Two rare, local steam engines find a home among a growing stable of revenue generating locomotives that include steam, diesel, and streetcars.
Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive no. 765 – the centerpiece to Headwaters Junction is landmark steam locomotive no. 765, a world-famous passenger excursion locomotive restored to operating condition in 1979 and completely rebuilt in 2005. Constructed in 1944, the 765 was then a modern railroad marvel, ushering in the era of “super-power” steam locomotive production. It served as fast freight and passenger motive power, operating between Chicago and Bellevue, Ohio and called Fort Wayne home.
No. 765 was retired from the Nickel Plate Road in 1958 and put on display in Lawton Park in 1963. Having served over a quarter of a million passengers as a goodwill ambassador for the City of Fort Wayne for nearly 40 years, the 765 is the “queen” of the fleet.
No. 765 will continue to pull passenger excursion trains around the Midwest, calling Headwaters Junction home and inviting thousands to visit Fort Wayne every year. It will also operate at the Junction for special events and open houses and operate longer excursions departing Headwaters Junction to other destinations in the region.
Wabash Railroad no. 534/Lake Erie & Fort Wayne steam locomotive no. 1 – built in 1906 for the Wabash Railroad, it served the company’s railroad terminal in downtown Fort Wayne before being sold to the Lake Erie & Fort Wayne short line to serve south side industries at Taylor Street where it was given the number 1.
Remarkably “The One Spot” was preserved in Swinney Park in 1957, making Fort Wayne one of the extremely rare cities to have more than one steam locomotive to call its own. It has sat disassembled since 1984.
No. 1 is one of only two remaining Wabash Railroad steam locomotives in the world and after restoration will become the oldest operating locomotive in Indiana. Combined with a recreated streetcar or vintage diesel, no. 1 will operate regular trains at Headwaters Junction as an attractive, efficiently sized locomotive, host engineer for an hour programs, and perform in charter service.
Diesel locomotives – rounding out the stable will be an assortment of vintage, historically significant diesel power operating regular freight and providing additional passenger train power. Acquisition of supplemental motive power will occur as dictated by operations.
Streetcars – interurban and streetcars were once more prevalent than highways or bus routes and several interurban companies carried the city’s name on their mastheads. As part of the ground up recreation of the city’s history and in recognition of the line that ran at the north end of the 4th street yards, the Junction will also feature modern replicas of the various types of streetcars and interurban that wove through Fort Wayne and Indiana.
Streetcars would be primarily used as people-movers between Franke Park and downtown, but could be utilized anywhere on the line as small, efficient people-movers. To circumvent construction of electric wires and canopies, the replicas may be powered via batteries or an alternative fuel, offering a charming green transportation alternative.
Distinct and colorful freight and passenger equipment utilized as both interpretive displays and functional equipment suitable for everyday use
From the spartan office interior of a 100 year old caboose to the luxurious vintage interior of a restored passenger car, the rolling stock of Headwaters Junction are props on a dramatic stage. Whereas the FWRHS maintains a burgeoning collection of additional railroad equipment, Headwaters Junction would finally give the faithfully restored and newly acquired pieces of history a purposeful, functional home.
As part of the construction and implementation of the Junction, vintage passenger equipment will be acquired, restored, and operated in service on a regular basis.