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 Post subject: SR 722/ CP 2839 at Wilmington & Western in the 1970s
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:27 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:25 pm
Posts: 1806
I am reading Steam's Camelot by Jim Wrinn. In the book he notes that SR 722 went to the Wilmington & Western in the late 1970s. 1. Was this part of the deal for the lease of CP 2839? 2. Did SR 722 go to/from Wilmington under steam - on the B&O? I recall that CP 2839 steamed on its own from the northeast (W&W) to Alexandria, VA before heading an excursion train south to the shop at Birmingham.

On a related note, I met W. Graham Claytor at Alexandria in 1977 when CP 2839 was leaving on that inaugural trip south. At the time Claytor was Secretary of the Navy and I was one of his "employees" in the USN. He was standing by himself near the engine so I went over and said hello, and thanked him for his work with the Navy and SR.

Thanks for any history of SR 722's days in Delaware.

Wesley


Last edited by Jeff Lisowski on Fri Aug 14, 2015 10:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: SR 722 at Wilmington & Western in the 1970s
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:38 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
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Location: Baltimore, MD
Take everything I say as informed speculation, as I was around the W&W 1982-1986:

wesp wrote:
1. Was this part of the deal for the lease of CP 2839?


As far as I know, completely separate deals. The only tie between 2839/Atlantic Central and the W&W was that 2839 went to the W&W for storage after SR quit using 2839. AFAIK 2839 went south to Virginia from her then-home base of Northampton, Pa. 2839 was used for one "test" run at low speed from Wilsmere to Coatesville, Pa. on the Octararo RR's ex-Reading Wilmington & Northern branch on Dec. 10th, 1982. The rumor mill at the time said something to the effect that the Octararo suffered a multitude of derailments in the week or two following that run, so it was never repeated with "big" steam. (To be fair, the track was still largely in ex-Reading condition.......)

Quote:
2. Did SR 722 go to/from Wilmington under steam - on the B&O? I recall that CP 2839 steamed on its own from the northeast (W&W) to Alexandria, VA before heading an excursion train south to the shop at Birmingham.


I have seen photo of that 2839 "light" move south, and then she ran March 3-4, 1979 to Birmingham for more work--with passengers. Imagine a railroad using an untested steamer on a passenger-carrying ferry move today.

As I understand it, SR 722 was loaned to the W&W/Historic Red Clay Valley for three months in mid-1979, and ran a trip up the Octarato RR from Delaware to Modena, Pa. and back on May 28th. To this day, I have no idea what that was all about, or why. I'm reasonably confident that 722 went to and from on her own wheels, but not necessarily under steam.


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 Post subject: Re: SR 722 at Wilmington & Western in the 1970s
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 8:35 am 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 7:57 am
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Location: Faulkland, Delaware
There are others at W&W who can probably provide a lot more detail. I was only 13 years old and not anything more than a kid who came around on his bicycle back then.

In 1979 the W&W's beloved #98 was down to make repairs to her dry pipe. The W&W arranged to borrow former New Hope 65 ton center cab #9. All trips that season were diesel powered either with the #9 or leased B&O SW-1 power from nearby Wilsmere Yard.

A group known as Atlantic Central Steam Company somehow controlled the 2839, I don't know if it was owned or leased. I think they were in need of a place for her and the W&W set something up with the idea of running some trips on the Octoraro Rwy's former Reading Wilmington and Northern.

Back then the W&W was on very shaky ground and more or less the regular season was barely break even. The big money maker was a couple of all day fall trips on the former W&N. These were higher price trips and that along with a strong set of Santa Claus trips managed to keep the W&W from going under.

The Southern wanted the 2839 and some sort of loan/lease was worked out to allow the W&W to use the 722 so the W&W could pull off some all day trips to keep above water. They were called Brandywine Rail Rambles. She also ran some short "open house" trips between Greenbank and Marshallton on the W&W's home tracks. She derailed during those trips as the tracks were not in such great shape and she was much bigger than any power that ran on them.

All of the ferry moves of both 2839 and 722 took place under steam. I seem to remember at least one of the moves (maybe the return of the 2839 to Wilmington after the lease) a Southern water car came along and was returned as regular freight on the Chessie. It's been so long and so much stuff came and went at W&W back then I'm not 100% sure.

The 2839 only ran one trip pulling passenger trains for the W&W as described by Sandy.

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Wilmington, DE

If you can't fix it with a hammer, you've got an electrical problem.


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 Post subject: Re: SR 722 at Wilmington & Western in the 1970s
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:54 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
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tomgears wrote:
A group known as Atlantic Central Steam Company somehow controlled the 2839, I don't know if it was owned or leased.


Atlantic Central was the corporate name of the three (or more) investors that purchased 2839--the two main instigators being well-known rail photographers Michael Eagleson and Ron Ziel. That loco, as some may recall, migrated north to the Blue Mountain & Reading ca. 1984, and I'm not sure whether there were ambitions of using her there or whether it was just storage, but she "rotted" there until she somehow went back to the Northampton & Bath; she went off to California and her present home in 1999.

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/locoPi ... x?id=78015


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 Post subject: Re: SR 722 at Wilmington & Western in the 1970s
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 11:54 am 

Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:06 pm
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Location: Thomaston & White Plains
Eagleson, Ziel, Howard Serig (who initiated PRR GG1 4935's repaint project in 1977), Victor Hand a d Peter VanDerVelde (EL trainmaster). These guys bought 2839 in Canada in 1970. AC was the remnant group of the Quakertown & Eastern group.

Howard P.

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 Post subject: Re: SR 722 at Wilmington & Western in the 1970s
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 12:07 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 7:57 am
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Location: Faulkland, Delaware
Thanks Howard. I think the owners were called "The Royal Hudson Company" and Atlantic Central leased the engine for her 1970's restoration. She was in the middle of restoration in the late 90's by another group called Lehigh Scenic Railways when she was sold. I'm assuming sometime over the years the ownership was consolidated or outright changed to make the Nethercutt sale and move to California possible. It was a very strange situation in that one group seemed to have a long term plan for the locomotive and was progressing with restoration work while the owner(s) sold it. I'm sure it's not the first time this sort of thing has happened.

Link to a story on her restoration in the 1990's is here:

http://articles.mcall.com/1999-06-06/fe ... locomotive

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Wilmington, DE

If you can't fix it with a hammer, you've got an electrical problem.


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 Post subject: Re: SR 722 at Wilmington & Western in the 1970s
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 4:44 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
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Location: Baltimore, MD
Jeff Lisowski wrote:
Was this speculation, Pipe Dreams or were there actual plans?


The person in question stands a good chance of having consumed some controlled substance.

I would lump this in somewhere behind the Yellow Ribbon Express, the 21st Century Express, and the ACE 3000 as things that actually were going to happen. At least with those projects, the principals supposedly had some actual cooperation with relevant officials regarding the proposals.


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 Post subject: Re: SR 722 at Wilmington & Western in the 1970s
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 2:09 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:07 am
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Location: Philadelphia Pa
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
That loco, as some may recall, migrated north to the Blue Mountain & Reading ca. 1984, and I'm not sure whether there were ambitions of using her there or whether it was just storage, but she "rotted" there....



I have a photo, but its not mine to post, of the 2839, under steam, pulling the RED set of DL&W coaches on the BM&R during its first season, I believe for the inaugural trip. I think that was the reason the coaches were painted in the tuscan red, that 2839 was to be used more for excursions with 425, and not to match the PRR E units, like most think.


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 Post subject: Re: SR 722 at Wilmington & Western in the 1970s
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 8:39 am 

Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 9:54 pm
Posts: 101
Location: Lehigh Valley, PA
junior wrote:
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
That loco, as some may recall, migrated north to the Blue Mountain & Reading ca. 1984, and I'm not sure whether there were ambitions of using her there or whether it was just storage, but she "rotted" there....



I have a photo, but its not mine to post, of the 2839, under steam, pulling the RED set of DL&W coaches on the BM&R during its first season, I believe for the inaugural trip. I think that was the reason the coaches were painted in the tuscan red, that 2839 was to be used more for excursions with 425, and not to match the PRR E units, like most think.



From what I know, 2839 ran once in service on the BM&R, other than a light move to Reading the night before to turn it. On opening day, July 13, 1985 (man, that was long ago....) it ran light south from Hamburg to pick up its train at Temple. Loaded passengers. Ran, alone, to Leesport for a ceremony. Fire was "drowned" with green coal by the fireman. Crowd stood around for hours while the crew tried, in vain, to clean the fire, get steam up, and proceed north to Hamburg. Finally, later in the day, someone was driven to Hamburg, fired up the NW-2 which then ran light to Leesport. It and the 2839 then ran to Hamburg with the trainload of hot and tired passengers. Somewhere around Shoemakersville, the fire finally got light enough to make steam but due to heat, the leaks, and the foul temper of the passengers & crew, the NW-2 ran the return trip to Temple alone. 2839 sat in the yard in Hamburg and cooled down and hasn't run since. I wish I had taken more photos that day but I ended up working......! The few that I have are very interesting.

The difference in color on the DL&W cars was to denote high-roof (green) cars from low-roof (red) cars. IIRC, the low-roof cars were sold in the early 1990's, after the RBM&N started up. I don't recall any other reason except Mr. Muller did want to re-create the PRR on the Schuylkill Branch. Do many know that LIRR 35 was going to run there? I still have a hat with BM&R patch that shows a G5.....

Others who post here know more about this. Perhaps they can shed more light or make corrections? Mike?

To keep this about the W&W, the Atlantic Central people did help the W&W during the stay the Hudson was there. The trip to Coatesville was, supposedly, the only trip Atlantic Central ran.

Rob


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 Post subject: Re: SR 722 at Wilmington & Western in the 1970s
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 9:16 am 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 7:57 am
Posts: 2355
Location: Faulkland, Delaware
Some other stories:

722

She was too heavy to go up the line at the W&W but did run some short shuttle runs to the shop (no bridges to cross) and derailed. The track was not so good back then.

She got a batch of water from a local fire company when running an all day trip on the ex Reading W&N branch. The water had something in it which caused a major foaming episode causing a major disruption/delay in the trip.

2839

She was under steam at W&W only three times. Once when she arrived, one test fire, and one trip on the Wilmington and Northern branch.

The one trip she ran at BM&R there were massive tube or staybolt leaks causing the fire to go out.

The Atlantic Central group helped a lot at W&W in those days. They purchased a gas drive compressor that was used extensively at W&W. At least a couple of those guys stayed as active members till this day.

The #4 track in the yard at Marshallton was know as "the A/C track".

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Tom Gears
Wilmington, DE

If you can't fix it with a hammer, you've got an electrical problem.


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 Post subject: Re: SR 722 at Wilmington & Western in the 1970s
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 11:12 am 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 2:15 pm
Posts: 160
Location: Lawrenceville, NJ
Gosh, it must be 8 or 10 years since I posted something on the Interchange. Well here are a few points to the best of my memory.

I believe 2839 did make a service stop at the W&W's enginehouse / yard while on her southbound journey from PA to the Southern.

2839 was owned by the folks Howard mentioned and yes I think the name they went by was the Royal Hudson Locomotive Company. Over the years some of the partners listed got out and as I recall in more recent times there were some "issues" involving who had control over the locomotive. Atlantic Central Steam Company had a operating lease on the engine and as was mentioned at least part of this group was an outgrowth of the Quakertown & Eastern fantrip operation of the late 60's that ran a series of mainline trips with BC&G 2-8-0 4.

During the late 70's (and IIRC, the early 80's) the W&W operated quite few trips over the then-Octoraro Ry. using mostly 98, but also with diesel power, the borrowed 722, and the one mentioned non-public run with 2839. I remember some group (I think the Wilmington Chapter NRHS) talked about doing a repete 2839 trip for the public but that never happened.

The GE 65-tonner 9 used by the W&W when 98 was down (and BTW used with 2839 on her 1 trip) came from the Black River & Western, not New Hope. It was ex-US Army 7079 and while at the BR&W it was owned by the North Hunterdon (NJ) High School as sort of a rolling vo-tech diesel shop. I believe the Octoraro Ry. owned the unit (renumbering it 9) while it was used by the W&W. This unit is often confused with another ex-USA 65-tonner (#34) that showed up at the W&W a few years later. That unit was owned the South Branch Valley RR. and today is at Cass.

2839 left the W&W along with 425 in 1984 for the BM&R.

Yes, I have an early BM&R cloth patch with Long Island 4-6-0 35 on it... too bad THAT never happened... a G5 racing vehicles along Rt. 61 would have been nice!!

On the grand opening day for the BM&R in July 1985 it had been originally planned to have two steam-powered trains meet nose to nose at Leesport for the celebration. 425 was still under repair, so the southbound train got the 2 CF-7's and northbound train got what would be the last in-steam movement of 2839. The 2839 ran light, tender first, all the way to the very south end of the BM&R at Temple and picked up her train of MU trailers. Then headed north to load passengers at the Temple station before struggling north to Leesport. A long day for everyone involved. After that 2839's days on the BM&R were spent on siding south of the Temple station.

I remember seeing photos of 2839 loaded on a flat car heading to her present home in CA. I've seen plenty of smaller locomotives moved (intact) on flat cars, but never something as big as a 4-6-4 moved that in one piece!

Regards,
Jim Robinson


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 Post subject: Re: SR 722 at Wilmington & Western in the 1970s
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 11:30 am 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 7:57 am
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Location: Faulkland, Delaware
Jim Robinson wrote:
The GE 65-tonner 9 used by the W&W when 98 was down (and BTW used with 2839 on her 1 trip) came from the Black River & Western, not New Hope. It was ex-US Army 7079 and while at the BR&W it was owned by the North Hunterdon (NJ) High School as sort of a rolling vo-tech diesel shop. I believe the Octoraro Ry. owned the unit (renumbering it 9) while it was used by the W&W. This unit is often confused with another ex-USA 65-tonner (#34) that showed up at the W&W a few years later. That unit was owned the South Branch Valley RR. and today is at Cass.


I don't remember or have any photos of a center cab being used on the 2839 W&N trip. The #9 was gone by then and was working at the Anthracite Railway (Ants Lines) which was somehow related to the Octoraro Rwy (The Big O). If the centercab was being used it would have been the #34 which has her own colorful story.

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 Post subject: Re: SR 722 at Wilmington & Western in the 1970s
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 12:00 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 2:15 pm
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Location: Lawrenceville, NJ
Tom,

I thought the centercab (whichever one) was on the other end of 2839's train for at least part of the day? A long time ago and maybe thinking of something else.

Jim Robinson


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 Post subject: Re: SR 722 at Wilmington & Western in the 1970s
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 12:06 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
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Location: Baltimore, MD
Welcome back, Brother Robinson. Don't spend another ten years in absentia.

I may be the only one here that was actually ON that 2839 trip on the Octararo. I had to ride my bicycle from Newark (Delaware) to Greenville, lock it to a tree, and ride the train, with the return to Newark in darkness on wet roads near freezing (there was a pretty snowfall during the run to and from Coatesville). I seem to recall that the bicycle I was riding at the time wasn't very well suited to that kind of riding, and it was replaced very soon thereafter with a larger road bike. I remember some irritation I had with the HRCV crew, as a month earlier, the Wilmington Chapter NRHS and the crew aboard PRR doodlebug 4662 working a charter over the exact same route were all too happy to load my bicycle in the baggage compartment of the 4662 for safekeeping and a touch of authenticity....... The four-car 2839 train, the standard W&W DL&W "Boonton Line" car set, was very sparsely loaded and included a combine, so space wasn't a problem....

The center-cab #34 was, indeed, on the north end of that train, with 2839 pointed south on the south end of the train--remember, they weren't 100% sure of either the 2839 or the track, and it would have been foolish not to have a "protect" engine. #34 was, until now, pretty much an enigma insofar as what she was doing on that RR, where she came from, and where she went. The railroad, at the time, seemed to be a true "dog's breakfast" of equipment, with everything from a GM&N Pacific to a rotted PRR 0-6-0 to the 65-tonners to the giant PRR "Coast to Coast" 210F82 tender sharing the commune with the stars, 98 and the Boonton cars and B&O wooden cabooses. There exists a photo of 0-6-0T #3 (ex-Navy) switching the PRR tender, as if the duo were preparing for a transcontinental non-stop run........

I seem to recall the fare on the 2839 "test run" was $10 a person, HRCV members only. I don't think $10 will get you a regular, everyday trip on the EBT or Strasburg today. Granted, it wasn't the 79 MPH that 2839 was alleged to have pounded out on the Southern main a few scant years earlier......

I did receive a call later from one of the kinder, gentler HRCV officials (who remembers Pete Steele?), who just HAD to confirm that I, indeed, had ridden a bicycle all the way to and from Greenville in that weather--with a camera bag under my coat, to boot--and locked it to a tree. I don't recall if the issue of bicycle stowage ever came up again around the W&W or Octararo, but I have the distinct feeling that Steele "read the riot act" to whatever HRCV guys insisted there was "no way" to carry my bicycle (probably Brian Woodcock's order).

As for the proposed G5's on the BM&R, this is actually the first time ever I've heard about such a proposition. On the one hand, it's sensible, as PRR G5's did, indeed, run on the shorter commuter and local trains on the PRR in that region, and the LIRR G5 owners seemed desperate to find anyone to actually run one anywhere, so.......


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 Post subject: Re: SR 722 at Wilmington & Western in the 1970s
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 9:06 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:28 am
Posts: 124
I know on several occasions I have found images online of the 722 in front of the engine house on the W&W. The last time I came across one it was a black and white image.

Does anyone have any of these shots? It is always fun and interesting to see images from the past...when railroads obviously allowed a lot of interesting steam locomotive moves...versus the more metered approach of today.

Have a great weekend!


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