shotgun conversation from the locomotive running the fastest it had since 1993 was throwing people into trances. Instead of saying “I think I can,” it was proclaiming “Of course I can.” Something funny happens to our volunteers when they exchange looks on these trips; they all know exactly what the other is thinking without saying a word.

Every one of our volunteers, with their ears and eyes glued to the countryside, was responsible for the sight and sound up ahead, the very same fury that transfixed us all.

With every throttle notch and stoker adjustment, it was like we were all seeing her again for the first time.
Kelly Lynch
Vice President
Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society
http://www.fortwaynerailroad.org

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Re: Regarding the operation of the 765

Post by Hotbox » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:24 pm

I thought that the coverage you guys got in the March 2013 issue of Trains magazine, was very positive. It sounds as though you've earned some respect in the right places.

Last summer someone posted here that you guys were making a shakedown run to Muncie, I didn't read it till mid-late morning. I dropped everything I was doing, made apologies where possible, ran home grabbed my camera, and made my way to my personal favorite train watching place(the Wabby east of Hugo) really wanting a picture of you going over that bridge.....and waited...and waited... and then finally conceded to myself that i had gotten there too late. :cry:

I realize you guys have constraints you have to work within....

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Re: Regarding the operation of the 765

Post by nathansixchime » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:43 pm

Thank you, and well, Muncie was a last minute opportunity, but I was able to announce it around 7:30AM on our Facebook and Twitter pages. New media, yes, but you don't necessarily need an account to read what we post there. I'm working to better integrate our updates there to be more visible on our central website so we can have a better all-inclusive option. Hopefully our GPS app will have the ability to do text message updates and alerts as well.
Kelly Lynch
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Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society
http://www.fortwaynerailroad.org

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Re: Regarding the operation of the 765

Post by Hotbox » Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:52 am

nathansixchime wrote: Muncie was a last minute opportunity, but I was able to announce it around 7:30AM on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
You are to be commended for your abilities to prepare for the operation of such a complex machine on such short notice! :roll:

Yes I suppose there is a bit of sarcasm intended there, surely you plan a least a day ahead. 8)

Speaking of the article, I read where the 630 had problems with axle grease and had to switch to oilers, while your writing above seems to suggest that grease works fine for you. Am I reading that correctly, or are there two separate processes here? just curious.

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Re: Regarding the operation of the 765

Post by nathansixchime » Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:11 am

Hotbox wrote:
nathansixchime wrote: Muncie was a last minute opportunity, but I was able to announce it around 7:30AM on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
You are to be commended for your abilities to prepare for the operation of such a complex machine on such short notice! :roll:

Yes I suppose there is a bit of sarcasm intended there, surely you plan a least a day ahead. 8)

Speaking of the article, I read where the 630 had problems with axle grease and had to switch to oilers, while your writing above seems to suggest that grease works fine for you. Am I reading that correctly, or are there two separate processes here? just curious.
A test fire was already planned, indeed, but not a full shakedown run to Muncie.

The 630's bearing boxes and their oil lubrication feed were the issue (IIRC, from a wreck or incident that had put the frame out of square decades ago.) The 765's drivers are roller bearing, lubricated by Timken grease.
Kelly Lynch
Vice President
Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society
http://www.fortwaynerailroad.org

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Re: Regarding the operation of the 765

Post by dbrackin7 » Thu Feb 14, 2013 1:15 pm

Do you have an idea when the rest of this years excursions will be announced?
8v71

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Re: Regarding the operation of the 765

Post by nathansixchime » Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:26 pm

Early to mid summer, if they are approved.
Kelly Lynch
Vice President
Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society
http://www.fortwaynerailroad.org

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Re: Regarding the operation of the 765

Post by joe22a994 » Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:22 am

Are those the ones in Pennsylvania? Why not here, or are the ones you are talking about here?

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Re: Regarding the operation of the 765

Post by nathansixchime » Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:35 am

joe22a994 wrote:Are those the ones in Pennsylvania? Why not here, or are the ones you are talking about here?
The ones in PA and Ohio are part of the spring excursion schedule. Once those are finished (end of May, early June) we expect to be able to announce our fall schedule. The trips in the fall would include Fort Wayne and a few other places nearby. We had to curtail our spring schedule some, so hoping the same doesn't happen to the fall. We're just waiting on the go-ahead.
Kelly Lynch
Vice President
Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society
http://www.fortwaynerailroad.org

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