This year we’re reminiscing about our travels to record the very special places and events chronicled in our Midwest Steam 2009 Volume 1 & 2 DVDs.

Exactly 10 years ago, one of those trips took us to the Little River Railroad in Coldwater, Michigan. The Little River Railroad is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to restore and operate heritage railroad equipment. They operate two very unique steam locomotives. Baldwin Locomotive Works built #110 in 1911 for the original Little River Railroad in Tennessee. Because the logging railroad had many sharp curves, the locomotive’s middle drive wheel has no flange. The current Little River Railroad restored #110 to operation in 1975. The other locomotive is #1, a tank engine that has a frame and wheels dating from 1908, but the rest may have been cobbled together with parts from locomotives of similar design.

Today’s Little River Railroad operates steam and diesel-powered passenger trains from its historic depot in Coldwater.

Little River #110 is a 4-6-2 Pacific type locomotive. It's the smallest standard gauge engine of its type ever built in the United States.

Little River #110 is a 4-6-2 Pacific type locomotive. It’s the smallest standard gauge engine of its type ever built in the United States.

After two days at Little River, we drove about 140 miles to North Judson, Indiana. This small town once had four railroads (C&O, Erie, New York Central and Pennsylvania) passing through. The Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum plays an important part in preserving this rail heritage. Examples of over 30 pieces of rolling stock can be observed outdoors and inside the backshop where repairs and restoration take place. A collection of railroad signals and the historic Grasseli Tower can be observed during a walk through the yard.

Short train rides are available during most months of the year. Occasionally a guest steam locomotive comes to the Hoosier Valley, and we were there when NKP 765 pulled excursions on Memorial Day Weekend. This was our first experience with the magnificent 765. The scenic line offered many great shots for our cameras.

The Little River Railroad and 765 at Hoosier Valley each have their own chapters on Midwest Steam 2009 – Part 1 DVD.

NKP 765

NKP 765 was built in 1944 by Lima Locomotive Works. It’s a 2-8-4 Berkshire class locomotive built for both passenger and freight service. It burns coal and is capable of 80 MPH. Today it’s owned and operated by the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society.