As the Christmas season gets closer, certain railroads, like the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad in New Hope, PA, start to run more trips on weekdays. Until now, they had run diesels on weekdays and steam trips on weekends and certain weeknights. Starting on Monday, December 19, however, 2-8-0 #40 was pressed into weekday service, pulling the Santa's Steam Spectacular trips during the daytime. With a much lighter crowd around to chase/railfan the train this time, and cooperating weather, this made for a much more successful day than my last visit. So enjoy this look at New Hope & Ivyland #40: Santa Steam on a Monday!
While out scouting along the former Norfolk & Western between Lynchburg and Petersburg, VA for that weekend's #611 steam trips, I reached the former N&W depot in Pamplin, VA and got word from friends that Norfolk Southern's Conrail heritage unit was on its' way. Not planning on filming anything that day, I quickly got my gear together and camera set up - within a few minutes the train was in sight, and I got to catch my 8th heritage unit on video. Even though it was trailing, it was still an unexpected surprise, to have all of those pieces fall into place on that day. So enjoy this brief look at Heritage Unit #8: Conrail on the N&W!
Before the Steam Under The Stars event at the Allentown & Auburn Railroad, in Kutztown, PA, there were a few other events that happened on the afternoon of Friday, October 6, 2017. We captured two of them - the first was the end of a whistle recording session. After that, a first revenue freight move for a newly-restored steam locomotive.
Jeddo Coal #85, an 0-4-0 tank engine restored by the Gramling Locomotive Works, was on it's second assignment since it was finished being rebuilt earlier in the summer of 2017. This assignment was in Kutztown, PA on the Allentown & Auburn Railroad. A manufacturer of DCC sound decoders for model trains, Train Control Systems (TCS) had rented out #85 for the afternoon, and had been using it and a small period freight consist to record steam locomotive action sounds, and whistles. After getting the earlier action sounds, the crew went and got coal and water in Kutztown and returned to swap out and record numerous whistles. After that, however, the freight consist had to return to the yard at Topton, PA, and the locomotive to Kutztown for the evening's "Steam Under The Stars" rides. So, the 0-4-0 put on quite a good show both leaving the picnic grove, and arriving at Topton with her consist. After dropping the consist, it headed towards Kutztown.
We then catch her at Kutztown for another small, yet historic event. There was an empty revenue freight car sitting at the station that needed to be moved. So, the diminutive 0-4-0 hooked up to the N&W covered hopper and in a unique scene, you see both the old and the new - a small switcher steam locomotive from another era, pushing a much larger and more modern revenue freight car. This was the first time Jeddo Coal #85 had worked with revenue freight in a very long time - hopefully it won't be the last. After coaling up again and topping off on water, the locomotive pulled ahead to the depot for the evening's runs.
Enjoy this look at Jeddo Coal #85 and The Revenue Freight!
It's a rare sight to see a steam locomotive running on US rails for Valentine's Day-themed trips - yet the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad is breaking that trend in 2018 - and adding a unique twist to some of their twists. For six days in February, their steam locomotive, Baldwin-built 2-8-0 #40, is pulling all of the trips, with a few dinner trains going further than their normal terminus at the run-around in Lahaska. These trips, called either "Valentine's Dinner" trips or "Buckingham Valley" trips (depending on whether you do just the ride or the dinner train), go to the Nonesuch Farm area in Buckingham Valley, very rare mileage for steam at New Hope. With a mix of overcast skies and rain coming, let's venture out to New Hope to catch steam action. These shots are presented in geographical order alongside the line - and the last shot is after sunset with very little "blue light" left in the sky at Nonesuch Farms itself - where we see #40 pushing the train instead of pulling in, as expected. Regardless, enjoy the sights and sounds of Valentine's Weekend and Steam to Buckingham on the NH&I!