Two Lima Berkshires stopped in Bluffton in
November, 1961, on their way to the scrapyard
This story and the two accompanying photos were originally published in The Bluffton (Ohio) News on Nov. 16, 1961.
Railroad enthusiast Charles Hilty, News editor at the time, took the photos and wrote the accompanying piece titled “These thrills are gone.”
On the NKP, Bluffton, 16 miles from Lima during the heyday of the Lima Loco Works, saw countless steam locomotives fresh from the Lima shops pass through town. This story is different, as it shows the last two steam locos stopping in Bluffton.
Headline: These thrills are gone
Larger and more beautiful than dinosaurs, and soon to be as rare, two massive, dead old steam locomotives were towed through Bluffton last Wednesday afternoon on their way to the graveyard.
The train paused in Bluffton for over an hour, giving local railroad fans a chance to look, photograph and admire.
Both engines can been seen in the upper picture. A trainman dwarfed by his charges, fills an oil can and prepares for a little on-the-road maintenance in the lower shot.
“The romance went out of railroading when they switched from steam,” one trainman volunteered. “You have to run a steam engine, but you just operate a Diesel,” he said.
The two massive steamers were being towed from Nickel Plate yards at Frankfort, Indiana, to Fostoria, Ohio, then to be routed west to Hobart, Indiana, where they will be shuttled off to a junkyard to be dismantled.
Numbers 711 and 730 are among the last of the mighty 2-8-4 Berkshires built by Lima Locomotive Works for the Nickel Plate railroad, and are the last steamers on this division of the NKP.
These engines are regarded by steam buffs as classic examples of power and beauty, and are considered by railroad men to be one of the finest, most efficient steamers ever put on the road, according to Dr. B.W. Travis, local railroading authority.