The Forecast: Increasing cloudiness....with a chance of cindershowers. A sparking clear morning suddenly becomes a low overcast, as a pair of 400-ton, Lima Berkshire Locomotives charge through the Michigan farmland creating a billowing cloud deck of steam and smoke. Fortunately, the probability of precipitation (of the burning hot kind) is relatively low at this distance. This image was created during an August, 2009 Lerro Productions Charter, which featured the only two operating examples of Lima-built, 2-8-4s, those being the Nickel Plate #765 (in the lead) and the Pere Marquette #1225 (the road engine). Putting an event like this together clearly required a lot of work by a lot of people, including the Ft. Wayne Railroad Historical Society, the Steam Railroading Institute and the Great Lakes Central Railroad, not to mention Pete Lerro, for all of the coordination required to bring all of those organizations together. Last but not least, a shout-out is also due for the land-owner, who was gracious enough to allow a small army of photographers to be on his property, while there were clearly crops still in the field. I can't believe it has been 11 years since this event took place, and it still stands as probably the most impressive photo freight I've ever witnessed.
Images from two Lerro Productions events, 10 years apart: 2009 and 2019. The 2009 featured a 31-car freight and NKP 765. The 2019 trip showcased just the 1225 with the Steam Railroading Institute's passenger consist.