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It's 1969 & here comes the Golden Spike Ltd.

Lima-built NKP Berkshire 765 roars through Bluffton

It’s springtime in 1969 and 25 minutes before this photo was taken Nickel Plate 765 departed from an over-night stay where it was built – the Lima, Ohio, Locomotive Works.


Nickel Plate Road historian John Keller, Sr., made the arrangements for the locomotive’s overnight stay in Lima.


The Berkshire locomotive is pulling the Golden Spike Limited on familiar territory as it passes through Bluffton, toward Findlay. This is on the former Lake Erie and Western line, which eventually became the NKP.


Notice on the right, the “Bluffton” passenger station, construction in the LE&W style. On the left is the freight house and the left track is a siding.


This was the first steam through Bluffton since the mid-1950s. And, coincidentally, that last train was also a Lima-built Berkshire.


Watching the fast-moving machine are Bluffton elementary students, who saw their first-ever glimpse of steam power, as the train roared through town in the 60-mile-per-hour-range. Notice many are covering their ears.


Bluffton photographer, Leland Gerber, took this photo. The original is in color.

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