I’ve been slowly (ever so slowly—it’s a lot of work, even for a writer) updating all of the descriptions in my shop, and happily, this often involves my digging up information—historical information—for those descriptions. One of the more recently updated listings I finished was for this photo of the Chesapeake & Ohio 2700 2-8-4 “Berkshire” Kanawha steam engine, currently awaiting restoration in Dennison, Ohio. Though I love trains—they really do brim with romance and mystery, methinks—my knowledge of these great machines is, sadly, rather shallow. But that’s where the fun of research comes in, yes?
As it turns out, there’s a bit of a legal kerfluffle over the City of St Albans, a tangled mess of words, apparent abandonment, and intent that had my head spinning. That’s not something I even want to get near, though it’s a sad and sordid tale leaving this marvellous steam engine in a state of terrible disrepair, stripped of many of her parts—even her bell—and is now awaiting restoration, though she still draws many admirers to Dennison. The sad state of the engine has had railfans miserable for years, and I can’t say I blame them.
My studying up on the City of St Albans (the name of the 2700 steam engine in my photograph) led me to this article, which featured a terrific video of a Berkshire engine. The NKP #765 makes her way along the Cuyahoga Valley line—and it’s such a treat to watch! I got such a kick out of hearing that wonderful chugging, the low whistle, and watching this enormous engine move beneath that cloud of steam, and I hope you do, too. It also gives us an opportunity to see what the 2700 could look like were she to be restored to her former glory.
There’s something about trains!
The 2700 resides at the Dennison Depot in Dennison, Ohio; the last I heard, they were still seeking donations to help them restore the engine. The 2700 was the very first of the 2-8-4 Kanawhas, after all; she’s worthy of being restored.