INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2022 by welcoming back Steam in the Valley for the railroad’s first major event of the year.
This is the first time CVSR has hosted Steam in the Valley in May. The event is typically held in September.
Passengers will have the opportunity to witness what it takes to run a historical steam locomotive as the Nickel Plate Road 765 will be on-site and providing guests with photo opportunities and excursions throughout the national park.
CVSR partnered with Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society (FWRHS) to bring the historic Nickel Plate Road Steam Locomotive No. 765 to the Valley for the event.
“This is the culmination of about 150 years of steam locomotive development,” said Chuck Young, locomotive fireman on Nickel Plate 765. “There are about 175 steam locomotives in operable condition in the United States.”
2022 marks the 50th anniversaries of CVSR and FWRHS. The two organizations have been collaborating for a decade to bring the exciting sights and sounds of historic steam railroading to the Cuyahoga Valley.
“They make a lot of noise. They’re really big. There’s just nothing like a big living breathing steam locomotive,” Young said.
Guests will have the opportunity to witness what it takes to run a historical steam locomotive and have a chance to climb aboard the 14-wheeled, 404-ton time machine to get an exclusive look into the locomotive’s cab and inner workings.
“It’s a big, massive piece of equipment. But it takes a deft touch to keep it hot, keep it operating,” Young said.
Young has been following steam locomotives since he was about 14 years old when he first saw the raw power of the giant steam engines.
“I had never been on a train. In my hometown, it came into town. It was a big locomotive like this. I fell in love,” Young said. “I listened all day. I stood in an open door, and I listened to that locomotive pound up the Kanawha River up the New River Gorge. I was hooked.”
For two weeks, Nickel Plate 765 will crisscross the national park after departing from Rockside Station on Friday, May 13, Saturday, May 14 and 21, and on Sunday, May 15 and 22.
Built in 1944, No. 765 was one of 80 locomotives built for the Nickel Plate Railroad. There are only six of these locomotives in existence and 765 is the only one currently in operation.
“We call it our magnificent machine,” Young said. “There’s none of your senses that it doesn’t stimulate.”
The locomotive runs on 22 tons of coal and 48,000 gallons of water. Engineers say it burns about one ton of coal and 1,000 gallons of water every ten miles it travels.
No. 765 only operates a few days out of the year, so this is a rare look at the high-stepping, fourteen-wheeled, time machine.
“You come out and experience the magnificent machine when it’s moving, the whistle is blowing, it’s pulling a load and making noise. It’s quite an experience,” Young said.
Click here for more info on the event.
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