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MAY 2009

NKP 765 Summer 2009 Schedule The “Twentieth Century”'s “Hickory Creek” First Coast Railroad

Memphis Chapter Officers President – David Chase

Vice President – Bruce Smedley National Director – Bill Strong

Secretary – Oliver Doughtie

Treasurer – Thomas Doherty

Librarian – Mike Pendergrass Publication Editor – Tom Parker

Last Month’s Meeting The April meeting was called to order by David Johnston in the absence of any club officers. David's slide show presentation experienced technical difficulties an was was postponed until the May meeting. Instead the floor was opened up to general discussion and turned out to be a most interesting meeting. Inquiry was made about the Illinois Central Historical Society's Annual Meeting. It will be held at Freeport, IL ,August 28-30, information at BNSF's new intermoadal facility, train wrecks, dispatching and train orders, Cordova Branch of the CSXT, shooting snakes, stored rail cars, Issac Tigrett and the GM&O, operations on the NC&StL and L&N and ferries across the Mississippi River were some of the subjects discussed.

This Month's Meeting May's program will be a slide show by David Johnston of his visit to Southern Appalachia Railroad Museum (SARM) at Oak Ridge, TN last August. (Railfan weekend). This is the same program that was scheduled for the April meeting BUFF ONLINE: User Name:Member Password: Buff (Capital “M” & “B”)

Cover Photo: NKP 2-8-4 765 at Peoria, Illinois, May 2, 1980. Photo by Robert E. Pence and used with permission. Check out more of his photos at

NKP 765 Summer 2009 Schedule Join the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society for steam-powered passenger excursions in North Judson, Indiana at the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum and in Owosso, Michigan as part of Train Festival 2009. These excursions mark a significant milestone in NKP 765's history. After a sixteen year absence from the mainline the locomotive, fully restored after a five year rebuild that ended in 2005, will reprise her role as passenger excursion train motive power and goodwill ambassador. Beginning Memorial Day Weekend, NKP 765, 2-8-4 (Lima 8673 / 1944), will operate on the former Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad as a guest of the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum, culminating over a year's worth of planning and preparation that will see two recipients of Indiana's Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century combine forces for the enjoyment of the public. These trips will operate on a historic rail line that was preserved by a $1.5 million dollar Transportation Enhancement grant in 2004. Awarded by the state of Indiana to the Town of North Judson, the grant was in-

stated to preserve the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum and promote economic development in the area. One of only a handful of historic operating steam locomotives in existence today, Nickel Plate Road 765 has operated over 52,000 miles in passenger excursion service since being originally rehabilitated in 1979 after being retired and put on public display in 1963. In 2001, the project to completely rebuild the locomotive was awarded $449,500 by a TEA-21 grant which covered nearly 80% of the total restoration costs. Following a series of test runs in 2006, No. 765 has returned to operation for public exhibition and excursions as part of the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society's mission to preserve and make railroad history. 2-hour long round trips will operate three times daily May 23rd-May 25th at 10AM, 1PM, and 4PM Central Standard (Daylight Savings) Time between North Judson and LaCrosse, Indiana. On June 20th and 21st, No. 765 will pull the Mint Festival Flyer during North Judson's Annual Mint Festival between North Judson and

LaCrosse, Indiana. Trains depart daily at 10AM, 1PM, and 4PM Central Standard (Daylight Savings). All trips departing North Judson will feature special photo runs for passengers to enjoy the sights and sounds of the historic steam era. Tickets for these trips are on sale now at and 260-493-3885. After April 13th, tickets may also be purchased on Saturdays from 9AM-3PM local time at the North Judson railroad depot 507 Mulberry Street, North Judson, Indiana 46366 or on Saturdays from 1PM to 3PM local time at the Train Town Museum, 15808 Edgerton Road, New Haven, Indiana. In July, NKP 765 will travel to Owosso, Michigan to star in the nation's largest railroading event of the year as it and seven other historic steam locomotives operate in public exhibition and recreational passenger service. NKP 765 will be on live-steam static display July 24th and 25th and operate a day-long passenger excursion on July 26th. Kelly Lynch Communications Manager Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society

The “Twentieth Century”'s “Hickory Creek” By Tom Parker

The "Hickory Creek " on display in Hoboken, N.J. in 2002

World War II had strained American railroads capacity to the limit. Practically no new equipment was added to the rosters and capacity on passenger trains was increased by restrictions on Pullman cars and elimination of many lounge cars. After the war , the railroads found most of their locomotives and rolling stock worn out and in need of replacement. Despite declines in both freight and passenger traffic before the war, railroads remained upbeat about their future. Massive orders for new equipment were placed by almost all the Class I railroads. Among these was the New York Central, who ordered over 700 passengers cars to re-equip the “Twentieth Century Limited” and the rest of the “Steel Fleet” The two train sets for the “Twentieth Century Limited” which were designed by Raymond Lowey, included a pair

The "Hickory Creek" is christened on September 15, 1948, at Grand Central Station by then General Dwight David Eisenhower and actress Beatrice Lillie

of unique observation lounge cars to “bring up the markers”. Named “Hickory Creek” and “Sandy Creek“, the two cars contained 5 double bedrooms as well as buffet, lounge and observation areas. What made the cars unique was a raised floor and oversized windows in the observation area. Both cars remained in service until the “Twentieth Century Limited” made its last run from New York on December 2, 1967, the train limping into Chicago's LaSalle Street Sta-

tion the next day over nine hours late, having been detoured over the NKP because of a derailment near Conneaut, Ohio. Both cars were sold to Ringling Brothers and Barnun and Bailey Circus. After a brief time in service with the circus, the “Sandy Creek” was sold and passed through a number of owners, eventually ending up renamed “New York” under the ownership of the now bankrupt Grand Luxe Rail Tours.

"Sandy Creek" in Grand Luxe colors. renamed "New York"

After years of service, the “Hickory Creek” was put into storage at the circus' rail facility in Venice, FL. “Hickory Creek” was acquired by the United Railroad Historical Society of New Jersey in 1991 and moved to New Jersey for ultimate restoration to its former glory. Vandalism and the weather had taken its toll and the body suffered heavy damage. Until the car arrived in New Jersey, the only inspection of the car had been from photos. Actual examination upon its arrival in new Jersey revealed the extent of work that would be necessary. Stationary steps had replaced the original folding vestibule steps. The original interior interior was completely gone, replaced with rooms constructed of wood framing and paneling. The large window openings compromised the strength of the car sides and that and water penetrating through the openings caused the car sides

"Hickory Creek" at Ringoes, N.J. in 1997. NYC stripes are still viable around the rear of the car. Photo copyright Jeff Lubchansky and used with permission ( )

to bow. Had it not been for the car's historical significance, it would probably been scrapped. Restoration proceeded slowly until 1997, when a grant was secured from the State of New Jersey under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Act. Structural restoration included replacement of the side sills. Stronger window openings were designed and installed. The buffer wings which form one side of the stair wells required replacement. Numerous other structural components requiring replacement included crash posts, corner posts and numerous floor supports. Extensive body work was also required. Sheet metal was re-

moved to replace the side sills and had to be replaced. Virtually all the sheet metal below the rear oversized windows was replaced. Some of the side windows and the service door had been covered over by the circus and had to be reopened. New dutch doors were installed in the vestibule. After hundreds of gallons of body filler and hours of sanding, the body was ready for painting. In addition to the primer, four different colors of paint were required to finish the exterior. First the black paint was applied for the pinstripe, then silver paint to create the lettering and stripes. Next the light gray was applied and finally the dark gray.

ival. In April, 2003, it was displayed at the APTA Convention in Atlantic City. After being displayed at Atlantic City, the “Hickory Creek” returned for more work that was required before being accepted by Amtrak for mainline operation. The car was equipped for head end power and the trucks were removed to be refurbished to meet Amtrak standards.

"Hickory Creek" with new paint job sits in Hoboken MU shop as new windows are being installed. Photo from For a full descriptionnn of the renovation visit

The restored “Hickory Creek'” made its inaugural run on Sunday June 26, 2005. Railroad Passenger Services of New Jersey had scheduled a

So far the restoration work had been done at New Jersey Transit's MU Shop in Hoboken. Transit officials had notified the UHRS of NJ that the shop was to be razed to make room for a new railroad yard, so after painting , the “Hickory Creek” was moved to a new shop that was set up at Lebanon, N.J., where interior work was completed. Interior amenities included a new all stainless steel kitchen equipped with a Viking convection oven and Sub Zero refrigerator, stainless steel shower enclosures, and a waste storage/processing tank. Work was nearing completion and in September 2002 was put on display at New Jersey Transit's Hoboken Rail Fest-

“I Couldn't resist taking this photo and thinking about those who might looked out these windows in times past. . Lebanon, N.J. Dec 30 2001. Verry Cold!” Photo copyright Jeff Lubchansky and used with permission.

“Niagara Weekender' excursion , but the business car they had intended to use, NYC 3, had been booked for trip to Portland, OR. The sponsor asked if the “Hickory Creek” could be used instead. At the time, the trucks were still being rebuilt. Work was completed and Amtrak approval was obtained on June 20th. “Hickory Creek” was moved to Penn Station and when it made that initial run on Amtrak's “Empire Service” train # 287 at 9:45 AM on June 26, 2005, it joined the fleet of privately owned passenger cars that regularly travel around the country. Recently, the Hickory Creek was spotted on Amtrak #43, the “Pennsylvanian” at Harrisburg, PA. Who knows, maybe before too long, we might be able to catch a glimpse of this piece of history on the rear of the “City of New Orleans” as it makes its brief stop in Memphis .

First Coast Railroad By Tom Doherty

In January 1856, David Yulee

received a charter for the Florida Railroad Company. This railroad would connect the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida. As with many such ventures there were many false starts and money problems to slow the progress of this new means of transportation. The railroad was completed in March of 1861 connecting Fernandina Beach on the Atlantic coast with Cedar Key on the Gulf coast across the northern part of the Florida peninsular. The first railroad to achieve this cross state, coast to coast routing. This railroad was eventually absorbed into the Seaboard Air Line system. In this area the old Seaboard mainline was downgraded to secondary status in flavor of the Atlantic Coast main line after these two railroads merged. This system eventually became part of CSX Transportation. In 2005 the trackage from Fernandina Beach to Yulee (West) and Yulee to Searls, GA (North) was sold to a newly formed Genesee &

Wyoming subsidiary, First Coast Railroad. Total trackage is 32 miles and the railroad is headquartered in Fernandina Beach. Its reporting marks are FCRD. Most short lines use names involving the cities served; so what does First Coast stand for? The term First Coast is a marketing tool that covers the northeast Florida coast area from about St Augustine northward. The railroad has a small yard in Fernandina Beach plus a few online shippers. In addition the Fernandina Beach area also has a commercial seaport with warehousing facilities that also generates car loads. The motive power seems to be two first generation Geeps and an ALCO switcher. The Fernandina Beach area does have a fair amount of switching which can easily be observed. The dock area is considered in the yard area for operating rules. The Fernandina Beach area is also a tourist area. While not pure street running the yard to dock area comes pretty

Watching and chasing trains on the FCRD is pretty easy. As already stated the yard and dock activities are located by the Historic Downtown district. There isn’t any fencing and public streets are on both sides of most of this trackage. The line to Yulee runs parallel to SR-200 and there is a county road that leads to the Amelia River near the swing bridge. The bad news is most of the runs to and from Yulee are at night. The line north to Searls, GA runs parallel to US-17 with many pull off areas that gave easy viewing of the trains. With that said you’ll see the most activity in Fernandina Beach. If you’re lucky enough to get a west end room at the Hampton Inn you can sit by your window and watch both the boats and Fernandina Beach Yard

close to it. The two track line from the yard into the dock runs on the west side of town between the downtown area and Front Street. There are several movements a day through this area mingling with cars and people. It's easy to sit by the waterfront and watch the trains go by and turn around and watch the boats. The First Coast exchanges cars with CSX at Yulee, FL to the west. On its route there it will cross the Amelia River (part of the intercoastal waterway) using a swing bridge. The bridge remains open until a train is ready to cross. The FCRD has requested government funding to rebuild the pilings of this bridge. It estimates if the bridge should fail it would add 55000 trucks to the Amelia Island area to make up for what the RR carries.

Old Fernandina Beach Passenger Depot

trains. I made several trips through Yulee and I only saw the Geeps there once

With all the public land available, and the easy viewing, you won’t have to worry about venturing onto RR property. Down by the Railroads office you can sit in your car to watch There isn’t any passenger service, either sched- and take pictures of the trains in the yard. uled or tourist line, to Fernandina Beach any- The train crews seem family to tourist/rail fans and will usually wave as they go by. The nice more. The Fernandina Beach Station is now part of rail fanning at Fernandina Beach is used as the Chamber of Commerce office and there is plenty to do for the non-rail fan in the is located adjacent to the tracks at Front and family. Centre Streets.

Street Running from the Dock to Yard

Geeps at the Company Headquarters

A tight fit

Dock Area Warehouse

Open Swing Bridge Amelia River

Track area between Historic District and Front St.


Passengers for the 20th Century Limited walked to and from the train on a plush, crimson carpet which was rolled out in New York and Chicago and was specially designed for the 20th Century Limited: thus, the "Red Carpet Treatment" was born. Photo of “Hickory Creek� from Rail & Cruise Center Web Site , location and date not shown. Meeting Schedule May 11, 2009 June 8, 2009 July 13, 2009 August 10, 2009 September 14, 2009 Meetings are the 2nd Monday of each month in the White Station Branch Library from 7-9 pm. 5094 Poplar Avenue Memphis, TN (in front of Clark Tower)

Contact the Editor Tom Parker 3012 Wood Thrush Drive Memphis, TN 38134

THE MEMPHIS BUFF welcomes contributions for publication. Copyrighted materials must contain the source. Original documents and photos are preferred for clarity. Enclose a SASE for the return of your materials. Articles sent via the Internet should be in Microsoft Word format. Photos should be JPEG files @ 72 dpi and at least 800x600 size. Consideration for a cover photo would require a much higher resolution. THE MEMPHIS BUFF is a not-for-profit publication for the Memphis Chapter of the NRHS. All credited photos herein are copyright by the photographer and may not be reused without permission.

May 2009 Memphis Buff  

NKP 765 Summer 2009 Schedule NKP 765 Summer 2009 Schedule First Coast Railroad First Coast Railroad The “Twentieth Century”'s “Hickory Creek...

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