Nickel Plate Road No. 765 will go back to Ohio

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Nickel Plate Road No. 765 puts on a show at Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in 2018.
Trains: Jim Wrinn
PENINSULA, Ohio — The 2019 mainline steam picture just got a little brighter.

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad representatives said Monday they’ll happily host Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 again on excursions this fall for two long weekends, Sept. 20-22 and 27-29. Tickets will go on sale much earlier this year than last year when they were offered starting in July.

“We’re looking forward to having the engine back in the Valley and being able to provide such a magnificent excursion for railfans, families, and the greater community,” spokeswoman Katie Brewer says.

This is the sixth year in a row for No. 765 at the popular annual Steam in the Valley event that typically sees the famed Berkshire, which in 2019 is celebrating both its 75th birthday and its 40th year since restoration, pull two 2-hour trips each day through the scenic and historic Cuyahoga Valley National Park near Cleveland.

“Cuyahoga Valley's Steam in the Valley event is the perfect venue for passengers, our crew, and our locomotive,” says Kelly Lynch, vice president of the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, custodians of the Lima-built locomotive. “In addition, the ability to offer six miles of Throttle Time on board the 765 is critical to raising funds for the continued preservation and operation of the locomotive. We couldn't ask for better hosts or partners in the CVSR and National Park Service.” He also thanked Norfolk Southern and CSX for ferrying No. 765 between its base just outside Fort Wayne and Cleveland.

No. 765’s return to Cuyahoga Valley is welcomed news to mainline steam fans. Between Amtrak’s ban on special excursion trains and the implementation of Positive Train Control, mainline steam other than on Union Pacific will be scarce in 2019. Iowa Interstate plans to run one of its Chinese-built 2-10-2s in May and June. Cuyahoga Valley operates over its own tracks, a former Baltimore & Ohio route, that does not fall under PTC rules.

But Cuyahoga Valley might not be the only stop on No. 765’s calendar this year. Lynch added that the organization is researching old and new excursion venues for potential visits. One venue, however, that won’t be on the calendar this year is Chicago’s Metra commuter agency due to the PTC requirement. But that obstacle is only temporary: The locomotive and two others last week received grants from the John Emery Trust for PTC gear.

Meanwhile at Cuyahoga Valley, the railroad says it is posting its summer Dinner on the Train schedule after selling out every Friday through May. The trains utilize former California Zephyr dome cars that arrived at the preservation railroad last year. Details:

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