On July 22, 2015 Nickel Plate Road 765 headed east to start off its round of excursions in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York for Norfolk Southern’s 21st Century Steam Program. In order to to get to Rockport Yard 765 took the old New York Central Water Level Route across Ohio between Toledo and Cleveland. I and my friend Joe waited for over an hour on the old auto bridge over the Sandusky Bay before we finally heard steam engine sounds which seemed to amplify over the water.
Earlier that day I had informed my hometown of Amherst of the 765’s impending arrival via Facebook and by the time the engine came through hundreds of people had lined the tracks to see it roll by. It seemed as though everyone had a great time train watching!
A little history on the Water Level Route. The line was originally built as the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern which was part of the Vanderbilt Railroad Empire. It then became part of the New York Central System which then merged with the Pennsylvania in the late 1970’s to become the catastrophe which was Penn Central. Conrail was formed to clean up the mess and then Conrail was split between Norfolk Southern (60%) and CSX (40%).
While the video camera was rolling I was able to take the photo above of the 765 passing by Cedar Point. If you are interested in purchasing prints of this photo it will be available shortly! Also I wonder how many roller coaster riders, if any, spotted the black smoke in the distance.