Fans of trains lined the tracks between Warsaw and Goshen Thursday as steam locomotive No. 765 passed through the area on its way to Elkhart for a weekend excursion.
The steam-powered train, based in New Haven, Ind., will be Elkhart until Sunday when it will be used for a special trip for Norfolk Southern employees and their families as part of an employee appreciation event.
The train was built in 1944 for the Nickel Plate Road rail line, which eventually became part of Norfolk Southern, according to the Fort Wayne Railroad Society, who maintain and operate the 765. The engine is the largest steam-powered unit operated east of the Mississippi, the group said.
Two train fans who came out to catch a glimpse of the passing No. 765 were Dick Craig and Bob Lerch who live in Greencroft Goshen.
“Always have been a train hobbyist with toy trains and just enjoy railroading in general,” Craig said. He said he first saw engine No. 765 when it was unveiled after its restoration in New Haven.
Lerch hadn’t seen the train before and said he was interested to see it.
The men stood with their cameras and binoculars along Ninth Street near College Avenue to watch the train move through Goshen.
Many others also lined up along the Ninth Street corridor in Goshen, as well as at the crossings at Fifth Street, Main Street, Indiana Avenue and even the Ind. 15 overpass to see the train as it billowed smoke and steam and blew its distinctive whistle.
The Norfolk Southern employee appreciation trains depart on Saturday and Sunday morning at 11 a.m. and will travel to Bryan, Ohio and back. People wanting to see the train may see it passing through Goshen or Millersburg on its way.
According to the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society No. 765 is maintained and operated by a crew of volunteers.