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Me at the throttle of one of the few operating steamers in the US. Nickel Plate Road 765 operates excursions out of Ft. Wayne IN. See www.765.org

Trains are powerful, loud, fast, dangerous machines that are neat to photograph and challenging to operate. Many people have found a uniqueness to them.....as if they are living, breathing machines that rely on us just as we do them. Watch a steam locomotive fire up, or begin an assault on a sharp grade with several cars in tow. That constant changing of pressure in valves and hissing of steam in all directions. Hearing it "breathe" as it moves from a snail's pace to the lightning fast form of transportation and progress that it is well known for. And an artist has even more reasons to admire the designs and physics that make these monsters more than just a way of getting from here to there. Growing up in Indiana, I had lots of reference, especially being so close to Chicago where rail lines dominated every backdrop. Union Station is still overwhelming, but to look at station diagrams from the 1950's is suicide! How did they keep the Canonball from running into the Empire Builder, while the 20th Century and the Broadway raced to the finish line? :) It's amazing to think about the amount of track 50 years ago.....


Photo: Richard Wallin

The Wabash, which began to fade from the earth in the mid 60's, is my favorite. The Norfolk and Western acquired the Wabash, along with the Nickel Plate, Virginian, and the Akron, Canton and Youngstown (to name a few!) on October 16,1964. Norfolk and Western suffered the same fate in 1982, merging with the Southern Railway to form today's Norfolk Southern. Born a bit too late to actually witness a true Wabash train, I only got to see a few N&W freights roll through Wakarusa, Indiana on the "4th district" (which I am modeling in N scale, at left). In the summer of 1986, the last N&W train rolled through, and most of the line between Chicago and Montpelier, Ohio was abandoned and ripped up. Only a couple of small sections remain in use today for NS and shortlines. Due to the generosity of N&W and Norfolk Southern, our very own Wakarusa Historical Society aquired 1941 N&W passenger coach #1007 and 1917 CF wood caboose #518193. I had the privilege of repainting them, restoring their outer appearance to their original colors. A 1/3 scale live steam train also ran in Wakarusa from 1989-2007 at the famous Come & Diine restaurant & museum. It ran just north of the Wabash ROW at SR 19. I ran it in the early 90's. See links at left for more info.

Photo of Wabash F7 #1189 taken at the Monticello Railway Museum in Illinois, April 12, 2003. Through a donation program, visitors are allowed to operate this locomotive! More pics of this event further down.

Today the Wabash is still alive, with the help of organizations such as the Wabash Railroad Historical Society, of which I am a member. Like many groups, annual meetings and restoration of equipment are included. Most of all it's the great feeling you get preserving something that changed the face of our nation. Our country (or world, for that matter), would not be what it is today without the railroad and what it made available. Historical Societies are everywhere. You do not have to live close to your favorite railroad to make a difference. To anticipate the future we must respect the past...


More shots from the Monticello Throttle Time event.

Here I am with the F7 shortly before I took the controls.

And yours truly at the throttle!

The Wabash caboose on the end of my train. Being early in the season, I only had 2 Illinois Central coaches and a caboose in tow.

THE WABASH SYSTEM (before the N&W merger)

Click to view larger


WABASH-RAILROAD.COM John Nixon's rapidly growing collection of photos. Lots to see! Great for reference on the road's Indiana & Ohio lines.

SOUTH BEND AREA RAILROADS AND HISTORY Tom kepshire has accumulated a vast arrangement of info and photos of both the Monon and South Bend area railroads. Lots of photos on many of South Bend's lines over the years, including short lines like the Notre Dame & Western. Also a great look at the many passenger stations that served the city.

Fallen Flags Archive George Elwood, known for his mind boggling Fallen Flags photo archives, has a nice Wabash page.

If you love trains, or just wreaking havoc with fast, powerful machines, this is a must. The graphics have greatly improved over the original.

My love for trains skyrocketed with the chance to operate a live steam tourist railroad (see link at left) and a full size GP-7 for the KLS&C in Michigan (above). A childhood dream come true!

Part of my collection! From left to right: An Erie RR warning sign, Wabash whistle and derail signs, and a homemade crossing sign.

An Alco PA is returning to US rails! This locomotive, formerly AT&SF #62L, D&H #18, & FNM #18 respectively, is being completely restored as NKP #190, a favorite railroad of the owner's. The Alco PA is truly among the sharpest looking passenger diesels ever to polish the rails, and we hope to see this sleek machine make a trip to original NKP territory. The PA's were Alco's version of fast passenger diesels, and considered by many to be the epitamy of the streamlined diesel locomotive, with attractive lines and sharp color schemes to match. Many railroads including Wabash, Nickel Plate, Santa Fe and New York Central featured these units, but now only a handful are left. Hopefully it will make an appearance with the .

ARE YOU A TRUE RAILFAN? Read this and find out!

See more great railfan oriented documents and photos, including thousands of great photos from fallen flags and shortlines at FALLEN FLAG RR PHOTOS

When you encounter a crossing, please think twice before racing across without looking. Trains are the heaviest and largest moving vehicles on land. When you combine hundreds of thousands of pounds with speed, there is no stopping on a dime. Remember, an extra minute of your time will give you the rest of your life.


A sign near the Sandusky Ohio depot.

All images copyright Brad Sherman unless noted otherwise. Logos copyright their respective sources.