Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society

From RailroadfanWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Fwrhs-logo.png

The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society (FWRHS) is a non-profit group in New Haven, Indiana that is dedicated to the restoration and operation of the ex-Nickel Plate Railroad's steam locomotive no. 765 and other vintage railroad equipment. Since restoration, the 765 was added to the National Register of Historic Places as no. 96001010 on September 12, 1996 and has operated excursion trains across the Eastern United States. In 2012, the FWRHS's steam locomotive no. 765 was added to the Norfolk Southern's 21st Century Steam program.

Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society History

Excerpts from the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society Wikipedia page:

The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society was formed in 1972 and currently has over 400 members and over 70 volunteers. The group was formed with one purpose in mind: to restore an old steam locomotive to operational use and see it running down the tracks again. The history of the group actually begins before the FWRHS was formally conceived.

The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society's story began with a series of events that began long before anyone had the idea to form a preservation group. In the mid-1950s, diesel locomotives began replacing steam locomotives for mainline freight and passenger service due to the cheaper operating costs of the diesels. With many of its steam locomotives retired or otherwise not in service by 1958, the New York, Chicago, & St. Louis Railroad, also known as the Nickel Plate Road, classified many of its steam locomotives in non-operating "stored-serviceable" condition. In 1958, the 765 was fired up as a stationary steam generating boiler in the Nickel Plate Road's New Haven, IN shops. Following a few short years in this role, the railroad officially retired the locomotive in 1963 and offered it to the city of Fort Wayne, IN as a static monument.

The city was eager to accept the railroad's offer, however, they wanted to receive locomotive 767 rather than the 765. They wanted the alternative locomotive because in October 1955 the city, in conjunction with the railroad, built an elevated railroad line through the city to eliminate railroad grade crossings that tied up traffic between the North and South ends of town, and the 767 was used to pull the ceremonial train across the newly constructed bridge. Due to a grade crossing accident and being stored outdoors afterwards, the 767 was much more deteriorated than the 765, which had been stored indoors. The city accepted the 765 and had its numbers repainted to 767. The steam engine was then pushed into Fort Wayne's Lawton Park, where it remained as a monument and a reminder of steam for the next 12 years.

In September 1971, at a convention for the Nickel Plate Railroad Historical & Technical Society, a group of individuals decided they wanted to discuss the possibility of restoring the 765, the 767, and a Wabash Railroad locomotive (no.534) cosmetically. By November of the next year, four individuals, Wayne York, Glenn Brendel, Walter Sassmannshausen, and John Eichman drafted incorporation paperwork with Allen County and the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, INC. was born.

In 1973, the new group worked out a deal with the city of Fort Wayne to acquire the locomotive in Lawton Park under a 25-year lease. They then began looking at the locomotive on a more in-depth level and decided that the necessary repairs could not be done at the Lawton Park site. On September 6, 1974 the FWRHS built temporary tracks through the city to connect to the existing railroad tracks and they pulled the 765 from the park to the FWRHS property in New Haven. From 1975-1979, a group of unpaid volunteers completely rebuilt the 765 and in September 1979, the NKP 765 was fired and ran under its own steam for the first time for testing since 1963. Along with operating NKP 765, from 1994 to 2001, the facilities also housed another Berkshire locomotive, the Chesapeake and Ohio 2716 and operated it in 1996 on short excursions.

Since 2012, the FWRHS has worked alongside the Norfolk Southern Railroad as a part of the 21st Century Steam Program. In this program, the 765, along with other historic steam locomotives in the Eastern United States, operate excursion trains for tourists and company employees & VIP's over the railroad's trackage. As well as being a part of the 21st Century Steam Program, the FWRHS is working with the city of Fort Wayne to develop a downtown riverfront property that will house the NKP 765 and the FWRHS as well as being a centerpiece for walking & biking trails and a park. The project, known as Headwaters Junction, is still in the planning phase, but if approved could boost the popularity and recognition of the FWRHS by making it a prominent attraction in the city.

Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society Steam Locomotives

Number Model Year(s) Built Notes
NKP 765 2-8-4 1944 Operational. Main locomotive.
WAB 534 0-6-0 1906 Undergoing a cosmetic restoration. Displayed in Fort Wayne's Swinney Park until 1986.
NKP 624 2-8-2 1922 Currently stored near Wabash, Indiana. Previously on display in Hammond, Indiana.

Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society Diesel Locomotives

Number Model Year(s) Built Notes
NKP 358 SD9 1957 Under restoration to operation. Ex-NS 57/NS 2958/NW 2958/NW 2358/NKP 358.
FWHS 1231 44 Tonner 1953 Operational. Main diesel locomotive. Ex-USAX 1231.
USN 65-00144 50 Tonner 1942 Operational. Secondary diesel locomotive. Purchased from a private collector in Delaware, Ohio. Ex-MCQ 25/CS 25/USN 65-00144.

Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society Passenger Cars

Number Model Year(s) Built Notes
RPCX 194 Diner 1948 Purchased in 2019. Ex-AMTK 8551/CBQ 194.
RPCX 701 Tool Car 1953 In active service. Travels with #765. Ex-USAX.
RPCX 704 Coach 1953 Stored derelict. Used on the Tennessee Bicentennial Train. Ex-PPCX 1614/AMTK 1614/USAX 89552.
FWRH 720 Baggage Car 1958 Stored. Ex-NP.
NKP 831 RPO 1914 Stored. Ex-WLE.
PPCX 1610 Coach 1952 Stored, covered with a tarp. Ex-AMTK 1610/USAX 89516.
RPCX 3669 Baggage Car 1955 Purchased in 2019. Ex-AMTK 1261/ATSF 3669.
RPCX 3671 Baggage Car 1955 Purchased in 2019. Ex-AMTK 1265/ATSF 3671.
RPCX 3679 Baggage Car 1955 Purchased in 2019. Ex-AMTK 1252/ATSF 3679.
CNW 8200 RPO-Baggage Car 1950 Stored derelict. Owned by FWRHS?
CNW 8201 RPO-Baggage Car 1950 Stored derelict. Owned by FWRHS?
PPCX 16505 Coach 1953 Stored, covered with a tarp. Ex-AMTK 1424/USAX 89554.

Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society Freight Cars

Number Model Year(s) Built Notes
WAB 127 Flatcar 19?? Display.
HFPX 193 Refrigerated Boxcar 19?? Stored.
URTX 37314 Refrigerated Boxcar 19?? Used for storage.
URTX 38650 Refrigerated Boxcar 19?? Used for storage.
URTX 38727 Refrigerated Boxcar 19?? Used for storage.
NKP 83074 Boxcar 1902 Stored pending restoration. Ex-WLE 43074.
NW ????? Boxcar 19?? Stored.

Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society Cabooses

Number Model Year(s) Built Notes
NKP 141 Caboose 190? In active service. Used in excursion service. Built as LEW 141.
NKP 451 Caboose 1962 In active service. Used in excursion service.
WAB 2543 Caboose 190? Under restoration.

Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society Miscellaneous Equipment

Number Model Year(s) Built Notes
RPCX 767 Water Tender 1949 In active service. Travels with #765. From an L&N M-1 1900-series Lima Berkshire.
TCSZ 210109 Roadrailer 19?? Used for storage.
NW 540019 Crane 1922 Display. Occasionally used. Ex-VGN.
NW 590000 Snowplow 1978 Display.


Back to Indiana Shortlines

Back to Shortlines