Steam locomotive 765 already represents a remarkable national tourist attraction with a proven 30 year track record. Far from marginalization in a textbook, the 765 is not just living history, but our history, existing in operation, immersion, atmosphere, and experience.
That experience happens with every sense: from the sounding of a steam whistle echoing gently through a neighborhood, the shaking of the ground as the train passes, the filling meal eaten aboard a moving dining car, the warmth of a coal fire, the slow dance of steam in the air, the relaxing hustle
of travel by train. This is not heritage that fits in a glass case. It is exciting, intimidating, beguiling – a theatrical show that at one time was inescapable throughout the region.
The railroads and their iron horses championed a time and place that represented shared purpose, common destinations, and a sense of community and connectivity. Combined with the growing popularity of industrial heritage tourism wherein cities look upon their own cultures and
traditions for identity, how can the locomotive and its stablemates become an asset to tourism, economic development, and quality of life for Fort Wayne?