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The Life and Times of Nickel Plate Road No. 765

How a volunteer group brought back a big Berkshire
Published: November 19, 2010
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A Penn Central switcher provides a lift to Nickel Plate Road No. 765 during its removal from its display site in Fort Wayne, Ind. The date is Sept. 6, 1974.
Photo by Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society
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Nickel Plate Road No. 765 is pulled over temporary track across Fourth Street in Fort Wayne, Ind., on Sept. 6, 1974.
Photo by Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society
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A crowd forms to watch the big engine moved out of its display site of 11 years.
Photo by Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society
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It’s Sept. 6, 1974, and Nickel Plate Road No. 765, disguised as No. 767, is moved off the display track the engine occupied since 1963.
Photo by Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society
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Contractors and volunteers put down temporary track from No. 765’s display site to reach a city-owned siding, where No. 765 can be stored prior to restoration.
Photo by Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society
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A front-end loader tows No. 765 out of the engine’s display site on Sept. 6, 1974, when the locomotive was retrieved for restoration.
Photo by Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society
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With its restoration complete but its boiler jacket incomplete, Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 tests on Sept. 20, 1979.
Photo by Wayne York, Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society
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With its restoration complete but its boiler jacket incomplete, Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 tests on Sept. 20, 1979.
Photo by Wayne York, Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society
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With its restoration complete but its boiler jacket incomplete, Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 tests on Sept. 20, 1979.
Photo by Wayne York, Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society
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With its restoration complete but its boiler jacket incomplete, Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 tests on Sept. 20, 1979.
Photo by Wayne York, Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society
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With its restoration complete but its boiler jacket incomplete, Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 tests on Sept. 20, 1979.
Photo by Wayne York, Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society
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With its restoration complete but its boiler jacket incomplete, Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 tests on Sept. 20, 1979.
Photo by Wayne York, Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society
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Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society Berkshire No. 765 undergoes repairs at the Nickel Plate Road roundhouse in Bellevue, Ohio prior to the 1983 season.
Photo by Dan Lynch, Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society
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28 Nickel Plate Road No. 765 rests on the ready track at the former NKP roundhouse in Belleveue, Ohio, the morning of July 28, 1980. The engine was powering a fantrip to Muncie, Ind.
Photo by Robert A Michalka
Let’s look at how the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society got their icon locomotive, Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765, off its long-time display site in Fort Wayne, Ind. Then we’ll see rare shots of the locomotive’s first test runs in 1979, and then see it in former Nickel Plate territory in Bellevue, Ohio.

For the whole story, check out "Does It Make Business Sense?" in the January 2011 issue of Trains. Author John P. Hankey examines how a big Berkshire and a railroad that was almost abandoned brought back a tradition in northwest Indiana.
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