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Steam & Excursion > Another Audio Track: 765 At Horseshoe Curve


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Date: 02/28/21 09:08
Another Audio Track: 765 At Horseshoe Curve
Author: MaryMcPherson

This track was recorded on Memorial Day, 2013, as Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 #765 made her third and final Lewistown-Gallitzin round trip.

We called Altoona our headquaters for this series of trips, leaving the hotel in the pre-dawn hours to get trackside on the first two days.  On this third and final day, we did not go for the chase as we already had plenty of footage in the can.  Instead, we went straight to Horseshoe Curve.  All four of us were there, setting up a total of about ten video cameras around the park inside the curve.  Almost as an afterthough, I made a second trip back to the truck and grabbed the sound gear.

This recording didn't involve a fancy setup.  I just set the Shure PG-81 mikes on a pair of desktop stands on a park bench.  Estimating when the train might be getting close, I set the recorder going and just let it run.  I figured it was better to get a lot of lead time and not have to worry about it as I worked the several cameras I was tending.  As it turned out, there was around a half-hour of lead time before the whistle was first heard in the distance.

Which brings us to what is heard here.  The sounds of birds and the crowd are heard as the recording opens.  Quickly, we hear the first signs of the approaching excursion as #765's whistle sounds in the distance.  As the train approaches, the crowd goes silent as all attention goes to the approaching train.

As the train fades into the distance and the track begins to fade out, a kid nearby exclaims "That was AWESOME!"

'Nuff said.

Mary McPherson
Dongola, IL
Diverging Clear Productions

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Date: 02/28/21 15:53
Re: Another Audio Track: 765 At Horseshoe Curve
Author: mdogg

MaryMcPherson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> This track was recorded on Memorial Day, 2013, as
> Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 #765 made her third and
> final Lewistown-Gallitzin round trip.
>
> We called Altoona our headquaters for this series
> of trips, leaving the hotel in the pre-dawn hours
> to get trackside on the first two days.  On this
> third and final day, we did not go for the chase
> as we already had plenty of footage in the can. 
> Instead, we went straight to Horseshoe Curve. 
> All four of us were there, setting up a total of
> about ten video cameras around the park inside the
> curve.  Almost as an afterthough, I made a second
> trip back to the truck and grabbed the sound
> gear.
>
> This recording didn't involve a fancy setup.  I
> just set the Shure PG-81 mikes on a pair of
> desktop stands on a park bench.  Estimating when
> the train might be getting close, I set the
> recorder going and just let it run.  I figured it
> was better to get a lot of lead time and not have
> to worry about it as I worked the several cameras
> I was tending.  As it turned out, there was
> around a half-hour of lead time before the whistle
> was first heard in the distance.
>
> Which brings us to what is heard here.  The
> sounds of birds and the crowd are heard as the
> recording opens.  Quickly, we hear the first
> signs of the approaching excursion as #765's
> whistle sounds in the distance.  As the train
> approaches, the crowd goes silent as all attention
> goes to the approaching train.
>
> As the train fades into the distance and the track
> begins to fade out, a kid nearby exclaims "That
> was AWESOME!"
>
> 'Nuff said.

100% agree. Beautiful music.

Posted from Android



Date: 02/28/21 17:19
Re: Another Audio Track: 765 At Horseshoe Curve
Author: co614

Mary, In your travels have you come across any recordings of when we ran the 759 from Harrisburg up and around Horseshoe Curve in 1970 on two consectutive days ??

   IIRC we hauled a 16 car train with no diesels in the consist and made a steady 12-13 mph up the mountain to Galitzin unassisted. From the speed of this recording either they had a smaller train or the two diesels were doing some of the work. 

     Thanks, Ross Rowland 



Date: 03/01/21 07:53
Re: Another Audio Track: 765 At Horseshoe Curve
Author: MaryMcPherson

co614 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Mary, In your travels have you come across any
> recordings of when we ran the 759 from Harrisburg
> up and around Horseshoe Curve in 1970 on two
> consectutive days ??
>
>    IIRC we hauled a 16 car train with no diesels
> in the consist and made a steady 12-13 mph up the
> mountain to Galitzin unassisted. From the speed of
> this recording either they had a smaller train or
> the two diesels were doing some of the work. 
>
>      Thanks, Ross Rowland 

At least three outfits were there for 759 including Semaphore Records and Pilot To Tender Records.  A third one escapes me, and it's no loss as the 33 1/3 record they put out kind of sucks (levels all over the place and sound overloading).

In the case here, 765 had a train of 20 to 22 cars.  The two GE diesels behind the water canteen were definitely helping out climbing the mountain, and I think they may well have added their muscle at other points to help 765 stretch her fuel reserves.

Mary McPherson
Dongola, IL
Diverging Clear Productions



Date: 03/01/21 08:49
Re: Another Audio Track: 765 At Horseshoe Curve
Author: Steamman1976

Nice recording



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/01/21 08:50 by Steamman1976.



Date: 03/01/21 17:39
Re: Another Audio Track: 765 At Horseshoe Curve
Author: co614

Thanks Mary. Yes, with a 20-22 ar train she could not have taken them up that grade alone. We just made it ( down at times to 10-11mph with everything we had) and with even one more car we'd have probably stalled??  Luckily both days were rain free so we had dry rail and we made sure that we had a full sand dome and all sanders working perfectly. 

  Wes Camp fired both trips and kept her on the feather the whole way. 

    Great memories. Thanks, Ross Rowland 

   



Date: 03/01/21 17:55
Re: Another Audio Track: 765 At Horseshoe Curve
Author: wcamp1472

3 safeties roaring, ain't no 'feather'*. !!! 🗯🗯🗯

The reason for the 3 safeties open was to remove all doubt, 
at the time and for the future,  regardiing WHAT the 759's
putative boiler pressure might be!  

Better have all the sanders fully working...

Wes Camp

(The 'feather' discripter refers to that point where the safety
valve barely opens, releasing a little steam ...before the 'reaction-ring'
lifts the spring-loaded plug off it's seat and wide opens..!
Safety Settings: 246, 252, 258 PSI).

 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/01/21 18:08 by wcamp1472.



Date: 03/01/21 19:00
Re: Another Audio Track: 765 At Horseshoe Curve
Author: junctiontower

MaryMcPherson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> co614 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Mary, In your travels have you come across any
> > recordings of when we ran the 759 from
> Harrisburg
> > up and around Horseshoe Curve in 1970 on two
> > consectutive days ??
> >
> >    IIRC we hauled a 16 car train with no
> diesels
> > in the consist and made a steady 12-13 mph up
> the
> > mountain to Galitzin unassisted. From the speed
> of
> > this recording either they had a smaller train
> or
> > the two diesels were doing some of the work. 
> >
> >      Thanks, Ross Rowland 
>
> At least three outfits were there for 759
> including Semaphore Records and Pilot To Tender
> Records.  A third one escapes me, and it's no
> loss as the 33 1/3 record they put out kind of
> sucks (levels all over the place and sound
> overloading).
>
> In the case here, 765 had a train of 20 to 22
> cars.  The two GE diesels behind the water
> canteen were definitely helping out climbing the
> mountain, and I think they may well have added
> their muscle at other points to help 765 stretch
> her fuel reserves.

If I recall correctly, one of the primary reasons the diesels were doing some of the work over the course of the runs was simply to reduce the amount of time the excursions were tying up the line.  With Norfolk Southern's policy of putting everything in the hole when an excusrion passes, things can start to jam up in a hurry.  Once again, if I recall correctly, on the trip that Wick Moorman rode in the cab, I believe Rich dialed back the diesels at the curve itself and let the big Berk eat. That may have happened at other times too.



Date: 03/02/21 10:13
Re: Another Audio Track: 765 At Horseshoe Curve
Author: co614

You're probably right but for me if you're gonna run mainline steam...then run mainline steam. Having diesels in the consist ( even if they're dead) ruins the whole meal. 

    If I've been told correctly, the mainline excursions on NS were run under the Amtrak banner ( to enjoy the Amtrak liability insurance coverage) and Amtrak insisted on diesel(s) to ensure against road failure AND to provide HEP for the consist. 

     I would insist on having a dedicated HEP car ( as we did on the NJTransit 614 trips) and size my train to the steam engines capability to handle it at track speed unassisted. 

      Guess I'm too spoiled to be satisfied with kissing my sister.

     Ross Rowland 



Date: 03/02/21 11:03
Re: Another Audio Track: 765 At Horseshoe Curve
Author: MaryMcPherson

N.S. had its own insurance for the 21st Century Steam program.  The 2017 Roanoke trips were the last that were run before the insurance lapsed and was not renewed.  If I recall correctly, the insurance expired at the end of June that year.  Otherwise, there would have been no public trips after 2016.

Diesels were not a blanket requirement for all trips under the 21st Century Steam banner; they were in place for reasons to do with specific engines and specific trips.  I personally shot 630, 4501, 765 and 611 all running without diesels in the consist.

Mary McPherson
Dongola, IL
Diverging Clear Productions



Date: 03/02/21 12:25
Re: Another Audio Track: 765 At Horseshoe Curve
Author: wcamp1472

The "supplemental diesel"  thing ( for large-sized, modern steamers) has more to do with 
timidity, than with steam loco capacities, or reliability.  ( Ross well remembers when
bitter cold solidified all the CSX's diesel fuel & engines,  and the 614 was performing Winter
trials on CSX rails...the only train running during that cold snap, was 614's loaded coal train--
thundering through the snow!  
Now that's RELIABILITY,  for ya!)*

But, in today's world of electronic train-safety controls and collision avoidance spacing.
 future Mainline Steamers  will have to be equipped with compliant train control
electonics.  [ one of the causes of today's "enhanced train safety" was a commuter train 
collision involving an engineer using his cell phone while running the train, missed 
the RED signals --- had a head-on;  Congress  got involved, now we got THIS...
On a steamer, you're too busy to play with cell phones while running !!! )

The biggest 'physical advantage' steamers have is:  lots of room to carry
required 'sanitary', cooled, electronics enclosures and easy mounting locations.  
The available space for the equipment is the greatest advantage.

I'd be interested in understanding 'hardening' the cab-mounted displays and
required operator-input devices.
How would cab-mounted, operator controls be mounted & configured,
when applied to steam loco cabs?

According to daily posts regarding freight RRs on T/O, road-failures involving today's dismals
are common enough, and failed DPUs present special delays and complex work-arounds.  
Managements accept those failures as daily hazards of railroading.  

Steamers are 'attractive nuisances' , thus are frowned upon by scared RR officers...that's been
common for years ...  But it's complicated in today's world of "decision-level, RR managers"
too young to remember "dash-2" EMDs, let alone ever having seen an operational
4-8-4, 4,500 hp, Northern!
( it is TRUE, however, that 'liability suits & fears" present a very REAL concerns ).

Ross could put together a fully capable, steamer or two, & maybe several, equipped  with
current required electronics,  that could romp easily around the country---
if the "politics of timidity" can be resolved, or overcome.  

And yes, generator-equipped power cars are needed as part of the excursion
consist....open-window coaches probably are forever restricted to private,
casual, museum related operations.
 
W.

(* Note to RR:  Be sure to have adequate insulation & oil tank heaters applied on
any tenders converted to burn oil --- of any viscosity..)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/02/21 13:40 by wcamp1472.



Date: 03/02/21 14:42
Re: Another Audio Track: 765 At Horseshoe Curve
Author: Goalieman

Thanks again Mary!! As I “get up to speed” on TO, having worked the last 14 days straight, I found your audio post of NKP 765 traversing “The Curve”. What a sound!!! Having also heard today’s (03/02) post of Southern 630, I was going to ask if a post of NKP 765 might be in the works. But, low and behold you already read my mind.

Mark V.
“The Fort” in Indiana

Posted from iPhone



Date: 03/02/21 15:22
Re: Another Audio Track: 765 At Horseshoe Curve
Author: Goalieman

co614 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> You're probably right but for me if you're gonna
> run mainline steam...then run mainline steam.
> Having diesels in the consist ( even if they're
> dead) ruins the whole meal. 
>
>     If I've been told correctly, the mainline
> excursions on NS were run under the Amtrak banner
> ( to enjoy the Amtrak liability insurance
> coverage) and Amtrak insisted on diesel(s) to
> ensure against road failure AND to provide HEP for
> the consist. 
>
>      I would insist on having a dedicated HEP
> car ( as we did on the NJTransit 614 trips) and
> size my train to the steam engines capability to
> handle it at track speed unassisted. 
>
>       Guess I'm too spoiled to be satisfied
> with kissing my sister.
>
>      Ross Rowland 

With all due respect, I think the “kissing your sister” comment is a little harsh.

First of all, to compare any railroads willingness to allow an NKP Berk on arguably one of the toughest stretches of railroad in the United States, unassisted in 2013 as compared to 1970 is night and day.

Secondly, in 2013 the 765 pulled a 20 car train over “The Curve” unassisted at 11 mph. While I’m not sure if the two idled GE’s are included in the 20 car count, if they are, they’re certainly heavier than a loaded passenger car.

Lastly, the FWRHS is in it for the long haul. The 765 is their crown jewel. Running her is more about educating the general public than participating in an arm wrestling match. How many adverse mechanical effects did NKP 759 suffer from those trips over “The Curve” in 1970? I’d be curious to know. It couldn’t have been pretty.

Respectfully,
Mark V.
“The Fort” in Indiana

Posted from iPhone



Date: 03/02/21 17:09
Re: Another Audio Track: 765 At Horseshoe Curve
Author: co614

To Mark V, you're certainly entitled to your opinion. Not harsh IMHO. I HIGHLY doubt that 765 took 20 cars plus 2 diesels from Alton to Gallitzin unassisted. Never happened. 

   The 759 did not suffer any mechanical failures on account of its two Horseshoe Curve unassisted trips. Matter of fact she went on to power another 6 excusrsions later that year at other locations ( all without diesels in the consist). 

   I think the FW group deserves great thanks for what they've done to keep the 765 alive and well and I applaud their efforts. Again, I'm just too spoiled to find kissing my sister enough. 

    Ross Rowland 



Date: 03/02/21 17:31
Re: Another Audio Track: 765 At Horseshoe Curve
Author: Steamman1976

co614 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> To Mark V, you're certainly entitled to your
> opinion. Not harsh IMHO. I HIGHLY doubt that 765
> took 20 cars plus 2 diesels from Alton to
> Gallitzin unassisted. Never happened. 

The 2 diesel locomotives where on the train to help maintain the schedule. I know for a fact that when Wick took the 765 around Horse Shoe Curve, the diesels where in idle and 765 pulled the train around the curve unassisted. It DID HAPPEN!!
>
>    The 759 did not suffer any mechanical
> failures on account of its two Horseshoe Curve
> unassisted trips. Matter of fact she went on to
> power another 6 excusrsions later that year at
> other locations ( all without diesels in the
> consist). 
>
>    I think the FW group deserves great thanks
> for what they've done to keep the 765 alive and
> well and I applaud their efforts. Again, I'm just
> too spoiled to find kissing my sister enough. 

Maybe that's why 614 is sitting and the 765 is still running. If you want to run mainline steam you do what the host railroad requires.

Posted from Android



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 03/02/21 17:37 by Steamman1976.



Date: 03/02/21 17:39
Re: Another Audio Track: 765 At Horseshoe Curve
Author: co614

Perhaps through the apex of the curve past the crowd, but there's ZERO chance that the 765 took 20 cars and two idleing diesels from Altoona to Gallitzin without the diesels helping a great deal over most of that distance. Trust me, I know the railroad and I know the NKP Berks and there's no way that happened. Physically impossible.

   Thanks, Ross Rowland 

    



Date: 03/02/21 17:51
Re: Another Audio Track: 765 At Horseshoe Curve
Author: Steamman1976

co614 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Perhaps through the apex of the curve past the
> crowd, but there's ZERO chance that the 765 took
> 20 cars and two idleing diesels from Altoona to
> Gallitzin without the diesels helping a great deal
> over most of that distance. Trust me, I know the
> railroad and I know the NKP Berks and there's no
> way that happened. Physically impossible.
>
>    Thanks, Ross Rowland 

I think you better reread my post, I never said 765 did the whole trip unassisted and if I remember right the 20 cars included the diesels.
>     

Posted from Android



Date: 03/02/21 18:03
Re: Another Audio Track: 765 At Horseshoe Curve
Author: wcamp1472

I was Mechanical Officer responsible for the 759, at that time.The only “mechanical challenge” we had,  occurred on the SundayTrip when the Worthington Hot water pump tore one fiber gasket, at one of 4  caps.  
It was quickly replaced at Hagerstown, MD, during the following week. 

Being operated at it’s designed capacities does not damage the locomotives.759 spent its life , before excursions, hauling heavy freights at over 60-per.That’s WHAT’s hard on locomotives.   

Hauling 15 to 20 coaches is more deleterious to the boiler —- because it’s hard to regulate wild swings in velocity of firebox drafts & the resultant firebox temperature-swings, and repetitive ‘Thermal-cycling’ stresses of the firebox sheets. 

Compared to daily freight service, excursion service is WAY MORE stressful on the firebox because of continuous thermal-cycling, and continuously variable,light-loading.  

Over-firing ( too much coal) followed by light drafting, then adding many photo run-bys, long periods on non-use, all are much more damaging —- than what they were designed for... Maximum firebox temperatures were sustained for hours, in regular freight service. Whereas, in excursion service, it’s rare to get the 3000 F temps, that last longer than 15 minutes.... such stressful swings are very hard on fireboxes, especially at the lower 4 corners, down at the grates. 

 Excursion service is much more “wearing” on freight locomotives, than daily duties, back in the day.. 80 cars at almost 70-per, back then. 
W.
:

Quote

Quote

 
:
 
:
 
:


 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/03/21 04:20 by wcamp1472.


Date: 03/02/21 19:05
Re: Another Audio Track: 765 At Horseshoe Curve
Author: junctiontower

OK, this is paraphrased directly from Rich Melvin's account in his recent book;

8/20/2012. 765, NS 8100 (NKP Heritage), thirteen coaches, four gondolas of coal.  Roughly 1200  tons. Wick Moorman in the cab. During the climb to the curve, Rich had 765 on the roof and 8100 in run four, in order to go 23 MPH instead of 10, as two eastbound freights were being held. Approaching the curve, Rich idled 8100 and they went around the curve at 10.9 MPH. When they got to the Galitzin tunnel, Rich backed off 765, dialed 8100 up to run 6 and let the diesel push 765 through the tunnel.   I don't know if that supports anyone's claims or blows them up, but that is the story from the guy in the right hand seat.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/02/21 19:06 by junctiontower.



Date: 03/02/21 20:11
Re: Another Audio Track: 765 At Horseshoe Curve
Author: MaryMcPherson

junctiontower Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I don't know if that supports anyone's claims or blows them up, but
> that is the story from the guy in the right hand seat.

Neither.  Wrong year.

Mary McPherson
Dongola, IL
Diverging Clear Productions



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